There’s no denying that if there’s one film genre that has yet to produce a genuinely solid entry, it’s the video game movie. For some reason, filmmakers have a hard time combining the sensation of frenetic gameplay with decent storytelling (despite games now outdoing blockbuster films in exactly that regard) and instead churn out mindless unentertaining action movies as standard. Worse though, are the films that are not based on videogame properties yet still feel the need to replicate that frenetic style of gameplay. With the exception of Crank, it’s hard to think of a good one, and Getaway (comically, a warning of a title) does little to help matters.
Ethan Hawke plays the hilariously named Brent Magna, a failed racing driver whose wife is kidnapped by a mysterious villain (if you can’t identify him in about four seconds, you shouldn’t be watching films). Following an opening directly lifted from the first Max Payne video game (and subsequent movie adaptation), Magna is forced to steal a car and embark on a series of Grand Theft Auto-style driving missions over the course of a night in Bulgaria, a city presumably chosen for no other reason than it’s cheap production costs, taking a privileged teen played by Selena Gomez along for the ride.
While Crank at least had the anarchic charm of Jason Statham to shake off its misguided videogame aspirations, Getaway never even attempts to overcome them. Hawke’s performance is truly baffling, as if he knows beyond all doubt that what he’s starring in is a movie too poor even for the likes of Stephen Dorff. Gomez is laugh-out-loud comical, her character gaining skills and abilities from moment to moment at the whim of a poorly thought-out script. It’s the latest (and so far worst) in a series of roles taken on by Gomez in a juvenile attempt to prove she’s an adult, here flinging out a certain expletive in nearly every single line of dialogue and sneering through her milk teeth in a manner that only serves to generate an unintended laugh at best.
A dull, uninteresting series of car chases strung together with the flimsiest of narratives and boasting a career low performance for an actor who previously played the villain in Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, it’s doing Getaway a service it doesn’t deserve to understate it as far and away one of the worst movies of the year.
Catch Van Connor’s reviews in our Movies section and live on Slam Dunk Cinema every Saturday at 12PM on Sheffield Live! 93.2FM or on the podcast via iTunes.
Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez