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Getaway (2013)

August 29, 2013

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written by: Sean Finegan and Greg Maxwell Parker

produced by: Steve Richards, Joel Silver & Courtney Solomon

directed by: Courtney Solomon

rating: PG-13 (for intense action, violence and mayhem throughout, some rude gestures and language) 

runtime: 90 min.

U.S. release date: August 30, 2013

 

Watching “Getaway”, I wanted to open the door and roll out, with no regard of where I landed or the amount of pain I would receive. It didn’t take long for me to feel this way. It’s been a while since I had a moviegoing experience as painfully frustrating and annoying as this one. Sometimes, you think you know better, but you want to believe there’s at least some entertainment value present. I thought knowing the premise in advance – a worn out fortysomething dude stuck driving around in a super fast car with a barely legal teen – might help prepare me for how much the movie would suck. It didn’t help.

Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) is forced to get behind the wheel of a Shelby GT500 Super Snake Mustang (stop, I had to look it up) and careen through the streets of Sofia, Bulgaria in order to save the life of his recently kidnapped wife. He’s told by phone (first cell and then built-in hands-free) where to drive and how to get there, how fast to go and when to speed up, as well as what to drive through or crash into, by an unknown man – the screenplay calls him The Voice (but we know him as Jon Voight, in a lousy Eastern European accent) – without knowing why he’s in such a predicament.

The Voice did his homework though. He’s no dummy. Apparently, Brent used to be a hotshot race car driver back in the day (and one assumes, back in the States, since Brent doesn’t have a lousy accent). One might think with a name like Brent Magna that he might’ve had another profession – but no, this guy knows how to take sharp turns (not turn easy tricks).  The Voice had interior and exterior cameras installed in the sleek vehicle which he uses to view the driver from his MacBook in a nearby undisclosed location (aka: a lobby of a posh hotel). But The Voice didn’t plan on the owner tracking down the stolen vehicle – or did he? Hard to tell (or care).

 

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At first, we think The Kid (a truly awful Selena Gomez) – again with the “The” – is trying to rob Brent or steal his car. Clad in a grey hoodie, brandishing a gun and a MTV thug ‘tude, it turns out the car is hers. What? Can’t an annoying tablet-savvy girl be all into cars?

With this turn of events, The Voice tells Brent to kill the girl and then throws his hands in the air (we can tell by his voice, come on!) and instructs Brent to “just drive” with probably the most annoying passenger in the history of cinema. Too bad Brent isn’t a killer.

For the next hour, Brent is subjected to several squealing “I hate yous!” while maneuvering through traffic at up to 70 miles an hour. Viewers will want Brent to give the brat an irritated glance, flashback to an image of his beautiful wife (the script reminds us many times that she’s beautiful and thus, she is), utter an “I love you” under his breath – which would totally confuse and frustrate The Kid even more – and then proceed to floor the car into a brick wall.

Roll credits.

That would’ve made a great short, albeit a kind of pointless one. Instead we have a pointless feature-length movie that only serves to smash and crash and flip in an excessive endless loop.

Of course, the two vehicular prisoners eventually become less annoyed by each other (the same cannot be said for the butts in the audience) and work together to figure out how to stick it to The Voice. It’s not easy though. There’s goons on motorcycles with automatic weapons shooting at them (good thing the car is apparently bulletproof and no one can aim for the tires), there’s explosions and then, even after his wife (soap actress, Rebecca Budig, in a thankless role) is freed, Brent has to get back in the beat-up Mustang and save The Kid. That’ll teach ya to leave your car unlocked, Brent.

 

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The plot is basic, bland and boring. As my attention waned, I sat there imagining how an unnecessarily exuberant director – in this case, Canadian producer/director Courtney Solomon (whose two previous films, 2000’s “Dungeons & Dragons” and 2005’s “An American Haunting”, didn’t do audiences any favors) – must have pitched the project to Warner Bros., with the equally excited Sean Finegan and Greg Maxwell Parker, two screenwriters clearly into cars and tech. I also imagine the Studio Heads green-lighting the movie with the caveat that it would star an one-time Oscar nominee and one of the latest teen sensations – because, that would get butts in seats on Labor Day Weekend.

I thought maybe we might get something cool from actor Paul Freeman (“Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Hot Fuzz”) but he’s only in one scene – smiling from a car window as if to mock viewers. His character, according to IMDb was called “The Man” – ugh!

After sitting through the excruciatingly long 90 minutes, I was left wondering just whose butt this movie is for, anyways? Is this for Ethan Hawke completists or just the ones who saw last year’s “Sinister” and this year’s “The Purge”? Are moviegoers expected a variation on the “Fast and Furious” movies? (Let me tell you, this movie gave me a new appreciation for that franchise). Are there really Selena Gomez fans out there who will make this movie number one in its opening weekend?

I must reiterate – Gomez is awful. I can’t recall the last time I watched someone in a movie try to act. She cannot do it. The rare moments when the movie slowed down for dashboard dialogue between the mismatched Hawke and Gomez was utterly excruciating. So bad are their exchanges, both in acting and writing, that it found me nodding off – only to be awoken by more incessant crashing.

The movie has been given the misleading genre label “action thriller”, yet it offers zero thrills. As for the action – you’ve heard of the term “over-acting” right? Well, this movie offers “over-action” – it’s just too much of the same thing over and over again, switching up the POV camera angles like a blank-faced teenager channel-surfing. Props to the stunt crew, but that’s about it.

The inappropriately-titled “Getaway” unfortunately lived up to my low expectations. Not too much of a surprise for a late August release. It’s a movie that serves as a reminder that dumb movies can be overlooked, but stupid movies cannot when they suck.

 

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RATING: zero stars

 

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Wendi Freeman permalink
    August 29, 2013 7:57 am

    I wish they could just put this car in a better movie! Also? It is not “Drive”, it’s characters have no mystique, they can have actual names. Or were the screenwriters just that lazy?

    • David J. Fowlie permalink*
      August 29, 2013 11:09 am

      I think the screenwriters were too excited about the concept – the pitch – to even care who these people on the screen really are.

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