Film Review by Kam Williams
Taken Meets Speed Meets Ransom in High-Octane Thriller
Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) is a former racecar driver who recently moved with his wife, Leanna (Rebecca Budig), from the U.S. to her hometown of Sofia, Bulgaria. But any plans for a quiet retirement are rudely interrupted when she’s kidnapped at the height of the Christmas season.
First, he gets a call from a mysterious madman (Jon Voigt) announcing that the only hope of seeing her alive again is to follow his instructions without calling the police. Then, he’s ordered to steal a specific, custom-built Ford Mustang parked in a nearby garage.
Only after settling behind the wheel does he realize that the auto has already been outfitted with cameras and microphones. Soon, he finds himself being pressured by the mastermind of the diabolical plot to execute a series of dangerous maneuvers at breakneck speed through a crowded market, across a rink filled with skaters, up onto a stage and down a flight of steps.
The one-car wrecking ball attracts the attention of the cops, of course, who set up a dragnet to try to put an end to the impromptu Demolition Derby. Brent, however, relies on his professional skills to elude the authorities, although he still he has no idea of his wife’s whereabouts or what crazy stunt is coming next on her inscrutable abductor’s bizarre agenda.
So unfolds Getaway, a high-octane thriller that might be best described as Taken meets Speed meets Ransom, since it borrows popular elements from each of those adrenaline-fueled adventures. Unfortunately, the execution, here, leaves a lot to be desired, since the picture is basically an hour and a half of chase scenes punctuated by crashes and pyrotechnics.
For some reason, director Courtney Solomon (Dungeons & Dragons) opted to forego character development in favor of incessant action and special f/x. Hence, the audience is never able to invest emotionally in the plight of the anguished protagonist or his imperiled spouse. Instead, we’re repeatedly treated to the sight of careening cars crashing, rolling over, almost hitting pedestrians, and my personal favorite, flying off a bridge in flames.
Along the way, Brent encounters the hijacked GT’s true owner (Selena Gomez), a spoiled rich kid who initially just wants her graduation present back. Lucky for him, the tech-savvy debutante turns sympathetic and is willing to use her laptop to help him find his spouse.
Too bad the script’s abysmal dialogue never rises above trite lines like “Why is this happening?” “You’re running out of time. Tick-tock!” and “You don’t have to do this.” A frenetically-paced Selena Gomez vehicle, apt to satisfy her diehard fans, despite being full of sound and fury and ultimately signifying nothing.
Good (2 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, rude gestures, mayhem and pervasive violence
Running time: 94 minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers
To see a trailer for Getaway, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBcVxXwFowI