Easily one of the stupidest movies ever made, Getaway is an invitation to critics to drift off into daydreaming a Rodney Dangerfield routine. “I tell ya, I was on the edge of my seat—’cause I wanted to leave so badly!” “Who needs 3D? This was in glorious 1D!”
This “Simon Says” thriller rips off Die Hard with a Vengeance in its story, Drive in its action conception, and Taken in its Euro-badass tone. Ethan Hawke plays erstwhile race-car driver Brent Magna, whose wife has been kidnapped by Jon Voight’s German criminal mastermind. If he’s ever to see his wife again, Magna has to do everything “The Voice” demands, which mostly involves turning the Bulgarian city of Sofia (otherwise known as “a cheap place to shoot a movie”) into his own personal demolition derby. Many badly edited car chases ensue.
The result alternates between unintentional hilarity and crushing boredom. But if your life’s aspiration is to live-riff movies in the style of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Getaway is the movie for you. The “better part” of the mirth flows steadily from Voight, whose disembodied bogus accent pipes into the car he’s tricked-out for Magna: kind of like what you’d get if you crossed Siri with Hitler. It’s difficult to express the full comic value of Voight telling Hawke to do something insane, Hawke refusing, and Voight saying some variation on “Dooo it!” Usually followed by “Now.” (What I wouldn’t give for someone to make a talking Magic 8-Ball that randomly serves up one of Voight’s lines when you shake it.)
Second place goes to Selena Gomez, who applies her pouty but otherwise blank alien-baby face to the role of “The Kid,” a poor little rich girl who winds up stuck in the car—a sweet Shelby Super Snake—with Hawke. Here’s the narrative structure: car chase: Magna and “The Kid” meet and bicker. Car chase. More bickering. Magna and the “The Kid” drive somewhere, which explodes. Car chase. And so on. The hyperactive editing results in one nice effect for director Courtney Solomon (Dungeons & Dragons) when he allows an extended unbroken shot trailing a speeding car; something happening in real time for a change suddenly snaps us to rapt attention for a full minute. After that smart choice, Getaway reverts to stupid again for the duration, “twist” ending included. Getaway does inspire escapism, as its title implies, but not in the way the filmmakers had in mind: rather, you’ll be looking for the exits.