Twitter Plot Summary: Lots of driving around with Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez, with Jon Voight playing the “Dennis Hopper in Speed” role.
Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) is very good at driving cars. Wait a second – Brent Magna? What sort of a name is that? Anyway, Brent is a newly minted car thief and accomplished driver, and a thumpin’ good one too. He’s in a bit of a spot because his wife has been kidnapped and now he’s forced to follow the instructions given to him over the telephone by a German-accented Jon Voight. In many ways it’s like a low budget version of Speed, so if Ethan Hawke is Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock rolled into one, then that must make forever baby-faced Selena Gomez Jeff Daniels. Except they’re the only ones trapped in the car and she’s taken the role of Captain Exposition And, it seems, is also a big fan of the S-bomb.
What is the point of this diabolical plan, you might ask? Well now, that is a very good question, and to explain would likely ruin any need for you to watch this yourself. Suffice to say it involves some classic, old-school villainy and plenty of shots where Voight is staring at computer screens which has 80s style street maps on the display. There are frequent arguments between Hawke and Gomez, through some unnecessary plot contrivance it becomes apparent that the car is hers and was stolen by Voight a few days previously. She laments the modifications made to the car, including cameras, audio recording devices and so on – all so Voight can watch and listen to everything that goes on within it. Whilst no doubt intended as a tension-developing plot device, it does nothing of the sort, instead draining much of the tension like a faulty radiator or something equally as preposterous.
In its favour, Getaway features some decent direction from Courtney Solomon. Where there is the need to depict urgency and the fast change of gears he puts the camera in the right spot, although he is slightly weaker when it comes to depicting the rest of the action sequences, frequently deferring to obviously cheaper action cameras to pick up all of the action. It grates a little when the footage takes an obvious dip in picture quality, and indicates the relative cheapness of the production as a whole. But then it becomes apparent that a fair amount must have been spent on the practical effects and the cheap action cameras don’t irritate nearly as much. The real damage to vehicles is frequent and extensive, with reportedly 130 vehicles damaged in the course of making the film.
There is no getting around the fact the plot is silly, nor that the resolution doesn’t seem to make much sense. There’s also the small issue that there isn’t a solid resolution even after all of the driving around nonsense that precedes it, perhaps with the misguided thought that a sequel may be greenlit. That seems unlikely, but Getaway can be enjoyed on its own simply for the impressive and extensive car carnage that is provided. Without wanting to use too many car cliches, set your brain into neutral and just coast with it, it doesn’t deserve much more.