Director: Courtney Solomon
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, Jon Voight, Rebecca Budig
Getaway is a nearly 90-minute long film of a high speed car chase through the streets of Sofia, Bulgaria. This crash-em-up bang-em-up noisy metal clanking film was meant to make audiences put their seat belts on and strap themselves in for a thrilling ride at the theater. Instead, audiences will want to put the brakes on and jump out of their seats to just go home.
The film opens with washed up race car driver, Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke), discovering that his wife Leanne (Rebecca Budig) has been kidnapped. As he walks through his home in shock at his wife’s abduction, the phone rings and a mysterious German sounding voice (Jon Voight), who later in the film will identify himself as Magna’s biggest fan, instructs Brent that if he wants to see his wife alive he must go to a garage and steal a Ford Shelby Mustang GT-500 Super Snake. The car is equipped with cameras from every angle and microphones so that the kidnapper can keep an eye on exactly what Brent is doing in the car. Once the car is stolen, further instructions will be provided for Brent that he must follow if he wants to save his wife.
From this point, Brent is forced to drive through the streets of Sofia like a maniac under what seems like impossible odds toward not getting caught by the police. Brent manages to crash into everything as he skillfully maneuvers the car through crowded streets at supersonic speeds. By some miracle, Brent never runs over anyone, and by my calculations at least 50 people should have been hit by the speeding car. After complying with the mystery caller, Brent is told to wait in a parking garage until more instructions are provided. It is here that a wise cracking kid (Selena Gomez) jumps into the Mustang and tries to steal the car from Brent at gunpoint. It turns out that the baby faced adolescent is the actual owner of the car.
The unseen caller orders the race car driver to kill the young girl. As it turns out, Magna is not capable of murder and the unsuspecting female owner of the car is now his sidekick who will help him figure out how to outsmart the villain who thinks he is in control. Lucky thing that the teenager is with Brent because it turns out that she is some type of tech wiz that can use her little iPad to hack into a rather sophisticated system that was put together by some very crafty computer geniuses. On top of that, the spoiled rich kid is able to string together clues to figure out exactly what the kidnappers are after. Is the storyline convoluted enough for you yet?
We never learn the name of Jon Voight’s character but we do get plenty of close-up shots of the lower part of his unshaven face along with yellow stained teeth and him sucking on martinis while he chews on olives – not a very pleasant site on the big screen. All of the car crashes are real and there are no CGI effects. So with the money saved on CGI splendor, why wasn’t money poured into lighting and cinematography?
The film is so poorly shot and often looks more like an arcade game that went terribly wrong in the production phase. Getaway is an attempt to cash in on other successful cat-and-mouse films like Mission Impossible III and Speed. But the storyline is outlandish and doesn’t have enough fuel to keep things interesting. It looks like the filmmakers wanted Selena Gomez to be as spunky and clever as Sandra Bullock was in Speed. Gomez falls extremely short in acting ability and delivered most of her lines as though she was reading straight off the script. Her character is initially supposed to annoy the race car driver – but it is not her character, it is Gomez herself that is extremely annoying. Fortunately for her, she is young enough that some serious acting lessons might just help save her big screen career.
And, to top it off Gomez’s character never gets a name, she is just called the kid – you would think two people stuck in a car together would introduce themselves. Hawke makes an earnest attempt at playing the distraught husband trying to save his wife from the clutches of evil doers that would kill her in a blink of an eye. But even Hawke’s attempt at drawing sympathy from the audience does not distract from the ridiculous and idiotic storyline. Getaway comes to a screeching halt on entertainment value and the only thing that should “getaway” is moviegoers from someone trying to entice them into seeing this film.
GETAWAY opens August 30, 2013