Typically whenever a movie succumbs to the redundant car chase, it means that the screenwriter officially ran out of story to tell. It’s clear that the people behind “Getaway” never had any story to start with, as the entire film plays out like an extended car chase from its opening scene to its ridiculous ending.
This is a movie with stunts that would make “Knight Rider” laugh, a kidnapping plot that makes “Taken 2” look subtle, and characters that make anybody from those “Fast and the Furious” movies appear complex. The only thing the entire movie accomplishes is working in plenty of product placement for the Shelby Mustang Super Snake. Michael Bay and Adam Sandler would be proud.
Through some of the most hurried exposition and annoying editing of recent action pictures, we’re introduced to Ethan Hawke’s Brent Magna, a former race car driver. Mr. Magna gets a call from an anonymous baddie who is concealed from the audience through obnoxious extreme close-ups. I’m just going to tell you upfront that it’s Jon Voight, doing his most phoned-in accent since “Baby Geniuses 2.”
The mysterious man tells our hero that he’s kidnapped his wife, played by Rebecca Budig, and will only give her back if Magna plays a game of Simon Says. This game involves Magna stealing a car, driving through crowds of people, driving over the thickest skating rink ever, and causing a lot of police vehicles to crash.
It’s something truly amazing, if not completely contrived, that for everything this car endures it never gets more than a few scratches, dents, and bullet holes. At no point does Magna even stop for gas. This thing is like the Jason Bourne of automobiles.
Along the way, Magna also picks up Selena Gomez, playing a young girl known only as "the kid." Almost every character in this movie is nameless. A few years ago this might have seemed cool and ambiguous, but now it’s simply lazy and lame. Just because it worked in “Drive” doesn’t mean it will work in every movie, guys.
Speaking of “Drive,” “Getaway” was so deprived of ideas it even had to steal that movie’s tagline: “Get in. Get out. Getaway.” Just check Internet Movie Database for yourself and see.
Ethan Hawke is a talented actor, but you’d never know that from his one-note performance here. Selena Gomez is an easy target to make fun of. In all honesty, though, she’s not a half bad actress when compared to other Disney Channel alumni. (Insert Miley Cyrus VMA performance joke here.) Gomez was pretty good as a small-town party girl in “Spring Breakers,” a film best seen drunk. Like Hawke, however, she’s given no character or dialog to stretch those acting muscles. As a result, the two have no chemistry together.
“Getaway” is loud, pointless, and seemingly endless with a climax that looks like it was recycled from “Gran Turismo” game play. But what do you expect when the director is that same guy who brought us “An American Haunting” and “Dungeons & Dragons?” If you’re looking for a movie to contend with “White House Down” as the year’s most preposterous cinematic experience, this one might be up your alley. Personally, I’m putting in a plea for no “Getaway 2.”
Nick Spake reviews movies on his website, www.NICKPICKSFLICKS.com.