Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) has retired from racing and settled into home life in Sofia, Bulgaria with his wife. It's Christmas Eve and he comes home that evening to find his house ransacked and his wife Leanne (Rebecca Budig) missing. Moments later he gets a telephone call from a man who tells him he has Leanne and that Brent must go to a parking garage where a car is waiting for him. When he gets there, he finds that it's not just any car, but a maxed out Shelby Super Snake GT-500 with cameras mounted everywhere.
He enters the vehicle and gets a call from the man telling him that if he wants to see his wife alive he must complete several tasks each within an allotted time. He is only given a few minutes to get miles away from the garage so without hesitation he speeds off evading the police with narrow misses to the place indicated on the car's guidance system.
Another assignment and Brent continues on his quest each more dangerous than the previous with mounting police chases and incredible escapes, one location picking up a young passenger (Selena Gomez). Director Courtney Solomon continues the race for life movie at an extremely fast clip creating panic, havoc and a whole lot of destruction to automobiles and public property. Solomon's cameras are mounted everywhere and every second and a half he cuts to another view of the progress Brent is making. Busting through the maze of cars, people and road blocks as per the commands of his wife's captor the viewer gets taken on a wild roller coaster ride.
The close ups become head pounding and the cutaways sometimes nauseating, but Solomon has you hooked and I found myself sucked into his high speed tale. The only respite comes with the two to three minute stops at the end of each task. It's only enough time to catch your breath before another high energy chase. Along for the ride, the kid (Gomez) starts to blend into the story and we find that she's not only a spoiled rotten teen, but also a sarcastic uncaring brat who actually owns the car in which they are riding.
Ethan Hawke does a very good job of being the ex-racer who focuses on one thing, getting his wife back alive. He wants to fly off the handle, but his antagonist brings him back to center with video reminders of his wife in peril. Hawke turns up the speed terror level showing Brent's expressions of extreme concern, fear and panic while dealing with his bothersome passenger. He's a one man show however, getting very little help from his miscast co-star.
While I do think Selena Gomez does a good job of acting in Disney movies and TV shows, she failed in Spring Breakers and her childish face and voice destroys her character in Getaway. Her attitude gets haughty and annoying showing very little panic and without being scared even with the treat of possible death coming at every turn. For me it's way out of character for a young girl in this harrowing predicament. With all the rough and tumble going on her makeup people could have at least showed a progression of hair a mess, sweat streams, bruises and clothing damage one would get through the course of the extreme action film. I'm just saying Selena fans.
The real co-star of this film is the Shelby Cobra Super Snake GT500 a car that burns up the screen with its agility, sleek lines and lion's roar. The cool kick-ass car defies you to take your eyes off the lightning fast road machine as it burns rubber throughout the ninety minute film. Combined with the amazing stunts performed by the Picerni family of father Charlie and sons Steve and Chuck the chases with many police car flips and tumbles are one of the main reasons for seeing the film. The stunt team makes it happen and keeps the excitement elevated enough to carry most of the film.
Getaway has been rated PG-13 for intense action, violence and mayhem throughout, some rude gestures, and language. Be cautious when deciding to allow anyone immature see the film as it does have some scenes that may be inappropriate children.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A high energy race for life. (C )