Getaway – 2 out of 5
Boy, car chases are awesome, aren’t they? Fast cars making fast turns, engines roaring in ways that make the car sound like it has a pair of testicles underneath it and is on its way to ravage your mother because it’s that much of a badass. Chase cars flipping and exploding at the drop of a hubcap…and all those poor fruit stands and poor guys in charge of the large plate-glass window who are on such a tight deadline that they can’t make it to the cross walk and are forced to put their jobs in jeopardy by jaywalking and then must suffer the humiliation of watching as the sleek cars shatter their way through the window and then are forced to go home to their wives and children and explain how and why they lost their jobs and soon the bank will foreclose on their house and they have to sell the children to the greedy man who owns E-Z Collapsible Mines outside of town. Yes, car chases are fun but how is a movie that is nothing but chases?
|Somewhere, a suburban white boy who has never been in any legal trouble is watching|
this and saying, "Fuck da police!"
Getaway focuses on Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke); a former race car driver who finds out his wife has been kidnapped and now must drive for his (and her) life. A mysterious voice on the other end of the phone (Jon Voight) instructs him to get into a supped up speed machine and race like the devil himself is on his tail and just watched Deliverance and is full of new ideas. Along the way, a tech-savvy kid (Selena Gomez) joins the party and now the two must endure the torment of a race fetishist who, as it turns out, is using the both of them in order to rob a bank of unspeakable amounts of money…because, of course he is.
|Yeah...I don't need to see this much of Jon Voight's mouth.|
I can only assume that the entire film was made because the writer said, “I like fast things.” There isn’t anything wrong with that, of course. I LOVE car chases in film. Shit, Bullitt has one of the greatest chase scenes ever committed to film. Watching Steve McQueen rev his way around the streets as his car loses an estimated of 15 hubcaps was awesome. Hell, the Fast and Furious films are guilty pleasures of mine because watching cars go fast is simple entertainment that is just fun to watch (that’s why NASCAR and racing is so popular). However, watching a movie that is one giant car chase with no real character development (or even interesting characters to begin with), mediocre acting and shitty editing, proves that while, on paper, chases may seem simplistic fun, you might need a little bit more than speed to make them exciting.
|Fun note: He wasn't wearing sunglasses when he entered the car but the car was|
so badass that sunglasses just magically formed on his face.
I went into this film thinking that, while it might not be a great film, there was a good chance that the film could be mildly entertaining. However, the final product was a lifeless generic film that looked like it started with the idea of taking three movie clichés (car chases, kidnapping and a bank robbery) and decide to put them together (but with less imagination than done before) and add in the element of a teen girl to the mix in order to be annoying and make the film feel like an hour and a half long escort mission from a video game.
Gamers know the feeling I’m talking about. Escort missions are the part of video games when you learn that game designers hate the people buying their product. For those who are just now learning about the CalecoVision and need me to elaborate, escort missions are basically like they sound. They are the part of the game where the hero you control is forced to protect and escort a weaker character that, seemingly, has a curse on them that makes them incapable of basic decision making skills and a magnet for all the numerous bad guys to go straight…and usually they die if someone even just breathes on them hard. Then, when they’re not in complete mortal danger, they are just being annoying and stating the obvious to the point you wonder if seeing this person live is really worth the effort and contemplate if “Game Over” is really that bad.
|Yep, "Game Over" feels like a totally viable option.|
That feeling is how the movie feels the moment Selena Gomez enters into the film's story—in all her “my face looks like the beginning stages of an allergic reaction to a bee sting” glory. The only problem is that it is worse than a video game escort mission because you have no control. You are not mashing the buttons in order to make Ethan Hawke move across the screen. No, you’re just a spectator living the hellish nightmare of Gomez whining like a moron every two seconds during each action sequence. The only control you have is the ability to hit the “STOP” button on your DVD player.
|Quick, drive to the hospital, man, because your passenger got stung by a bee.|
It would be easy to put the entire blame on how annoying the film was on Gomez because Ethan Hawke, a normally decent-to-great actor, brings nothing of import to his role and is just…basically…there and not doing much. The second Gomez comes in you are bombarded with the most generic character in this film about generic characters. I already feel like she can’t act to save her life but watching her try to spout out pseudo-techno jargon is actually kinda hilarious but still sad to watch…mostly because the writers made sure to fill her dialogue with all the tech buzz words that they learned at the night course they took on screenwriting. Every line she utters (when not a scream about how they’re going to die) is “hack,” “network,” “encryption” and every other word a writer think means “computers” without actually knowing what they mean. Imagine actually asking the character or the writers what those words stood for and exactly HOW they apply to computers!
|At no point was the character allowed bathroom breaks...accidents did happen.|
As I neared the end of the film, I was pretty sure that I was going to give this one a score of 1 because of the bland, flavorless characters blandly going through the bland and familiar story filled with chase scenes and car wrecks that could have been exciting if they weren’t filled with needlessly fast editing that made them impossible to watch. Flashy and fast cuts are fine and all but when they actually work actively to obscure what the viewer is suppose to be seeing (and the main selling point of the film), it renders the point moot. It’s hard to enjoy fast action when you can’t tell what the fuck is going on.
|Ha ha...look at Ethan Hawke. He's imitating how the audience watches this movie...|
displaying absolutely no emotion whatsoever.
However, out of nowhere, the film impressed me with a chase scene that was not only visible and coherent but pretty exciting in its simplicity. The scene was the film’s final chase scene (and it makes sense to save the best for last but you could have thrown in a bone here and there with a decent one along the way), the entire chase looks legit (like it was filmed not on a stunt course or closed roads but on open roads with motorists who had no idea that they almost met death when a black car zoomed past them in the intersection) but beyond the fact it looked real, the entire chase is filmed from the perspective of the hood of the car that Ethan Hawke was driving (I also thought it was pretty cool that he did his own driving stunts but that's beside the point). The formula was simple but it ended up being the best thing about the movie. There was no chaotic, seizure-inducing editing getting in the way and there was no sound other than the natural noise of the cars roaring down the road. That meant no Selena Gomez polluting the air with her bad acting and cries of annoyance. It was simple and it was awesome…and it saved the movie from a 1 and allowed me to bump it up to a 2.
|In all seriousness, this scene was badass!|
Getaway is pretty generic and completely devoid of any real tension or action. While Hawke is a great actor, he’s clearly not trying in the film and Gomez is trying but she was created by The Mouse and acting and talent were not something he was ever looking for, so her end result was painfully bad. While the crashes were cool, the editing caused the chases to be a muddy mess of incoherence; with the notable exception (and the film’s saving grace) of the final chase. The movie is uninspired and unimaginative but, at the vest least, I did walk away enjoying one part of the film.