Mark Reviews Movies

Getaway

GETAWAY

1 ˝ Stars (out of 4)

Director: Courtney Solomon

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, Jon Voight, Rebecca Budig, Bruce Payne, Paul Freeman

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

Running Time: 1:30

Release Date: 8/30/13


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Review by Mark Dujsik | August 29, 2013

Getaway is far from an effective thriller, but it might be the single most effective car commercial in the history of advertising. Seriously, this vehicle undergoes so much damage over the course of one night in Bulgaria that we can only assume it was forged by the gods themselves at the top of Olympus. Perhaps it was stolen along with fire for the betterment of humanity.

The car—a sexy thing that purrs and growls like its alive and tempting people into trouble—survives collision after collision, hails of bullets, and at least two near or direct hits from a grenade launcher. This thing (We tempt fate by speaking of it in specific terms that mere mortals can comprehend; its name, which we will now capitalize in the common tongue, is clearly only pronounceable in some lost language) only stalls once and then only for a few seconds so that one of the people chasing it can have a moment in which he believes he has the upper hand on it.

He does not, and one of the Car's lesser relatives arrives to ensure no harm comes to its technological superior. After the threat has been neutralized, the Car immediately starts again. This is a true feat of engineering: a vehicle that not only overcomes each and every obstacle thrown its way but also has enough situational awareness to have sense of humor about the whole thing.

One might imagine some exaggeration here. There is not. The Car is an invincible beast. It has noticeable scratch marks down its otherwise shiny body in one shot, and in the next, the scratches have disappeared. Its silver form is back to its constant sheen.

After the Car has been shot repeatedly, it does gain some stylish bullet holes. We assume this is intentional on the Car's part, given that—no matter how many impacts from other cars, stone structures, explosions, and bullets—Its windows and windshield are completely untouched over the course of the movie. The same obviously goes for the lights. After all, those headlights are important later in the movie when the power goes out throughout the city and the Car must maneuver through the surprisingly well-lit streets.

There's clearly little thought put into this incredibly simple and simplistic thriller about Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke), a retired racecar driver (He was "reckless," a character reads from a news article about him) whose wife (Rebecca Budig) is kidnapped at the start of the movie (The couple has returned to her homeland for various reasons, though not mentioned is the probability of decent tax breaks for movie productions). The kidnapping plays out in flashbacks (because this is not a movie with the patience for vital exposition) while Magna steals the Car and evades the police for the first of countless times.

He's ordered by a mysterious man—dubbed "the Voice" and played by Jon Voight's mouth—on the other end of the phone connected to the Car's stereo system to perform a series of missions. They range from causing general destruction and panic in parts of Sofia, Bulgaria, to a timed race to lose the cops chasing him. If he fails in any of these tasks, the Voice says Magna's wife will die. The Voice watches and listens to Magna's progress with cameras and a microphone in and on the Car.

At a certain point, a teenager known only as "the Kid" (Selena Gomez), the Car's actual owner, tries to get the Car back, and the Voice insists Magna keeps her along for the ride. This provides the movie's only human element, which winds up consisting of the two unlikely partners arguing with each other until another chase begins. At these points, the dialogue becomes a string of shouted statements, such as "Go," "Look out," or—the really serious variation of the first one—"Go, go, go." Occasionally, they wonder what the Voice's plan is and why he has included the Kid in it, given that she's only the daughter of the owner of the biggest bank in Bulgaria. It's a complete mystery to them.

That's basically the movie—a succession of ridiculous, repetitive chases that have little logistical sense interrupted at intervals by its lead characters yelling at each other or joining forces in confusion. Director Courtney Solomon and cinematographer Yaron Levy capture everything with a low-end quality. Getaway does contain one shot—a one-take from the Car's perspective as Magna does the chasing for once—that is visually and viscerally involving, which is much more than can be said for everything surrounding it.

Copyright © 2013 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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