2013 - 90 minutes
Directed by: Courtney Solomon
Written by: Sean Finegan, Gregg Maxwell Parker
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, Jon Voight
If you find the Taken films a little too cerebral, Getaway may be just what you’re looking for. Instead of retired CIA agent Liam Neeson barreling through exotic locales to track down bad guys, Getaway has a retired racecar driver barreling through an exotic locale doing exactly what the bad guy is telling him to do. It’s easy to follow, too, because he’s in a car the whole time.
Well, not just a car - it’s a souped up Shelby Super Snake Mustang, outfitted with a bevy of cameras and microphones and reinforced with armor rendering it seemingly indestructible. The cameras and microphones so the driver, Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke), can remain under the watchful eyes and ears of “The Voice” (Jon Voight), who has kidnapped the driver’s wife in order to force compliance with his nefarious desires. Outfitted with armor so (literal) run-ins with the Sofia, Bulgaria authorities don’t slow him down. At least the police have the ignorance defense when they keep pursuing this super-vehicle; one of The Voice’s henchmen who should know better decides to futilely shoot a machine gun at it for about five minutes straight.
It really isn’t worth getting into the intricate details of the plot, even if it would be possible – we’d just be firing blindly and hopelessly like that unfortunate goon. Bad guy wants capable driver to drive certain places and do certain things so bad guy can execute his plan of stealing something that will net him lots and lots of money. The plan is hazy at first, and is even hazier when it’s revealed, but it doesn’t matter.
“The Kid” (Selena Gomez) – I guess the writers used up all of their cool name ideas with Brent Magna – hops in the car when she must to reveal a loose connection she has with the evil plan of The Voice. She also happens to be a computer hacker who can do magical things that nobody would never be able to do on her iPad; doing it all in plain sight and sound of the bad guy, but no bother.
The action can make up for the shortcomings of the script and basic common sense, no? No. Shots of squealing tires, cop cars overturning and very serious close-ups of Hawke using the gear-shifter and gas pedal are less than thrilling.
There is what appears as almost a moment of clarity for director Courtney Solomon for about 90 seconds near the film’s conclusion. In an unbroken shot, a camera mounted on the Cobra captures the action as it screams after a black SUV through intersections and around curves, gaining on each side until falling back. It really is a remarkable shot that deserves to be in a better movie.
Much like the film itself, the performances aren’t much to discuss. Hawke is in constant whiney yell mode; Gomez is in bored unaffected teenager mode; Jon Voight (or at least is mouth) is in monotone, non-descript bad European accent mode. His work on this film has to be the most screentime for just a mouth/lower jaw in cinema history – probably the first performance to ever be totally Skyped in. It would make sense considering the level of ineptitude and lack of thought up on the screen.
© 2013 by Blake Crane