Getaway (film review) by Frank Ochieng.
The high-octane hideousness behind ‘Getaway’ is indeed an on-screen traffic accident that will drive one to immediately rip up their auto club membership card. Sure, the majority of showy car chase capers are intentional escapist nonsense that most movie-goers gravitate to for the mindless, reckless fun.
However, ‘Getaway’ applies the accelerator convincingly with its tedious and recycled ramblings about hotshot ‘pedal to the metal’ anti-heroes and harried tag-a-long tarts that join in the misguided, energized adventures. Of course, we cannot dismissed the real star of these revved up convoluted popcorn pleasers — the hyperactive vehicle (in this case a Ford Shelby Cobra Mustang) doing the daredevil deeds on the daring streets. Yeah, the wheeling and dealing of ‘Getaway’ is all too familiar in its wasted gas-guzzle gumption of throwaway excitement and stimulation. In the genre of car chase cinema, ‘Getaway’ is about as rousing as witnessing an afternoon fender bender between a couple of bickering senior citizens.
The vibe for ‘Getaway’ feels generic and strained as it lazily incorporates the same old conventions of a fuel-injected actioner seen countless times over. The only challenge behind director Courtney Solomon’s ‘burn rubber’ blunder is actually spotting how many fast-paced flicks that ‘Getaway’ has ripped off in its uninspired path of piecing together a regurgitated roadside action adventure that stalls at the wheel. The movie’s plot is as lightweight as a defective sparkplug.
Ethan Hawke has been in many durable action movies before (including his Oscar-nominated turn in ‘Training Day’) but he is too talented and resourceful of an actor to get caught up in this boorish, kinetic fuel-spilling fluff. The addition of popular Disney diva Selena Gomez will most likely draw her teen minions to witness her participation in this tepid tire-spinning tale of manufactured intrigue.
Hawke portrays Brent Magna, a former race car driver now stationed in Sofia, Bulgaria. Once an intense and skilled driver, Brent finds a way to revisit his profession when he is ordered to take charge of a crafty sports car and follow his unseen tormentor’s (Jon Voight) instructions on what to do with the pumped-up vehicle. Brent has no choice because this dictating villain has kidnapped his wife (Rebecca Budig from TV’s ‘All My Children’) so one disagreeable move and Brent can wave bye-bye to his periled wife. In making sure that Brent has no other ideas in mind, the mysterious menace has equipped the sports car with cameras to watch him closely as he carries out the sinister agenda.
Soon, things become tricky when a streetwise carjacking bratty teen (Gomez) — daughter of a powerful banking businessman — joins the befuddled Brent as he tries to pull off the elaborate plans of the unknown riff raff in question. As the teen-aged passenger pouts and moans about wanting to split from Brent and the car the outside scenic Bulgarian confines are threatened by the hazardous driving methods courtesy of our put-upon protagonist. It is too bad that Gomez’s juvenile dialogue consisting of whiny retorts towards Hawke’s beleaguered Brent only adds to the pointless proceedings at large.
Uneventfully, ‘Getaway’ predictably marches through the monotonous motions as the car screeches and acts like a mechanical bully as it threatens to plow into people, property, the Sophia police department — anything to capture the transparent tension that Solomon’s idiotic narrative tries to achieve. At this point, ‘Getaway’ embarrassingly resembles an out-of-control pinball machine. Hence, there is no particular rhyme or reason behind the random chaos that persist other than the movie’s bid to hang its hat on the frenetic foolishness taking place.
The ‘Getaway’ does keep its promise as a non-stop car chase showcase but there is nothing else to engage the viewer in beyond the wacky crashes, banal bickering between a has-been roadster and his spoiled minion and the close-up lethal lips of Oscar-winner Voight’s nefarious nutcase. From the ‘Smokie And The Bandit’ franchise to drag racing ditties such as ‘Gone In 60 Seconds’ and ‘The Fast And The Furious’ movie series, ‘Getaway’ is just a wasted wannabe looking for an excuse to exist as typical jumpy summertime fare. Naturally, other conveniently borrowed influences such as ‘Speed’ and ‘Phone Booth’ are targeted blueprints for this feeble vehicle as well.
No matter how ‘Getaway’ wants its motor roaring loudly it cannot change the fact that it has hit a creative speed bump…and in a worst way possible.
Warner Bros. Pictures
1 hr. 30 mins.
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, Rebecca Budig, Jon Voight and Paul Freeman
Directed by: Courtney Solomon
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre: Action Adventure
Critic’s rating: * star (out of 4 stars)
(c) Frank Ochieng 2013