A movie that's essentially one long car chase? I liked it better when it was called The Fast & The Furious.
Actually the mediocre Getaway - a first-time dip in the high-performance auto-action pool for both Ethan Hawke and popster Selena Gomez - has more in common, plot-wise, with the suspense thriller Phone Booth.
I.e.: a mysterious psycho holds the hero hostage in one place for motives unknown, lest he do something horrible - except in this case, the hero is not trapped on the phone but behind the wheel.
Oh, and he's got a mouthy teenager (also trapped) in the passenger seat.
The problem is that a premise this spare requires a sure directorial hand to hold your fascination for 90 long minutes. There are good action directors in Hollywood who might pull it off. Courtney Solomon (Dungeons & Dragons) is not one of them.
There's a sameness to how he pulls off chase-after-chase, and shaking the camera is not exactly an original idea. Sheer destruction has charms of its own, of course (50-something cars are totaled onscreen in the course of the film).
And like Phone Booth, Getaway doesn't do a lot of explaining (it even steals that movie's open ending). Except in Solomon's ham-fisted hands, it seems less like an exercise in narrative minimalism than that he just forgot.
As Getaway begins, retired racer Brent Magna (Hawke) arrives at his home in Sofia, Bulgaria (hey, they shot it there, might as well set it there), to find his wife has been kidnapped, right in the middle of decorating a Christmas tree.
His cellphone rings, and a man we only ever see from nose to face-stubble (but it's the voice of Jon Voight) demands that Brent go to a certain parkade and steal a certain tricked-out Shelby Mustang or his wife dies. He does, and is soon on a cross-city chase with the cops, being ordered to drive into markets full of shoppers at 180 kph and whatever else enters the evildoer's mind (though it doesn't seem as if anybody ever dies).
Where does Ms. Gomez (known only as "The Kid") come in? Turns out she's a rich banker's punk daughter and the car was originally stolen from her, so she tries to take it back at a light at gunpoint.
Bad move. But then casting the pint-sized Disney pop star as any kind of hoodied bad grrrl is counter-intuitive as well.
The whole point of having her in the movie is because every teenager is a computer hacker, right? And so we need somebody to hack the surveillance devices the diabolical psycho has installed in her ride (and also to whine a lot).
Turns out the psycho actually has some sort of criminal method (implausible as it is) to his madness. But by the time Ethan Hawke has forced every car in the Bulgarian police force to crash into each other, we've ceased to care.