“We like the cars, the cars that go boom”
– Tigra and Bunny
Everyone in Hollywood has a reputation, even months of the year. August has the bad rep of being the dumping ground for low budget movies that studios have less confidence in than a diet claiming you can lose weight from eating rice cakes and drywall. Just as the month surprises you with a “Butler” or “Grandmaster,” along comes the reason you ask for a refund wrapped in mangled metal called “Getaway.”
Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) comes home to find the place ransacked and his wife (Rebecca Budig) missing. Luckily, a mysterious voice (Jon Voight playing “The Voice”) calls him to let him know that to get her back, all he has to do is steal a car, but not just any car. This car is a Ford Shelby Super Snake. Don’t worry, there’s about a hundred close-ups of the car’s emblem if you forget. It’s armored with about a dozen tiny cameras attached. The Voice tells him via GPS to drive the car recklessly through the town of Sofia, Bulgaria (not to be confused with Sofia Vergara). The former race car driver proceeds to run through streets causing dozens of accidents, possibly killing pedestrians and making the Sofia Police force look like the Keystone Cops on a heroin binge.
When the baby-faced owner of the car (Selena Gomez) shows up to reclaim her stolen Mustang, the Voice tells Magna to kidnap her, and so he does. After all, you never disobey a voice, especially when it comes to things like felony kidnapping (I’m talking to you, Siri). Gomez’ character is called “The Kid,” because apparently, they were too busy destroying cars to even give her character a name. She may not have a name, but she has a foul mouth, a backstory that you couldn’t care about, and awesome hacking skills that help them try to outwit the voice.
That’s the movie.
If you’re expecting “Taken” meets “Speed” meets…anything, you’ll be greatly disappointed. If you’re expecting a believable plot (which is the only thing the car doesn’t drive through), go somewhere else. The script couldn’t have been more than 8 pages of “Buckle up”, “Keep driving,” and “Look out!” This is a movie for car crash fetishers bemoaning that their needs haven’t been met with the upcoming Grand Theft Auto: Liability Insurance or the latest A&E Fall lineup. Cars are crashed, police are easily outwitted and and likely killed as they are driven off roads, streets and even an ice rink all in the name of love and for giving the director a chance to put a demolition derby on screen. There’s no humor except a funny scene where even he can’t believe how unbelievable this movie is.
Ethan Hawke has to be commended for managing to be in one of the best movies of the year in “Before Midnight” while managing to find the time to collect a paycheck in one of the worst movies of the year. Hawke will have plenty of movies to fix his reputation over this one. However, Gomez may want to use this as a lesson in not all money is good money and to never get in cars with strangers.
“Getaway” – MPAA Rated: PG13 for action, violence and continuous mayhem, language and some rude gestures. Running time: 90 minutes. In theaters nationwide.