By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Well, at least Getaway is aptly titled: I can’t think of the last movie I wanted to get away from this badly.
Even by car-flick standards (consider The Transporter, The Fast and the Furious, Drive, Bullitt, Gone in Sixty Seconds, The Driver, Ronin, The Italian Job), Getaway is a bottom-dweller. Movies don’t come more one-dimensional.
It’s an annoying action thriller, a car wreck that traffics in incoherence, arbitrariness, and noise, and has no sense of place and no sense of time. Come to think of it, “no sense” just about covers it.
Ethan Hawke stars as Brent Magna, a world-weary, burned-out race car driver living in Sofia, Bulgaria, who returns to his home to find that his wife has been kidnapped.
An anonymous voice leads him to a car, informing him that he will lose his wife if he doesn’t follow instructions.
Figuring he’s been targeted because of his driving skills, Magna gets behind the wheel of a souped-up Mustang (a Shelby Mustang Super Snake, for those who care) loaded with surveillance equipment and, in a race against time, must follow the explicit instructions of the mysterious maniac voiced by Jon Voight, who is observing Brent’s actions via the cameras mounted on his car.
A young woman identified only as The Kid, a (hilariously unconvincing) computer hacker played by Selena Gomez, attempts to rob Magna at gunpoint and ends up in the car with him.
Among the things Magna is asked to do are kidnap, steal, and drive toward, at, and over pedestrians. Yep, the “ideas” on display are that life-affirming.
The director, Courtney Solomon (An American Haunting, Dungeons & Dragons), who has many more credits as a producer, works from a juvenile screenplay by Gregg Maxwell Parker and Sean Finegan that insults the intelligence of anyone who hears any line of dialogue or sits through any minute of screen time.
There’s really no acting to evaluate, just driving and riding in a jalopy of a movie that runs out of gas before the opening credits are over.
And because director Solomon seems to have graduated from the Michael Bay School of Empty Moviemaking, he makes sure to disallow actual performances, edit the film to within an inch of its life by cutting every couple of seconds, follow each car crash with another car crash, and pile up the property destruction to a laughable degree.
Hawke, a skilled actor who is clearly slumming, lends the film more dignity than it deserves, while Gomez, in her first co-starring role, is in well over head even though she’s in the shallow end of the pool doing nothing more than playing the one monotonous note she’s been assigned.
But it’s the car that’s the film’s real star anyway. And if you see yourself as part of the target audience for this trifle, you better really love cars. Because that’s all you’re getting.
So we’ll drive 1 star out of 4 for Getaway.
Nutshell review: Stay away.