“Getaway” failed before it even got going. Any film that puts Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez into a car together and forces them to interact while they drive around really fast is bound to start and finish at rock bottom. Even worse is when the film desperately tries to keep your attention diverted away from its extremely absurd and silly plot with lots of noise, explosions and other visual distractions, only to miserably not be able to cut the mustard and deliver on its end of the bargain with any real climax or resolution.
Yeah, this one was bad, folks. Really, really bad.
With a simple plot and a foundation set-up with rubber cement rather than concrete, “Getaway” suffers from poor performances, lackluster writing, chase scenes that look horribly orchestrated (and more horribly executed) and, worst of all, annoying banter between its three leads that makes them sound like they’re children strapped in the backseat of a minivan en route to Disneyland with the air conditioning broken and toys confiscated for bad behavior. This is the kind of film you watch roughly 15 minutes of and quickly realize that you’re never going to get your time wasted while taking it in back. It’s one where the disc becomes a coaster. It’s the type of movie that I’m convinced takes American cinema backward rather than forward.
Magna (Hawke) is former race car driver who comes home and finds his house totally ransacked. His wife Leanne (Rebecca Budig) is missing. Magna’s phone rings and a man known exclusively as The Voice (Jon Voight) tells him that he needs to do exactly as he is told if he ever wants to see his wife alive again.
Magna’s first direction is to steal a pretty badass Shelby Mustang and drive it all over Bulgaria so he’ll leave law enforcement in disarray. Between accidents and pursuits, a kid (Gomez) gets in and points a gun at him, demanding that he get out of her car. We learn that Magna’s directed theft was intentionally set up by The Voice so he’d connect with the kid and lug her along for the ride. After lots of bad words get exchanged and lots of police cars get mashed up, the kid and Magna learn they’re decoys in The Voice’s plan to rob a really lucrative investment bank.
So much that director Courtney Solomon puts into “Getaway” is so hard to digest. The kid is a computer wiz, able to use her iPad to look at anything she wants, anytime she wants. She hacks into video feeds, drops tech savvy verbage about IP addresses and screams at Magna all while maintaining her makeup’s perfection and nary a hair getting out of place. Speaking of Magna, he’s reminiscent of Eeyore from the Winnie-the-Pooh stories: tail between his legs, helpless and dysfunctional. A fully functioning sixth grader exhibits more personality in a 90 minute chunk of time than Hawke’s character does.
As “Getaway” progressed, I did hold out a small amount of hope that the action sequences, of which there are plenty, would be able to sustain my interest, even if only in a miniscule capacity. But even the car chases suck! We essentially get to see more or less the same three or four outcomes about twelve to fifteen different times. Even if you love a good car chase, you can only watch a moving vehicle hit a stationary one and go airborne, twisting around itself like a pretzel, so many times before you wonder whether or not the idiots who made these scenes a reality have ever seen “Bullit.” They could stand to learn a thing or two.
Explosions abound, technology is used for good and evil, Gomez uses a very bad word that begins with the letter “a” and ends with the letter “e” several times, and “Getaway” leads you down a rabbit hole that is disorientingly bad on so many levels. There is no suspense, drama, emotion or power dynamic. There is no sense of symmetry or cohesion. There is simply a compilation of many crummy filmmaking elements layered ever so carefully on top of one another to deliver a colossally awful movie. I’d rather chew glass than watch it again.
Because much of “Getaway” takes place at night, dark colors are the film’s real star, and they appear vividly enough. The real brights shine from headlights, cell phones and police sirens. They, too, are reasonably evident and take their place just fine. The camera image comes off pretty clean for the most part, but it’s a far from flawless 2.40:1 1080p High Definition video transfer. The cut away shots that help transition camera angles away from the tight views of the car’s interior are probably the film’s best.
Here is the single bright spot “Getaway” provides. Its sound is great. The DTS-High Definition Master Audio English 5.1 audio track is superb, with all the things being fully audible as they should be: engines revving, metal crushing against metal, sirens blaring and more. The spoken words offered from the characters are easy to hear, too, but since the screenplay here is pretty freaking terrible, it seems irrelevant. Other soundtracks are Dolby Digital 5.1s in Spanish and French. Subtitles are English, French and Spanish.
There are five featurettes to take in, but of course, to do so, you’d have to have at least somewhat enjoyed the film. They’re titled “Crash Cams,” “Destroying a Custom Shelby,” “Metal and Asphalt,” “Selena Gomez: On Set” and “The Train Station.” Don’t waste any more of your time.
A Final Word:
Rather than be rude and nasty, I’ll just state that “Getaway” is a cluster I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It’s so far down it doesn’t even make it onto the map. Avoid it at all costs.