I think the first order of business after completing this review would be to sue Warner Brothers, as well as other makers of this film for long-term effects of seizures due to the constant and — at times — almost unbearably shaky, vibrating and just plain jumpy “Cloverfield“-like camera work employed by director Courtney Solomon (“An American Haunting“). In fact, Getaway should have a warning label posted at each showing reading: “Warning: Epileptics, pregnant women and those with IQs over 60 should avoid at all costs.”
With elements borrowed from such pictures as “Speed,” “Ransom,” “Drive,” “Gone in 60 Seconds” and a host of others (including the entire “Fast and Furious” franchise), and striving to include such classic chase scene footage that made “Bullitt,” “The French Connection” and “The Seven-Ups” memorable, Getaway is a confusing hodgepodge of poor writing, terrible acting, non-existent direction and frenzied camera work that defies description (where is Hal Needham when we really need him?). It is also a strong candidate for worst picture of the summer — if not the entire year, so far.
Add to all of this Ethan Hawke (coming off the idiotic “The Purge“) and Selena Gomez (who thinks uttering expletives such as “shitty” and “asshole” will break her out of her Disney Channel confines), who have about as much on-screen chemistry as O.J. and Nicole Brown Simpson, and you have a profoundly ridiculous effort that, if not for it’s mercifully short 90-minute running time, could do serious and lasting damage to the viewer.
Plot, much of which is explained as we go along, has Brent Magna (yep, that’s his name, played by Hawke), a burnt-out, down-on-his-luck former NASCAR driver who is forced to perform ludicrous stunts because his wife, Leanne (Rebecca Budig, “Bad Parents“), has been kidnapped. Taking place in Sophia, Bulgaria — for some reason — and led by the voice of Jon Voight (this is a man who’s been nominated many times and once won an Academy Award for “Coming Home,” people), ostensibly to draw law enforcement away from a bigger situation (yes, prepare for a slight twist). Threatening to kill his wife if he does not a) drive through a crowded park at Christmas b) tear through an ice skating rink and c) blow up a power plant, Voight sports a bad Slavik/German accent that would have made Gregory Peck in “The Boys from Brazil” cringe. Of course, since Getaway is rated PG-13, no one is killed or maimed by this action and only Bulgarian police cars are destroyed — by the hundreds, it seems.
Meanwhile “The Kid” (Gomez) tries to carjack the only decent thing in the film, the Mustang Shelby Cobra Brent is driving, forcing the two to interact for most of the duration and causing one of the major flaws presented earlier in this review. Neither can evoke even the slightest bit of empathy or interest and Brent’s over-the-top shouts of “Get out of the car,” “Fasten your seat belt,” and “Shut up” do nothing to heighten that intrigue.
Competing at the box office with “One Direction: This Is Us” (the “A Hard Day’s Night” for the musically-challenged generation), it’s better to just stay home and take a movie hiatus before some of the more award-worthy motion pictures are released later in the fall. One certainly can do themselves no good with the choices offered this weekend, especially Getaway.