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Currently sitting at a rockin' three percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Getaway is both a critical and commercial failure. Its embarrassing $10.5-million box office haul soiled star Ethan Hawke's recent hot streak and did thespian hopeful Selena Gomez no favors. Is Courtney Solomon's (Dungeons and Dragons) film as bad as you've heard? Yes and no. It's a pile of nonsensical, poorly edited crap, sure, but it didn't kick any puppies or pinch any old ladies. But correct me if I'm wrong. This is what happens when you confuse 90 minutes of nonstop action for a movie. Don't confuse Getaway with THE Getaway, the Steve McQueen actioner that puts this film to shame. As a B-movie homage, Getaway is a well-intentioned misfire. As entertainment, it's grating.
The film opens with a poorly staged sequence in which Leanne Magna (Rebecca Budig) is abducted from her home. Leanne's husband, Brent (Hawke), returns to his ransacked home and receives a call from the Voice (Jon Voight), who informs Brent that he must steal a customized Shelby Mustang from a parking garage to keep his wife alive. Brent is a former racecar driver and wheelman and has no trouble stealing the Mustang, which he finds is fitted with multiple cameras and microphones. With Brent inside the car, the Voice calls and begins sending him on a series of missions. If Brent is caught, the Voice warns, his wife will be killed. Everything is going OK under the circumstances until the Kid (Gomez) opens the car door with gun in hand and demands that Brent give up her car. Turns out the Kid's daddy gave her the sweet Mustang that Brent is currently beating to hell all over Sofia, Bulgaria.
The film's first mistake is attempting to shoot every car chase like a video game. The gritty, unappealing cinematography features a mix of harsh HD dash cams and oddly placed, shaky POV shots from alongside the Mustang and on surrounding streets. Very little of Getaway actually looks like a film, and the relatively small $18-million budget is decidedly NOT on screen. Solomon, whose track record doesn't suggest a particular talent for directing, is so concerned with replicating a SportsCenter highlight reel that she forgets to familiarize viewers with the setting. The tight, colorful streets of Sofia are largely wasted on Getaway, which zooms by without a passing thought. Worse yet, the car-chase action is boring save one or two clever maneuvers. It's all revving engines and tire-screeching monotony shot without energy or intensity. For a movie that banks so heavily on its action, Getaway fails to execute these tricks.
What is Hawke doing in this movie? I cannot say. His performance is fine, but the script by Gregg Maxwell Parker and Sean Finegan relies heavily on three-word sentences and lowest common denominator dialogue. Gomez is supposed to be an annoying teenager, and in that she succeeds. The interactions between Brent and the Kid are dreadful. The "plot" sends them toward a showdown with an unexpected common thread but none of it makes a lick of sense. At one point the Kid suddenly begins controlling a whole city's infrastructure via her iPad because, well, Getaway thinks that's a cool idea. Voight is a completely unconvincing puppet master, and I hope the actor simply phoned in his performance from a beach somewhere. The connection between the players is tenuous at best but Getaway coasts by on the assumption that viewers don't care about logic. I can tell you I didn't care about any of the characters or the plot after about fifteen minutes. Move along, nothing to see here.
This is an ugly film, though this is mostly a source issue and not the fault of Warner Brothers' 2.40:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer. The choppy, sloppy editing and ugly shaky cam footage puts a damper on the proceedings, and the film as a whole appears kind of lifeless. There are splashes of bold colors around the city, and skin tones appear accurate. Detail is OK if not particularly impressive, and texture and clarity are adequate. Black levels are strong, thankfully, as most of the film takes place at night.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is fairly immersive and attempts to shake a little life into Getaway. The Mustang's engine rattles the subwoofer and fills the surrounds, and directional effects are frequent during the action sequences. Dialogue is crisp and clean and balanced appropriately with effects and score. French, Spanish and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks are also included, as are English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.
PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:
This single-disc release is packed in an eco-case. It's telling that Warners dumped Getaway on Blu-ray without much marketing or its typical "combo pack" treatment. They do include an UltraViolet digital copy, however. Extras include a few EPK featurettes: Crash Cams (1:12/HD); Destroying a Custom Shelby (1:06/HD); Metal and Asphalt (1:09/HD); Selena Gomez: On Set (1:19/HD); and The Train Station (1:03/HD).
The biggest flop of 2013 (so far!), Getaway slinks onto Blu-ray with adequate picture and sound quality that cannot make up for the lousy feature. Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez weather the storm as an unlikely duo forced to do the bidding of an overacting Jon Voight. The film is an action overload and utterly boring. It looks cheap and fails to entertain. Skip It.
William lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.