Perhaps by screening after deadline, Getaway tried to escape (c'mon, it's been a long day) from critics. Not so lucky.
Critic's Grade: D
Welcome to Bulgaria, where Nascar drivers gone bad hire out their services to criminals, anonymous super-criminals rob investment banks, nobody speaks Bulgarian, Justin Bieber's ex-girlfriend carjacks Mustangs and a police car dramatically flips over every three minutes. With all this and more, Getaway
is a great contender this year’s crown of mindless car-porn hedonism.
Little more than a 90-minute chase scene, this film is targeted directly at the Fast & Furious crowd, but it has only one expensive car to smash up instead of many dozen. When the wife of a former race-car driver named Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) is kidnapped (on Christmas!) by thugs, Magna has to drive a nameless villain's car on a rampage through the Bulgarian capital, following his orders if he ever wants to see his wife again. Along the way, Magna is joined by a teenage girl known only as “The Kid” (Selena Gomez), an angsty tech-genius who waves guns around and routinely hacks into government computer networks from her iPad.
With not one but two damsels in distress, the plot is secondary to the action; it’s just one excuse after another for cars to drift, smash into each other and drive through listless crowds of people. Even though Hawke spends the entire movie sitting in a car and screaming at the dashboard phone, he’s surprisingly effective. Gomez, on the other hand, radiates boredom and angst as she delivers semi-memorable lines like “I’ve got a lot of money, you know.” As the villain, Jon Voight spends the majority of the film as a mysterious voice, and fittingly we see nothing but an extreme close-up of his lips as he eats olives and sips vodka.
The one thing Getaway has going for it are the crashes, and there are tons of them. Though some feel like they’re pulled straight out of an episode of The A-Team, most are bone-crunchingly spectacular. It’s a shame director Courtney Solomon didn’t make better use of the Bulgarian setting, which was obviously picked for little more than the cheap labor costs. Show us more cool Medieval architecture, show us some awesome Orthodox churches; hell, drive a Mustang through one of them. All we see of Sofia is cramped alleys at night and parking garages.
For the undiscriminating car buff, this film could be a dripping, sugary fix. For everyone else, it’s a long, vapid advertisement for iPads and expensive cars.