Ethan Hawke is a pretty good actor. Look at the work he’s done in, say, the “Sunrise-Sunset-Midnight” trilogy or “Training Day” or “Gattaca.” Given the right material, this guy can shine. Too bad there’s nothing for him to put his talent around in “Getaway,” a mindless celebration of mayhem, without a purpose.
His co-star in the film is Selena Gomez, who is not a pretty good actor - ’nuff said on that subject. Except maybe for the things she says in the movie, which we’ve got to blame on the guys who wrote this thing.
Gomez plays annoying poor little rich girl ... oh, wait, that’s right, we never find out her name. But here’s some of her dialogue, delivered in shrieky, whiny manner: “Look out! Look out!” There’s also the variation of “Watch out!” OK, let me cut her some slack. She’s saying these things while buckled into the passenger seat of a souped-up, custom-built, armored Shelby that’s being driven in maniacal style and at high speeds along highways and down side streets and through crowded shopping malls and across an ice skating rink by – hold on for this name – Brent Magna (Hawke).
The nameless kid is being held prisoner by Magna, but only after he stole her car (yeah, she’s a very rich girl) and she, big pistol in hand, tried to take it back from him. But ... oh, my, this gets complicated.
But, you see, Magna has no choice. A voice on a phone has told him to steal the car, then the same voice, now on the car’s audio system, has mentioned that his wife has been taken captive, he’d better do certain tasks and follow all orders (one order is to hold the girl captive), or he’ll soon be a widower. At which point the car’s video system (this is one hell of a car!) shows him a live feed of his screaming wife in a makeshift jail cell in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria? BULGARIA!!! Yeah, it’s explained, but the explanation makes about as much sense as a movie taking place at Christmas and featuring “Jingle Bell Rock” being released in August. I’ve got a feeling the movie wasn’t released early, but it’s been sitting around on a shelf for a year ... or two.
Here’s what we learn: Magna was once on the professional racing circuit, but things went wrong. So he and his wife moved to Bulgaria. The nameless kid is there because her wealthy banker daddy is working there, and apparently telling her every single detail about banks and vaults and how they’re protected. The identity of the guy whose voice is in the car remains a mystery, as do his motives for putting Magna through his ridiculous series of “tasks.”
Page 2 of 2 - Yes, he was really ordered to drive across a crowded ice skating rink!
This all turns into a big car chase, sometimes also involving trucks and motorcycles and guns, along with some absurd and totally inexplicable explosions. It also gets hard to tell if he’s being chased by cops or by henchmen. But all will be OK because nameless girl also happens to be a computer whiz (even though every bit of the plot involving computers turns out to be moot).
Hold on. I just remembered another piece of nameless girl’s dialogue, delivered quietly, without a hint of emotion, directly at Magna: “I really hate you.”
But that’s far from the film’s worst problem. It has a plot that, even at the end, makes no sense; it has chase scenes that never cause a feeling of peril, but just look and feel like a bunch of stunt drivers have gotten together; and it’s an “action film” that’s overly repetitive and quite boring ... and dumb.
Ed Symkus covers movies for More Content Now.
Written by Sean Finegan and Gregg Maxwell Parker; directed by Courtney Solomon
With Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez