You guys know I love Ryan Reynolds. I loved him more before Green Lantern, of course, but still … I think Ryan Reynolds is excellent at what he should do: Middle-of-the-road romantic-comedies (like Definitely, Maybe) or comic sidekicks (Wolverine, Blade: Trinity). But those who argue that Ryan Reynolds is not a movie star are absolutely right, and there is no better test to make that determination than to put an actor in the room with a real movie star, like Denzel Washington. If you put an a guy next to Washington, and that actor has the pale look of a second-billed actor or a sidekick, well, you know he’s not a “Movie Star.”
Look at the evidence: Chris Pine in Unstoppable . He had it. That guy is gonna be around for a long time. John Travolta in Taking of Pelham 1 … 2 … 3, well, obviously, and whatever you want to say about Travolta and his movie choices, he is a movie star. He looked perfectly natural next to Washington. Ethan Hawke in Training Day? He was in that movie as much as Washington, but he was nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actor. Why? Because Ethan Hawke is a well known, sometimes good actor, but he’s not a “movie star.” That was easy to see the second he sat next to Washington in a squad car.
What about Ryan Reynolds in Safe House? Not even close. Does it look like a great movie? Yes, and maybe one that will resurrect Reynolds’ fading star. But will it make him a “movie star”? Come on, y’all: Movies don’t make actors “movie stars.” Presence makes an actor a movie star, and Double-R — who has the greatest abs this side of Henry Cavill — does not a movie star make.
That doesn’t mean that Safe House is not a movie I won’t knock someone down a flight of stairs to see, but I’m going to see it for Denzell Washington first, and Ryan Reynolds is the gravy on the cake.