Share This Page

'Getaway' finishes summer season with whimper

| Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

And thus does a summer that started with a silly car-chase picture end with a sillier one.

“Getaway” has some of the elements of a good gear grinder — a B-movie where a car takes a pivotal role in the cast.

It's got Ethan Hawke, doing enough of his own driving to pass muster with the likes of Ryan Gosling (“Drive”), Dax Shepard (“Hit and Run”) or Paul Walker (“Fast & Furious”).

It's got a cool car — a Shelby Super Snake version of the Ford Mustang.

It has an unusual city setting — Sofia, Bulgaria.

And then Selena Gomez shows up as the mouthy, tech-savvy sidekick dragged along for a long, Christmas-season chase through the not-quite-generic (tramlines, train tracks) mean streets of Sofia.

That's where the silly kicks in. Things turn pulse-pounding in the third act, but that's entirely too late to rescue this end-of-summer orphan.

The improbable set-up: Disgraced racing driver Brent Magna's Bulgarian wife (Rebecca Budig) has been kidnapped. He gets a call and is told to steal a particular armored, camera-packed Mustang that he will drive on a series of “tasks.”

The villain, whose chin stubble and martini-slurping lips are all we see, is played by Jon Voight with a German accent.

A guy whose wife has been kidnapped and threatened with death should be a lot more worked up and manic than Hawke plays this fellow.

And one would think that a young woman snatched for a ride-along would be freaking at this or that hair-raising chase, the streets filling with wrecked Bulgarian cop cars, the machine-gunning motorcyclists and what not.

The leads don't turn up the requisite adrenalin-jacked pitch of their voices or their acting. They're really in that car, but they're entirely too calm about all this mayhem.

Director Courtney Solomon (“An American Haunting”) is plainly out of his depth, and when the always reliable Hawke plays a character in the wrong key, that points to a director who doesn't have the stature or standing to “direct” him.

Roger Moore is a film critic for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.