The Getaway 2013 (Blu-ray)
Warner Home Video / 2013 / 90 mins / PG-13
From the first few shots of The Getaway, I was instantly reminded of action-crazy films like Shoot 'em Up and Crank with the quick editing and multiple-camera car chases. However, as the film progressed, I kept thinking about those other movies and what made them so much fun. It wasn't just that they were non-stop action and chases, but that they had a gleeful spirit in how they went for over-the-top sequences. They're big, loud and goofy, but they're still a lot of fun to watch. The Getaway, on the other hand, offers little creativity. It at least tries, but there are only so many car chases you can take before you grow tired of the whole bit.
The plot is so standard for an action movie that it's only setup over a few seconds. Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) is ordered to steal a car by a mysterious man over the phone that has kidnapped his wife. The man over the phone orders him to perform certain tasks. The car is rigged with cameras and microphones so if he tries anything funny his wife is dead. Along the way he attracts a kid (Selena Gomez) who ends up helping Brent in his illegal tasks he must complete. And the rest of the movie is just running and gunning with some explosions thrown in as well.
The whole movie can be boiled down into a simple formula. Brent and the kid must complete an illegal act with the car (blowing up a power plant, driving through an ice rink), evading the cops in a car chase, bickering between the two and repeat. The car chases themselves are pretty decently shot with plenty of great angles, but they just keep going on and on for the 90 minutes this film runs. Seriously, 90% of this movie is car chases and the majority of them involve Brent just trying to escape the cops. There is hardly any character development and what little there is manages to be predictable enough to the point where you could set your watch to the pace.
To be honest, I can't really remember a single great moment from any of these chases. That's not to say that they were bad, but nothing really stood out. Maybe I've just been spoiled by movies like Death Race, but your standard evade-the-authorities car chase just doesn't do it for me as much. Once again, I'm reminded of what makes nothing-but-action movies so cool; they take risks in trying to shoot incredibly fun sequences that are exaggerated or over-the-top to the point where you're actually having fun.
The Getaway seems to think it can get away with an hour and a half of just a car swerving around police vehicles. Sure, it's cool for a while, but for a whole movie you've gotta give us something that's either unexpected or make us want to get invested in the characters. Since it doesn't offer either, there isn't much to this movie except for one excruciatingly long car chase repeated several times. And if all that wasn't enough to annoy you, the "surprise ending" is so ludicrously conceived that you'll be tearing your hair out in anger that this is what it all led up to.
Warner Brothers, despite not giving this the standard deluxe Blu-ray packaging, still turns in a solid disc. The 1080p transfer and 5.1 audio track are very well-presented with no errors, great tones (even though 80% of the car chases are at night) and a clear mix. It's not Warner Brothers' best, but it's far from their worst.
There are a handful of really quick 1 minute featurettes on the production. They mostly focus on the cameras, cars and stunts. It's pretty cool to see the behind the scenes of the action sequences, but at one minute a piece you'll hardly get much out of these.
The Getaway overstuffs so much of the same car chase into 90 minutes that it seems as if the film's true intention is to make you sick of them forever. And I don't want to hate car chases, but this movie keeps replaying the same one over and over and over. Shame on The Getaway for attempting to make one of my favorite action movie elements seem boring. Skip this and go rent a classic like Bullitt or Ronin if you want to see a perfected car chase that doesn't outstay its welcome.