It will be interesting to see, if there was some way to measure it, how many people check out the Ethan Hawke-starring Getaway this weekend thinking it is a remake of the Steve McQueen classic. When filming started in Eastern Europe on the Courtney Solomon-directed thriller, rumors flew that it was indeed a reimagining of the McQueen film that set the car chase bar to which all the best movie car chases aspire to.
Alas it is not, and is an original story from screenwriters Sean Finegan and Gregg Maxwell Parker about a former race car driver (Hawke) who arrives at his home only to discover his wife has been kidnapped. The phone rings and the mysterious voice at the other end instructs him to steal a specific car from a parking garage and subsequently follow every direction he is issued… or his wife will perish.
What’s a guy to do?
As we see in the Getaway trailer, Hawke steals said car, and boy, is it tripped out to the point that any automobile aficionado would drool -- although there are those pesky cameras planted everywhere that allow our villain at the other end of the phone to keep an eye (or two) on his rat that he is leading through a maze.
Each successive task gets more and more challenging and Hawke must avoid 1) crashing and 2) the police. What all this is leading towards the audience is spoon fed ever so slowly. For that, the thrills are allowed to actually come at you at a pretty decent pace.
Along the way, he picks up a passenger, as seen in the second Getaway movie trailer -- none other than Selena Gomez. Unfortunately, she is completely miscast. The young star does what she can with the role -- it is just not a good fit. She was astounding earlier this year in a controversial movie, as we reported in our Spring Breakers review. Between her character’s poorly defined role in this race-against-time plot and the young actress’ attempt at playing something that is so far out of her comfort zone it’s, well… uncomfortable to watch.
Solomon has something on his side and that is his car chase stunt coordinator. There were hundreds of automobiles involved in much of the action and by eliminating music from some of his chase scenes and allowing the engines and the crush of metal on metal to provide his score… there is promise. But the director intercuts so often between the dozens of cameras he has set up through the chase sequence’s locale, that the racing heartbeat of the car chase is terribly muted.
Hawke could make even the weakest of promises work with his talent. He has had the summer of his career with the hit film The Purge and the critically lauded Before Midnight. But, our Getaway review finds that with the late summer actioner, Hawke closes his summer with a sputter, instead of a pedal-to-the-metal moment.