Film Review: Getaway

A car-crash movie that's a train wreck.

Getaway is both a title and a warning that audiences should heed about the third movie directed by prolific schlock-film producer Courtney Solomon, whose previous effort, 2005's An American Haunting, was quickly exorcised by critics and audiences alike. His new film, a car-crash cat-and-mouse, betrays no relation to plausible human experience or even rudimentary logic, and its dupey video look makes it seem as if it were shot on a phone—and not in any "Oooh, experimental indie" way but just in a "looks like crap" way.

What's particularly odd here is that the couple dozen (at least) car crashes that form the ostensible plot were expensive practical stunts and not CGI—so why the ten executive producers of Getaway couldn't also pony up enough budget for professional-quality lighting and cinematography speaks to a casual attitude about anything other than those stunts. That includes the co-star casting of baby-faced singer Selena Gomez, completely out of her depth and acting range, and a senseless plot that ultimately hinges on one of those magical movie flash drives that can transfer billions of dollars to a bad guy's bank account.

Ethan Hawke, admirably giving his all to a paycheck job, stars as the improbably named Brent Magna, a racing-circuit washout who's moved from the U.S. to Sofia, Bulgaria, with his wife (Rebecca Budig). When she's kidnapped, Brent gets phone instructions from a mysterious Germanic voice (Jon Voight) instructing him to steal a customized sports car—a Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 Super Snake, we're overspecifically and fetishistically told, with armored exterior as well as spy-cams to watch him. From there, Brent's given driving directions designed to create road-clogging car crashes at specific places at specific times in specific ways without getting caught by police. Yeah, that's a plan.

When a multi-billion-dollar plot begins by telling someone to successfully steal a car from a manned public garage—God forbid someone else were stuck at the gate ahead of him getting change from the attendant; Whoops! Plan over!—you know the filmmakers either haven't thought this through or just figured the audience was too dumb to care. There's an art to making outlandish plots fall within suspension of disbelief, and then there are instructions to drive down sidewalks, run red lights and crash through podiums while counting on nothing bad happening to the car, no police roadblocks stopping the driver, and not one of a million unforeseen variables popping up. In fact, another important part of the plan involves a "police" phone call to the car's owner (Gomez) telling her where her stolen car is, having her try to jack it back at gunpoint, and having Brent overpower her, take her gun and lock her in the car with him.

Adding to the ridiculousness is Brent's avowed aversion to killing, followed by his sending a plethora of police cars flying to land in mangled heaps. Air bags only do so much—or maybe "maiming and crippling" are OK. The videogame Grand Theft Auto has more believability and moral dimension.

When the best you can say about a movie is that the vehicle crashes are well-choreographed and it's cool to see what Sofia, Bulgaria, looks like, it's not just the police cars that are a wreck here.