Movie Review: "Getaway" Crashes In, Over and Over Again

getawayGetaway is wrecking in to theaters, but don’t write it off quite yet!  While the trailer makes the film look like a jumble mess of your average forgettable summer action flick, director COURTNEY SOLOMON actually has created a pretty unique yet classic blood-pumping action thriller, yet this very thing may be its downfall.  Does this mean you should race out to see this movie? Well, you be the judge.

Academy Award nominee ETHAN HAWKE (“Training Day”) aka washed up former star and musical sensation SELENA GOMEZ aka former teen Disney star breaking from the mold team together as basically the only two people in this film.  Yes, JON VOIGHT (“National Treasure” films) is the protagonist in the film, but is really just the man on the other side of the phone calling all the shots.  Really, it was an excellent voice acting job, and we do get to see his lips moving often, but don’t see this just for him.

In a series of what is believed to be unfortunate events, SELENA’S character who is known only as “the Kid” finds herself trapped in a Shelby GT500 Super Snake with former race car driver Brent Magna played by HAWKE.  Due to a couple of unforeseen events that are quickly revealed, GOMEZ is found holding up HAWKE, but is forced into the car by the unseen voice coming from the stereo.  The true adventure of this bizarre duo begins here.

The plot of Getaway is revealed within seriously only a couple of minutes of this non-stop action 85 minute flick.  Brent Magna is found stealing this Shelby GT500 Super Snake thanks only to VOIGHT’S voice telling him he has to if he wants to see his wife again.  In a series of back and forth clips of Brent’s wife being kidnapped and Brent stealing this car and speeding through the chaotic streets of Europe, it is quickly evident of the story we will be seeing.

This is a “chase” film with only one goal, receive the prize at the other end.  GOMEZ and HAWKE are forced to work tirelessly together to complete the missions VOIGHT’S faceless character puts them through trusting Brent’s former racing skills will help him achieve what he wants and ultimately freeing Brent’s wife.

The trailer really explains all there is needed to know besides just maybe a couple of small twists.  These are nothing that really make this plot any more special or creative.  Getaway really seems to have been made for an excuse to have a film of nonstop car chasing, adrenaline pumping, mindless thrill-ride. Yup, they succeeded, but in doing so it may have cost them from what makes any film good.

The challenge of any action packed action blockbuster is giving the audience a reason to get emotionally invested and honestly care for the characters livelihood.  Well, yes they are in a mission to get his beautiful wife back, however after countless car chasing scenes where the heroes just barely get away, unhurt, and the car hardly touched in this case, it becomes dull.  A movie of all edge-of-your-seat action actually causes the audience to become desensitized to the drama on the screen.

After 45 minutes, there’s no longer any type of shake up from a status quo where everything is normal.  In many films, books, and stories you have ups and downs and a momentum that leads to a climax.  In films like Getaway, the climax starts from the inciting incident and continues till the end.  While entertaining and suspenseful at moments, this type of storytelling leaves the viewer frankly just bored.  The premise and all the bits of information were explained within minutes with only little keys given later to try to understand a motif.

I would have enjoyed seeing Brent and his wife in a loving scene before all this takes place to give me some type of connection to the two as well as perhaps some middle areas where we slow down to see some of Brent’s history that has lead up to this moment. Instead we get a short clip of him crashing his car in a professional race, which apparently is the reason that made him a nobody.  After a quick explanation to GOMEZ we understand what happened, but then are quickly back in a chase.  With a collective sigh, here we go again.

Luckily, GOMEZ and HAWKE isn’t as annoying as one may expect, except for the first few minutes of them together where GOMEZ is just a little know-it-all brat that won’t shut up.  Her character however is somehow a brilliant hacker because simply explained… all teenage girls can hack into anything including the government because they have grown up with technology.  You can end my suspension of disbelief there.

I was happy to see GOMEZ a little more natural though. It didn’t appear over the top that we may have come to expect from her.  The two end up working well together.  We even see some vulnerability from GOMEZ’S character, but it doesn’t last long.

There really isn’t much to discuss about the bulk of the movie except that the whole movie is taken place in a car.  Not my choice of cars, but that’s another topic.  The best part of this though is that almost nothing in the film was green screened or created with CGI.  All the car chasing scenes are rather raw and believable, to a certain extent, creating a gritty more natural look to the film.  There were definitely A LOT of use from GoPros.  My favorite scene is a long shot that came out of nowhere of the view from the front bumper of his car as HAWKE is chasing an SUV through long stretches of European roads.  It’s actually quite remarkable and very well organized.  The logistics alone seem mind-numbing.  This one moment I felt like I was a part of the action and was actually in this dangerous environment as if he crashed then I was doomed as well.

Getaway is a car version of Phone Booth with COLIN FARRELL except without as good of a rewarding end.  In fact, if writers SEAN FINEGAN and GREGG MAXWELL PARKER went more this route by showing how HAWKE’s character has gone off the deep end and we actually saw a transformation, then maybe, just maybe, the film would have felt more rewarding and complete.

Instead Getaway remains a simple and raw action thriller without a lot of substance.  It’s a fantastic film to see if you want just a ride and nothing else.  There are a few great action sequences you may love if you don’t get too tired of them beforehand.  Be aware of a lot of screeching and a plethora of metal against metal scraping.  It will definitely keep your mind off the rest of the world for an hour and a half and it was refreshing to see all real action.  Getaway will definitely get your adrenaline pumping, but for how long is the question.

 

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Joel Covey
Joel has been writing for SoCalThrills for the past decade covering entertainment, events, and theater since joining the site. He is a CSUF alum, studying within the Communication and Radio / TV / Film colleges.