Do I really want to review the trailer for a one-note action flick coming out in August? Not really, but it’s either this or One Direction: This Is Us, and I’ll take generic thriller over generic music biopic any day.
Getaway is the story of a racecar driver forced to commit crimes in order to save his wife. But is it worth your time or should you drive on by? Well, let’s take a look at the trailer and find out.
So who stars in this film? Our hero, Brent Magna, is played by Ethan Hawke, whose other films include Sinister, Gattaca, and Before Sunrise. Selena Gomez plays the Kid (yes, that’s the actual name of her character according to iMDB); she has also been in Monte Carlo, Hotel Transylvania, and Spring Breakers. The villain, known only as the Voice (I assume that’s not the TV show), is portrayed by Jon Voight, who has also appeared in Heat, Mission Impossible, and Deliverance. I’m also excited that Paul Freeman, aka Rene Belloq from Raiders of the Lost Ark, has a part, even if he’s only listed as the voice of the Man.
The director is Courtney Solomon, who I was surprised to learn is not a girl. He hasn’t done much directing, putting most of his time into producing, but he has two director’s credits under his belt. One is for An American Haunting, which I’ve never heard of but which no one seems to like, and the other is for Dungeons & Dragons, which turned the fantastic Jeremy Irons into a maniac with hilarious overacting. My hopes for this movie have just been shot in the face.
Our trailer opens at Christmas, which is ironic since this movie is being released at the end of August. Brent’s wife Leanne goes to answer the door and gets kidnapped. Silly woman; don’t you know you never open the door when the man ringing the doorbell is wearing black leather gloves? That’s a sure sign he’s a criminal! Brent tells us that he found the place trashed when he got home, then got a phone call from a mysterious Voice saying, “You have a beautiful wife.” Dude, you went through all that trouble just to tell me something I already know?
But it turns out the Voice wants more than the chance to compliment Leanne. He tells Brent to steal a Mustang that looks about as high-tech as KITT from Knight Rider, only without the AI. And of course, instead of paying the fee and leaving the garage inconspicuously, Brent smashes his way out, almost running over a security guard in the process and instantly putting himself on the radar of every policeman in the county, making his job impossibly hard.
You see, the Voice wants Brent to commit several crimes with his newfound ride, and if he fails any of them or gets caught, Leanne dies. Naturally, the Voice can’t find any getaway drivers more suited to these tasks or more willing to perform them than this honest ex-racer. And just as naturally, he doesn’t try to pay off Brent or threaten him first instead of going straight for the one pressure point that’s guaranteed to make him mad. Not that Brent has a choice in the matter; the Voice has the car rigged with cameras so he can watch the driver’s every move. How much do you want to bet one of the tasks is pranking a drive-thru? I can just see Jon Voight saying “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!”
So as Brent leads the cops on a merry chase through the city, resulting in more flipped cars than a monster truck rally (way to get them on your side for when you go after you wife), Jon Voight has him kidnap a girl, whom we know only as the Kid. Brent explains his situation, and the Kid explains hers: the car he’s driving belongs to her. That’s right, the girl dressed like a homeless person, the girl who probably only got her license a couple of years ago, owns a brand new, high-tech, expensive car. Sweetheart, my first car was an ’02 Ford Escape with over 90,000 miles on it, and my parents paid for that. There is no way you own that car free and clear. Either your parents are a lot richer than you look, your family is deep in debt, or you stole it. I can only suspend my disbelief so far.
The Voice tells Brent that he’ll need the Kid’s help to pull off his crimes. Right, the high school girl is going to show off her master criminal skills and not slow down Brent or hinder him in any way at all. Is one of the tasks a slumber party? How can she help him at all? (And I know I keep acting like the Kid is really young when Selena Gomez is a couple of months older than I am. But come on, they call her the Kid. Unless your first name is Billy, if people call you the Kid, chances are you’re not old enough to drink legally.)
Anyway, the Voice orders the two to steal a package from the bank. “We can’t do that,” Brent tells him. What, you stole the car without a second thought, but you draw the line at robbing banks? But, as the Voice tells them, they have no choice. So they drive on and smash up some more police cars, thus further destroying any allies they might have made. “Why is this happening?” the Kid asks. “Why you?” “Because I can drive,” Brent replies. So can the majority of US citizens, and a large number do it very well. Why is he the only one who can pull off these jobs? Wouldn’t someone with fewer scruples be more suited to the Voice’s needs? I know I’m spinning my wheels on this point, but why didn’t the guy just hire a criminal instead of going through all this trouble to set up an honest guy?
So there’s more driving, more wrecked police cars, and a guy who pulls out a grenade launcher but sadly doesn’t fire it. Brent finally snaps and demands proof that Leanne is alright and a definite time when he can expect to be done. “We’re just getting started,” the Voice tells him. I can already hear the groans of restless moviegoers when they reach this part of the film.
Brent drives some more, picks up the package from the bank, escapes from cops on motorcycles, runs one of them into an oncoming train, and blows up the train station. “I’m not dying for you,” the Kid informs him. Maybe not, but forty-three policemen have so far. There’s a lot more driving, a lot more crashing, and a lot more explosions. Jon Voight looks like an evil elderly Indiana Jones in a black fedora and coat, one guy fires his pistol and apparently blows up a car, and the trailer ends as Brent tells the Voice, “First I’m coming for my wife, and then I’m coming for you.” If the Voice was smart, he would put a bullet or two in Leanne at this point to keep her husband in line. But he hasn’t shown that much intelligence so far, so I’m guessing she makes it to the end of the movie with a few cuts and bruises.
So based on the trailer, do I recommend this movie? Not really, no. To be fair, there are some things I like about Getaway. The cast is solid, and I like the character names; Brent Magna just sounds awesome, and referring to the other main characters by titles rather than names gives the film an old spy movie feel. I don’t know how often those titles get used onscreen, but reading the names on iMDB makes me happy. I feel like if this were a novel, I would read it in a heartbeat. On the other hand, the premise feels a little too familiar (and has probably been done better already), the action scenes all feel the same, several of the plot points seem bizarre, and the director already has two strikes against him and no successes. It has potential, but it doesn’t look like it will deliver. Personally, I’ll be skipping this one. Or if I do watch it, I’ll be ready to make a quick getaway!
I apologize for delivering a pun more painful than the entire Lone Ranger movie.
Getaway is owned by Warner Bros.