Published Aug 29, 2013How can a 90-minute movie that's little more than one long action scene feel this long and tedious? Essentially an assembly of interchangeable car chases, Getaway pauses only long enough to quickly dole out any clunky plot details required for the next evasion of police or some faceless henchmen in hot pursuit. It's a mindless celebration of the act of driving fast and recklessly, showing blatant disregard for the stakes needed for anyone to actually invest in the outcome of all this burning rubber.
We meet former racecar driver Brent (Ethan Hawke) while he steals a vehicle from a Bulgarian parking garage. His wife (Rebecca Budig) has been kidnapped and Brent is given instructions on where to go from the man responsible for the crime — a voice belonging to Jon Voight. Considering the fact that only a pair of enigmatic lips serves as the film's villain, we can only deduce that Voight was cast for helping create Angelina Jolie's, and that Mick Jagger may have declined.
While in a momentary lull between eluding other vehicles, Brent is the victim of an attempted car jacking by the young lady (Selena Gomez) who has come to reclaim the prized possession, which was first stolen from her. She soon finds herself being taken along for the ride, as Brent races over to a power plant to fulfill the wishes of Voight's threatening baritone. It's eventually revealed that Brent's nameless passenger is the daughter of a CEO for an investment bank, from which the kidnapper is planning to steal billions.
It's apparent why Hawke and Gomez might have wanted to be involved with this project, given that they are barely required to deliver performances while sitting in a car for practically the entire production. For Hawke, this means yanking on the wheel to match the movements of the stunt work and acting suitably stressed, while Gomez hacks into mainframes and loops camera footage like she's seen Speed, when not unconvincingly talking tough.
It must be said that with this many chase scenes, shot with the aid of cameras attached to the car by the kidnapper, there are times when the rapid-fire editing achieves at least some semblance of excitement. However, as Brent speeds across the city, through parks and over skating rinks, a curious numbness takes hold. Frequently engaged in run-ins with Bulgarian SOFIA cops that always culminate with one final police car flipping dramatically in the air and then crashing to the ground, watching Getaway begins to feel akin to indulging in too much junk food.
Each time another car slams into a wall or bursts into a ball of flames, it's impossible not to hope that the next one might be Brent's, so as to mercifully put an end to this getaway. (Warner)