At first I thought it was audacious for Getaway to give itself a title that so obviously evoked the Sam Peckinpah/Steve McQueen classic. Now I have a new theory: The producers had never heard of that film.
I only say that because Getaway is so bad it gives the sense that, not only has director Courtney Solomon not seen The Getaway, it’s quite possible he’s never seen any film at all. (Okay, correct that: This is his third film, Lord help us, so he’s at least seen two others.)
Actually, calling this thing a “film” is a stretch. It’s a series of stunts—car chases—that only pause briefly to let us catch our breath. And it’s a testimony to how bad the film is that even those breathers make no logical sense (they’re this film’s version of the gang of thugs who calmly wait, one by one, to be beaten up by our hero).
Here’s the “plot”: Retired NASCAR driver Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke, growling, goateed—basically doing a bad Christian Bale impression), now living in Bulgaria, comes home to find that his apartment has been ransacked and his wife kidnapped. (Just for the record, even in these first moments his behavior rang false: Instead of running through the house frantically screaming his wife’s name, he stands there, cool and slightly sad.) A voice on the phone (Jon Voight) tells him to steal a specific car and await instructions if he ever wants to see his wife alive again. Brent steals the car—which ends up being a souped up Mustang tricked out with cameras and microphones—and is basically told to wreak havoc all over the streets of Bulgaria. (The reason the film is in Bulgaria is never made clear: Probably because it was the cheapest place to film.) Along the way he picks up a—wait for it—scrappy teen side kick (Selena Gomez), who is known only as The Kid, but whom I shall call Scrappy-Do.
It turns out that the Mustang belonged to Scrappy-Do, whose dad is the CEO of some huge investment bank. She also, conveniently, is some sort of tech genius—although the film treats this casually, as though her ability to hack into police stations, reroute GPS systems, and rig cars with cameras is “normal teen stuff.”
As for the dialogue between Brent and Scrappy-Do, suffice it to say, Gomez had better material to work with on the Disney Channel.
Are some of the chase sequences good? Yes, especially the final one, which is done is one take, from the perspective of the driver. But who cares? I mean, really? Who cares? (The film couldn’t even be bothered to give us a few flashback scenes so we were even slightly invested in the relationship between Brent and his wife.)
Next time a little truth in advertising. Evoke another cinematic great and tell us what the film is really about. Call it The Stunt Man.