By Dan Metcalf
Clipper Film Correspondent
Getaway (After Dark Films)
Rated PG-13 for intense action, violence and mayhem throughout, some rude gestures, and language.
Starring Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, Jon Voight, Rebecca Budig, Paul Freeman, Bruce Payne, Ivailo Geraskov.
Written by Sean Finegan and Gregg Maxwell Parker.
Directed by Courtney Solomon.
Car chase movies are supposed to be exciting. One is also supposed to accept a little suspension of reality, but recent chase movies have taken a few too many liberties (this summer's Fast and Furious 6 comes to mind, with its 40-mile long airport runway). Getaway is the latest car chase movie to hit theaters, opening this Labor Day weekend.
Ethan Hawke stars as Brent Magna, a former race car driver who discovers his wife has been kidnapped from their home in Sofia, Bulgaria just before Christmas. At the moment he discovers his wife is gone, he gets a cell phone call from a mysterious man who informs Brent that he will never see his wife alive unless he steals a Ford Shelby Cobra Mustang and complete several tasks. The car has been stolen by the mysterious man and decked out with armor and electronic spy tech, including cameras that are used for surveillance. As Magna races through the streets of Sofia, he must avoid capture by the police or his wife will die.
During one of his brief stops, “The Kid” (Selena Gomez), a young American woman who owns the car happens to show up and try to take her vehicle back at gunpoint. The mysterious man (communicating via an on board cell phone) forces Magna to take The Kid along for the ride. During several close encounters with police and the mysterious man's henchmen, The Kid uses her computer genius to try and help Magna figure a way out of the mess.
Getaway is one of the most boring car chase movies I can remember, but that's not its worst problem. Selena Gomez playing a computer whiz with perfect makeup (during a violent chase) and a foul mouth (PG-13 only) is not Getaway's biggest flaw, either.
Two glaring deficiencies really stand out in Getaway. One is the dialogue, which bears no resemblance to anything clever (“You're so stubborn” is one line in particular, as is “I hate you,” uttered on more than one occasion by Gomez), coupled with an outlandish story concept (it's like 2011's Drive - for Dummies). The other is a mile-long list of continuity errors, coupled with a setting that makes no sense (Bulgaria? Really?). I'm sure there are some police officers in Bulgaria who speak English very well, but Getaway suggests all of them speak it perfectly.
There are plenty of other visible mistakes and improbable outcomes that make Getaway a film to get away from, which is a really good idea, in my opinion.