Monday, September 9, 2013

“Getaway” – A train wreck, I mean car wreck, I mean…all of the above.

Let’s begin this review by saying Getaway is a stupid movie. In ninety-four minutes of running time, the film manages to show roughly seventeen hours of car chases and car crashes. At least, it felt like seventeen hours. In reality, that number is probably closer to ninety minutes and at no point does it threaten the viewer with a plot, character development, or even a break in the bombastic, tedium of non-stop vehicular action to refill the gas tank of a car that is the best actor in the movie. The writers (yes, writers – plural) so obviously phoned in this screenplay that they didn’t even bother to name more than two of the characters. The credits include characters called “The Kid,” “The Voice,” “The Man,” and “Distinguished Man” and those are four of the six main characters. The question we should ask these two “writers” is why they didn’t go all the way and call Ethan Hawke’s character “The Driver” and his wife “Grand Theft Auto – Mission 7?” But, that’s only the tip of the stupid iceberg.

The film begins with Brent (Hawke) coming home and finding his place ransacked, Christmas tree knocked over, and wife, Leanne, missing. As he investigates blood stains, the phone rings and The Voice tells Brent to follow his instructions or Leanne will die. Brent is directed to the garage of the building where he must steal an armored, camera-ed, Shelby Mustang and avoid being captured by the police. As it turns out, Brent is a former racecar driver turned criminal who was in the process of turning his life around. None of that matters to the plot and is casually revealed to us in three-second chunks deep into the film. They never show us any of Brent’s past nor does it relate to the motives of The Voice since they had never met before. Brent could have been a high school teacher or an astronaut; it doesn’t matter in the context of the film. The only thing we know for sure is that his wife can decorate the hell out of a Christmas tree.

After crashing through and into an assortment of objects for a while, Brent is told to park for a bit and that’s when we meet The Kid (Selena Gomez). The car Brent stole belongs to her and she tracks him down and shoves a gun in his face. The Voice insists that she must not leave and even instructs Brent to kill her. As positive as that would have been for the film, Brent refuses to shoot her and The Voice basically says “meh…no worries.” Bluffing is usually not a good attribute for a villain, but meh…no worries.

The film quickly gets back to vehicular dumb-shittery, and after many more Microsoft minutes have passed, the audience collectively checks its watch. It’s like we’re in that scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when the group is going through the trippy tunnel and screaming for it to end. Only in our case, we’re the boat. As this is going on, The Kid feels a constant need to berate Brent, even after he fills her in on the kidnapping and threatened execution of his wife. If ever there was an effective commercial for birth control, The Kid is its mascot. By the time the script calls for her to be more than a foul-mouthed jerk, we’ve already turned on Brent for not taking the opportunity to shoot her in the face and couldn’t care less about her personal tale of woe and daddy issues. We’re just praying Brent flips the car and her head snaps off.

By the sixty minute mark, the film still hasn’t divulged The Voice’s goals or his face. This was a big deal for me as I spent a good portion of the movie trying to place whose lips and eyeballs went along with The Voice since that’s all they showed us. It was painfully obvious the accent was fake and might be the reason the actor remained anonymous up until the last couple frames of the film. If not, I can’t think of a single reason why they would hide his identity other than shame. This isn’t a sequel or a remake or spin-off; we don’t know who the guy is so revealing his face at the end is just a cheap, stupid stunt to elicit an “aha” moment from the audience. Unfortunately, it took away from the rest of the film by causing the audience to ignore the film in favor of playing the game Guess Who? Though, now I think about it that would have been more apt title.

As the film mercifully comes to an end, one starts to wonder how this movie was ever greenlit for a theater release. With the bad acting, relatively low budget ($18 million), lack of coherent anything, and zero entertainment value, it’s the type of movie that usually ends up going straight to DVD or a compost pile. But, because the world stupidly decided to waste $85 million plus on Hawke’s earlier release, The Purge, some fool thought that meant Ethan Hawke was a box office draw. I guess Forrest Gump’s mom was right – stupid is as stupid does.

Rating: Ask for all of your money back plus six dollars and a condom. You’ll want it after the Selena Gomez experience.

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