Ethan Hawke turns up in a lot of random films these days. He often plays average Joe characters put in a difficult situations. That kind of character is a well worn archetype but an interesting one that suits actors like Hawke, Mark Wahlberg etc.
In Getaway, Ethan Hawke plays another ordinary dude called Brent Magna who appears to be a racing driver. Magna’s wife (Rebecca Budig) is kidnapped by a mystery man who then blackmails Magna and forces him to drive fast around town in his Shelby Cobra Mustang. Why he must do this is also a mystery. Maybe the kidnapper is nuts and enjoys making Magna squirm. Maybe the whole thing is revenge for a crime Magna committed. His motive is not made clear in the trailer and the madman appears to be played by Jon Voight as his name is listed in the credits. You also catch a few fleeting glimpses of Voight’s face during the trailer as he talks to Magna on the phone. Our protagonist spends the majority of the film driving around town at high speed alerting the police who give chase. He also finds time to pick up a passenger known as The Kid played by Selena Gomez. The Kid attempts to car jack Magna at random and gets dragged into the car. She is then stuck with him for the remainder of his adventure and becomes another pawn in the kidnapper’s game. The plot bears some similarities to films like Phone Booth and most of the action takes place in the car like in Vanishing Point.
Hawke is a decent actor and he can play this kind of character well. His performance in the film looks good enough and he has the acting chops to appear genuinely concerned for his wife. Gomez is a surprising casting choice and she is no doubt trying to avoid being typecast by starring in films like this and Spring Breakers. The actress is well known for starring in Disney films in the past and dating Justin Bieber. It is good that she is trying to do something a bit different. She looks tolerable in her role although asking the viewer to believe she is a gun toting car jacker is a bit of a stretch. Expecting people to suspend disbelief over that is a tall order. The writers really should of found a more credible way to get her into the car. Some disgruntled movie fans will dislike her inclusion in the film but it is not a big deal. The fact she is trying to break out of her comfort zone is to be admired. The cast is fine and Jon Voight is always a welcome addition to any film.
The problem with the trailer is it doesn’t stand out or thrill enough. The car chases in the trailer are average quality and the plot in Getaway is uninspired. The story is a run of the mill basic kidnap plot combined with car chases. It’s not a bad plot per se but it is rather dull and nothing to get excited about. If the action in the trailer was more over the top and entertaining the viewer could ignore the plot and just enjoy the chase scenes and mayhem. This approach works well in action films and is a nice bit of escapism. If a movie focuses on car chases it needs to be creative enough with the stunts and set pieces to keep the viewer entertained. This approach worked in a movie like the Death Race remake because the film always had something new to throw at the main protagonist. In Getaway it doesn’t look as if the film has enough creative ideas and diversity for the car stunts and set pieces. This means the viewer may get bored of the chase scenes after half an hour. The spectacle of seeing a car go flying through the air before crash landing is a thrill. However if that same stunt is repeated often enough it may become tedious.
So, in a nutshell this looks like a film with decent actors but a dull plot and run of the mill action scenes. Based on first impressions the film looks boring enough to cure insomnia. The trailer does not do a great job of selling the film sadly. It is possible however that the film may turn out better than it looks in the trailer so there is always hope.
The film also has two directors, Courtney Solomon and his co-director Yaron Levy who has experience with second unit work. Getaway is not connected to the videogame of the same name that was released years ago.
Getaway could draw in fans of films with car chases and big set pieces like the Fast & Furious series etc. If it can do that then it may make a modest profit upon release. It’s just a shame the trailer doesn’t do enough to entice the viewer. If the movie is as dull as the trailer makes out then it may suffer the ignominious fate of a limited cinema release and a quick dvd/blu ray one.
The film will be released on August 30th. Have a look at the trailer and try not to fall asleep.