Not to be confused with “The Getaway,” a vastly superior film starring Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw, or even the so-so remake of that movie with Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, “Getaway,” is not only reductive in its title, but also in its story.
The movie starts promisingly with a five-minute sequence. It effectively sets up the story in true cinematic fashion—show me, don’t tell me. Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) comes home to find his apartment trashed and his wife gone. As he tries to wrap his head around what happened, a cell phone rings. A mysterious voice directs him to a car park where he is to steal a souped-up Shelby Supersnake car and perform a number of duties or his wife will be killed.
It’s simple and effective. Unfortunately when the movie gets up to speed—pun intended—it’s all downhill. Some of the jobs are silly—smash into a water truck!—others are impossibly dangerous, and all are given by a nefarious bad man (Jon Voight) who directs the game as though he is playing chess with a race car and dozens of police instead of rooks and pawns.
Things do not improve when The Kid (Selena Gomez) shows up. She’s a rich kid who claims that Brent has stolen her car.
On a scale of zero to stupid, ”Getaway” ranks an eleven. It is what we call in the film criticism business a S.D.M. (Silly Damn Movie). OK, I made that last part up, but I couldn’t really think of any other category to place this movie under. Maybe E.S.D.M. (Extremely Silly Damn Movie).
Some of the chase scenes are quite good. They seem organic, as if there might actually be real people driving the cars as they careen off bridges and explode into bits. There’s too many of them, but the fact that the crashes looks real and not like CGI-A-Ramas increases the stakes.
But just barely.
There is no amount of drama that could make us care about The Kid. Let’s just say that it’s quite possible that Gomez is even more annoying as an actress than she is as a singer. Her “performance” consists of pouting, grimacing and saying things like, “I’m totally screwed.” If you want to know what she’s like without paying to see the movie, go to any mall on a Saturday and eavesdrop at any American Apparel store.
Hawke is having a good year. “Before Midnight” is his awards bait and “The Purge” made a bunch of money. I doubt he’ll look back at 2013 as the year “Getaway” came out. In fact, I doubt he’ll ever think about this movie again once the cheque clears.
“Getaway” is a groaner, an S.D.M. that could have been a fun ride but runs out of gas after the first five minutes.