Do you like dumb movies with a terrible, nonsensical plot? Do you like wooden acting? Do you like watching cars go vroom? Well sir/ma’am, you’re in luck because Getaway is now in theaters and I went to the very first showing just for you.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a car guy so a lot of ‘chase’ films don’t really float my boat. While I was admittedly entertained by Fast 6, the rest of the franchise did nothing for me. I don’t really like Gone in 60 Seconds either, but I really like The Transporter and the old classic film Vanishing Point, so I’m not a heartless beast when it comes to action movies involving cars.
That being said, Getaway is no Vanishing Point.
The film starts us out with a mish-mash of scenes overlapped onto each other. We see our protagonist Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) enter his house and discover that the entire place is trashed. Interspersed with the discovery scenes are snippets of his wife Leanne (Rebecca Budig) being kidnapped and a phone call where a mysterious voice tells Brent that the only way his wife is going to survive is if he does everything he’s told. It doesn’t sound like much on paper but trust me, it’s a jumbled, irritating mess.
Also, we get the first of roughly 167 car chases.
Basically, Brent has to steal a ‘very special’ Shelby Cobra Mustang and perform ridiculous stunts and maneuvers all over town at the directions of the Mysterious Man. The car is fitted with cameras and microphones both inside and out, so that Mysterious Man can see and hear everything, ensuring that his every direction is being carried out.
The mystery of why Brent is being forced to drive all over a Bulgarian city wouldn’t be too bad if he wasn’t also saddled with a companion in the form of a ‘plucky’ (by plucky I mean horribly annoying) teenager played by Selena Gomez. She’s never given a name, so I’m going to call her Bad Acting. You see, Miss Gomez is looking to continue trying to shed a bit of her sweet, Disney-fied image by….being like a brat and swearing a lot.
No, that’s not very fair of me. Despite there being only three main characters: Gomez, Hawke, and Mysterious Man, none of them do much in the way of acting. Even worse, the character development scenes are quite literally mapped out. The film plays like this: action, talk, plot point, action, character references their past, repeat every 10 minutes. It gets both tiresome and wholly predictable.
But acting isn’t important in a film like this, right? What made people love Gone in 60 Seconds, Fast 6 and The Transporter wasn’t the acting, it was the action! Chase scenes that made your blood pump, a few fist fights and, in the cases of Gone and Fast, the shiny, pretty cars.
Well I hate to break it to you but there’s only one shiny car here and it doesn’t stay shiny for long. You see, this Shelby Cobra also happens to be a freaking armored car and it’s treated like it throughout. Brent weaves through traffic, plows through cars, bashes into cops, ramps shit and is subjected to hundreds of bullet rounds bouncing off the vehicle. This understandably takes a bit of the paint off.
But I’m afraid I’m still making it sound better than it is. The chases all feel familiar, and aside from one cool scene where we get an entire chase from the POV of the hood of the Cobra, all the rest of them are staid and standard. It’s a very realistic world and the cars behave as such. There are no false explosions or ridiculous exceptions to the laws of physics. While I would usually applaud the adherence to reality, the fact that there are dozens of chases, this all makes Getaway a very slow and useless movie, even at 90 minutes.
The characters are boring and the plot gets dumber and dumber the more you think about it. If the action sequences aren’t entertaining, then what’s left?
Maybe that’s why there were only 4 of us in the theater.