People always use the expression: “it’s like a terrible car crash, you don’t want to look, but you can’t look away.” Well it turns out that Getaway is a 90 minute car crash that you will wish no one ever looks upon and only look away. Imagine watching your friend play through an hour and a half of Grand Theft Auto, but only driving his car around; you don’t get to play, you don’t call the shots, you sit and watch. That is what it is like watching Getaway, except much worse for various reasons.
The opening of the film is Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) coming across his broken-into apartment. His wife is gone, Christmas decorations are smashed, but he gets a phone call from a mysterious man (voiced by Jon Voight) who tells him to steal a particular car and drive, or he will kill his wife. Okay, I’m still with it even if this all happens within a two minute period, a Taken-Speed hybrid sounds like it could be fun. Magna finds and steals a gorgeous Shelby Mustang Super Snake only to begin getting chased by police. Crashes ensue, explosions commence, but the problem is that they’re never properly framed.
The action sequences throughout the entire film are a mess. You know that option when you play a racing game where you can switch between camera angles on your car? Yeah, well that’s the entire film with the exception of boring centered shots of Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez, as The Kid. If you though Michael Bay’s action is excessive and pointless, wait until you see Police car after Police car thrown through the air with debris and a numberless amount of people dead; except, you don’t understand exactly what is going on because of the quick editing from camera to camera. If you played a drinking game just by how many angle cuts there are, you would be dead within the first two minutes. It’s one thing to have an editor quickly cut to get the most out of an action set-piece, but when it’s noticeable throughout the entire film it’s all you pay attention to.
When it comes to terrible dialogue, a film can either have it be so bad that it’s humorous, or just appalling and cringe-worthy. Getaway is only cringe-worthy, but it isn’t even all of the dialogue as opposed to the consistency of the plot. At first Magna doesn’t talk much, he scowls and drives, which I possibly could have dealt with had this gone for an art-house vibe; except the horrendous Selena Gomez comes into the picture and the film continues to decline on a quality level to the point of anger. Magna is told by “The Voice” to drive through a park where crowds of people are about; he briefly disallows it, and then does it because of his wife’s safety. Magna already seems like a man without morals, even if his wife is in danger. However, the major problem doesn’t happen until minutes later when Selena Gomez attempts to rob the car, and The Voice tells him to kill her. He won’t do it saying, “I’m not a killer.” The Voice answers, “Good, you will need her.” Did he not just drive through an entire park, in many instances, threatening people’s lives? Has he not killed over twenty cops by trying to run away from them? What if he did kill Gomez right then and there? Then what?
It only gets worse from there. The dialogue for Gomez is either swearing by using, “a**hole,” or “sh*t” for the entire film. Not to mention that Ethan Hawke isn’t given anything here. I love Hawke as an actor, but I still question why he chose this and admit that even he can’t save an ounce of this. The majority of the movie is him bickering with Gomez; the problem is that it’s annoying. Both of these actors annoyed me to death while watching this. I never thought Selena Gomez was a great actress, but I thought she was fine in Spring Breakers. We all know that Ethan Hawke is a great actor, but their dialogue is so contrived that you feel the film could have been entirely improvised and the result would have been immensely better.
There isn’t a lick of sense in this entire thing and it’s frustrating to watch. There is a shot showing Hawke’s side of the car from the inside, and attached to the door is an Xbox 360 remote that is on, for no reason. The action is poorly shot and confusing, the plot thinly constructed to act smarter than the audience, and the third act twist is so poorly done that even Jigsaw from the Saw franchise would be disappointed.
If director Courtney Solomon wasn’t a big name before, he soon will be, because he is America’s Uwe Boll. If you take away the fact that Solomon’s films aren’t based on video games then they’re practically in the same ballpark. Uwe Boll is infamous for acquiring the film rights to old video games for a depreciated cost, then usually making a disastrous film (I use “usually” because he has made one good movie). Solomon’s first film was Dungeons & Dragons, followed by a terrible horror film, and now this. Getaway is Burnout meets Need For Speed with a plot that is worse than those games; those games don’t have plot.
The Good: really nothing, there was one semi-decent scene that ran for about one minute involving the third act.
The Bad: Ethan Hawke is extremely underutilized, and insulting the audience’s intelligence.
The Ugly: pretty much everything, but especially the action sequences, plot, dialogue, Selena Gomez, and inconsistencies.