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Getaway •

Getaway_PosterStarring: Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez
Director: Courtney Soloman
Screenplay: Gregg Maxwell Parker, Sean Finegan
Action/Crime, Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 94 minutes
Release Date: August 30, 2013


Scott, there’s no escape for you – it’s time to review Getaway.

(Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond)

Alas, I wish there had been a way to stay away from Getaway.

Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) is a former race car driver with a past. He comes home to find that his wife has been abducted. He receives an anonymous phone call telling him to find a special car (a Shelby Mustang Super Snake) that has been outfitted with internet cameras that can watch him drive both from inside and outside the car. Once Magna is inside the car the anonymous villain calls him at regular intervals with instructions to do dastardly deeds with the car or risk the harm of his lovely wife.

At one point a girl in her late teens (Selena Gomez) jumps into the car, points a gun at Magna, and demands possession of the car, claiming it is hers.  Magna is able to disarm her and is ordered by the villain to keep her with him while he completes his remaining tasks.  The girl is very tech-savy and manages to use the cameras against the villain as well as figure out the villain’s ultimate goal, which she and Magna attempt to thwart.

Scott, I’m not against the odd improbable plot device to set up the situation for a movie, but the premise that we’re asked to swallow in Getaway is an extremely odd device. We’re asked to believe that some disembodied voice (ala Charlie’s Angels) is going to control the acts of a desperate man. Second, we’re asked to believe that a techno-kid is going to aid the man.

But the most unbelievable thing (that we can disclose without exposing too much) is when Magna extracts the gun from the kid and the voice says “Kill her!” Magna does the heroic thing and defies the voice (although risking his wife’s safety, which is his major motivation) only to have the voice tell him that it is “Good – as you’ll need her for what awaits you.” I suppose if Magna had killed the girl as ordered the movie would have been over prematurely.

Greg, this movie should serve as a warning to future filmmakers, and the warning should read, “How not to make a movie.”  The scene you mention is only one of 50 scenes that baffled me.  I suppose Magna’s decision to spare the girl’s life is supposed to endear us to him, but this scene occurs right after another scene in which Magna rams his car at high speed at dozens of cars, presumably driven by innocent people, and through innumerable Christmas displays, also filled with innocent people.

So there is absolutely no doubt that Magna is willing to kill many other people (including dozens of law enforcement personnel) to save his wife, a fact that I found reprehensible.  But let’s not forget the main problem with the movie, which is that 60 of the 90 minutes were devoted to car chases, car collisions, and cars turning into accordion-like hunks of metal.  That means we saw a half-hour of plot, if you could call it that, spread over 90 minutes.  For me it was torture.

It’s true, this movie is thin on plot and high on octane. I didn’t think it possible, but Getaway is a poor approximation of the Fast and Furious movies. And those are already a poor approximation of good entertainment. This movie is derivative of a genre of movie that should have no derivative.

The one thing I did like about this movie was Selena Gomez. She comes to us from the Disney kid-actor-factory where she starred in the TV series The Wizards of Waverly Place. Unlike so many of the young people who survive that teen-actor puppy mill (Miley Cyrus, for example), Gomez appears to be easing herself into a more adult career path. While there really wasn’t much for her to do or say (and she says “sh*t” a LOT in this film) she does it with conviction and we believe that she is the character she claims to be playing. Kudos Selena.

You’re right, Selena Gomez is the lone high point of a film that has more low points than Death Valley.  This movie reminds me of the typical Tom Cruise movie of late — there is a premium on action and a pittance of character development.  Magna doesn’t change as a character, he merely survives the ordeal thrown at him.  In fact, if there is a hero in this story, it is the car he drives.  His car apparently has its own Iron Man suit, indestructibly colliding with countless cop-cars which are crushed like beer cans in a fraternity house.  By the way, most drunken frat boys are probably too sensible and mature to enjoy Getaway.

I struggled with giving this film a zero rating, which I reserve for the worst of the worst. But Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez both give everything they’ve got although they’re not given much to work with. I give Getaway 1 Reel out of 5. Both characters try hard but they are mere shadows of heroes, doing the things that are expected of them to be heroic without being actual heroes. I give them just 1 Hero out of 5.

Movie: reel-1 Hero: superman-1

Getaway is a 90-minute collision-fest that is saturated with the senseless repeated bludgeoning of automobiles.  I have no problem giving this movie as much as 1 Reel because I enjoyed seeing the lovely Sofia, Bulgaria, where the movie takes place.  Selena and Sofia make the film reel-worthy.  The car and its ordeals are more of a hero than Magna, and any time an inanimate object shows more transformation than the human who drives it, we have a problem.  So I give Getaway one mere Hero out of 5 as well.

Movie: reel-1 Hero: superman-1


  1. Greg says:

    Guys, I really enjoy reading your reviews. I hope this goes national for you, and you both get very rich from it.


    O  O    o \___/


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