PLOT: Ethan Hawke plays Brent Magna (lol), a former racer-turned-wheelman, forced by a mysterious stranger to steal a customized Shelby Mustang Super Snake, and then to embark on a reign of terror through Sofia, Bulgaria, in order to save his kidnapped wife. Along the way, he picks up a spoiled rich kid (Selena Gomez) who also happens to be the Mustang's original owner.
REVIEW: Who doesn't love a car chase? How many of us get behind the wheel of our cars and fantasize, even if only for a moment, that we're Steve McQueen in BULLITT? The answer- everyone. Still, as much as I love a good chase, a ninety-minute movie that's essentially one long car chase is something else. It's been done before (the 1994 Charlie Sheen vehicle THE CHASE) and it didn't work then, and doesn't really work now.
I'll give GETAWAY director Courtney Solomon this- it takes balls to name your wannabe Steve McQueen homage after one of his best vehicles, THE GETAWAY, to which this is otherwise unrelated (which was also remade as an Alec Baldwin/Kim Basinger vehicle in the nineties). Solomon, who also directed the abysmal DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and AN AMERICAN HAUNTING, does indeed seem to know his car chase cinema. Towards the end, there's even an homage to the great French chase short, C'ÉTAIT UN RENDEZVOUS, which showed a crazy high speed drive through Paris through the P.O.V of the driver. There's also little to no CGI here, which is always a plus in an action movie.
However, the big issue with GETAWAY is that none of the chases are as thrilling as they should be. Part of the problem is that there's so many of them (essentially the entire running-time) that after the first chase or two- which are only supposed to be whetting our appetite- they get monotonous. The chases also aren't anything you haven't seen before with a big deal being made out of Ethan Hawke having to drive through a crowded park, even though the same thing was done- better- in DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE.
The other problem is that Hawke, as good an actor as he is, is no Steve McQueen. He tries to be cool, wearing a hip leather jacket, but rather than pull off the laconic McQueen thing, he just seems bored. Throwing Selena Gomez into the mix also seems like a terrible idea, with her being particularly unconvincing as a computer whiz/gearhead. I only really know Gomez from the pop tunes we play at the Montreal radio station I work at and SPRING BREAKERS (which I loved), so I have nothing against her, but she doesn't at all suit this kind of movie, and is an obtrusive presence.
Still, Gomez is far from the only problem with GETAWAY, and it doesn't help that this is yet another TAKEN knock-off, with the only real difference being that instead of the hero's daughter being taken, it's his wife. Heck, the mean, accented voice on the phone (which is obviously Jon Voight doing a goofy German accent) even says, “your wife's been taken.” It's been done man.
I really can't recommend GETAWAY to anyone, as it's just another recycled actioner. The leads are unconvincing, the thrills are non-existent, and the chases are only so-so (the editing doesn't help). Maybe if you're an absolute car fanatic you'll like this (it really does seem like just one long commercial for the Super Snake), but even still there are many, many better options for you out there.
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|Extra Tidbit:||Now THIS is a car chase!|