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Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 11/26/2013
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 11/27/2013
Only the most nearsighted of movie fans doesn't grasp the impact which video games have had on movies. For one thing, many games actually outgross movies, and thus the mere capital involved has gotten Hollywood's attention. The visuals seen in video games, especially in the cutscenes, are influenced by movies, but filmmakers have gotten some cues from the games as well. Also, as you no doubt know, many video games have been adapted into films. For example, the long-running game series Need for Speed is being turned into a movie which is coming out next year. No doubt, someone saw the game being played and thought, that would be a good basis for a movie. The makers of Getaway figured that was one step too many and said, "Hey, let's just film the game and forget about a story."
Getaway opens with Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) returning home to find his apartment ransacked and his wife, Leanne (Rebecca Budig) gone. We next see Brent stealing a car from a parking garage. Once in the car, he begins to receive instructions from an unknown Voice (Jon Voight), who orders Brent to drive recklessly through traffic and evade the police. He is told that if he doesn't comply, Leanne will be killed. While the car is stopped and Brent is awaiting further orders, a young woman (Selena Gomez) jumps in the car and, holding Brent at gunpoint, orders him to get out. Fearing for his wife's safety, Brent disarms The Kid and the Voice orders that she stay in the car. Now, Brent and this girl are driving around the city of Sofia, Bulgaria doing the bidding of a madman and putting countless people in danger. When will it all end?
Action films are often accused of being mindless, but few have been as shallow as Getaway, whose sole purpose seems to be to wreck as many police cars are possible. John Landis would blanche at the vehicular carnage on display here and even the late Hal Needham would be dumbfounded by the lack of any real motivation here. I honestly can't believe that it took two people to write this script. They've taken an idea which we've seen before -- an innocent person is forced to do something crazy due to the fact that their loved ones are in danger -- and placed all of the action inside of a car. Thus, all we get are driving scenes. That may sound cool, but trust me, it gets old very fast. Even when the story tries to involve some twists, such as how The Kid (that's not my term, that's how Gomez is listed in the credits) is linked to the car and The Voice's (again, the film's name) scheme, they fall very flat. When we learn what The Voice is doing, a collective "Oh...OK..." comes from anyone who is still watching the movie. I can only imagine that when this idea got the greenlight, the writers realized that they would then have to write an actual story to go along with it and couldn't think of anything else.
Getaway is one of those movies where something is constantly happening, but none of it is the slightest bit interesting. As noted above, the entire film is one long car chase, and after the first series of police car crashes, we are ready for something new...but we don't get it. This movie is like a Gobstopper -- it just keeps going and going and never really changes. We do get some subtle changes in scenery, but for the most part, the whole movie is a car driving around at night almost hitting other cars. If you're like me, it won't take long for you to get tired of all of the second unit shots of Brent's feet on the pedals or his hand on the gear-shift. The editor apparently fell in love with these shots and used them as much as possible.
After several years of relatively obscurity, save for Richard Linklater's Before... movies, Ethan Hawke has had a recent resurgence in his career thanks to movies like Sinister and The Purge. This stinker does nothing to help his comeback. Sure he does a great job of turning the steering wheel and yelling at the dashboard cellphone display, but that's about it. Selena Gomez is clearly trying to break away from her Disney roots with this role, and we do get some mild profanity from her...and little else. The real star of the film is the car, a Shelby Super Snake, a super-powerful Mustang. The car is certainly nice-looking, but it would have been better if we could have seen it in the daytime. Come to think of it, the car probably could have written a better script. If you've always wanted to see a movie which played like a greatest hits of movie car stunts without a story to get in the way, then Getaway is for you.
Getaway informs us that it was shot in Bulgaria and Atlanta (because those are basically the same place, right?) on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 23 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no notable grain and no defects from the source materials. As most of the movie takes place at night, we don't get a plethora of great colors here, but I can report that the image is never too dark. The level of detail is very good, as the image never goes soft, and the depth is notable. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Say what you will about the movie itself, this track will please audiophiles, as we get non-stop stereo and surround effects here. We are constantly being placed in the middle of car crashes and chases, with the audio moving smoothly from side-to-side and front-to-back. The subwoofer is also given little rest, as the roaring engines and explosions keep the bass effects coming.
The Getaway Blu-ray Disc contains a handful of extra features. "Crash Cams" (1 minute) shows how multiple cameras were used to shoot each shot and how some of them were destroyed. "Destroying a Custom Shelby" (1 minute) profiles the cars used in the film. We get an idea of how real and dangerous the car crashes in the film are in "Metal and Asphalt" (1 minute). "Selena Gomez: On Set" (1 minute) offers comments form the actress, and from her co-star as well. "The Train Station" (1 minute) examines the stunt packed scene in the train yard. All of these feel like the sort of videos which would be posted on a film's website as promotional tools.
Review Copyright 2013 by Mike Long