Friday, September 12, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Ethan Hawke's Getaway

"I hope you freaking love car chases."

Ethan Hawke has been acting for nearly thirty years now, accumulating a massive filmography of virtually every genre in that time. He's kind of become the king of “Hey! It's That Guy” roles as he's not the flashiest actor but is among the most consistent as he always gives a solid performance. He has starred in many great films, including Ghoul favourite Gattaca, Before Sunrise, and the criminally underrated Lord Of War.

Naturally though, we're not here to talk about any of these. Last year he starred in today's film Getaway, which scored a whopping TWO PERCENT on Rotten Tomatoes. TWO PERCENT. To put that accomplishment in perspective, critically reviled films like Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen somehow managed to scrape a nineteen percent, while the worst film of the 2000s, Battlefield Earth, nailed a three percent. Hell, even the legendary terrible Rob Reiner film North got a fifteen percent rating.

How did Getaway become one of the worst reviewed films of all time? That's what we're here to find out, so take a seat in a pimped out Shelby GT and get ready for A Ghoul Versus Ethan Hawke's Getaway!

Our film opens with a man named Brent entering an apartment looking for a woman named Leanne, concerned when he finds it wrecked. Either she got abducted or she's a huge fan of famed television show Decorate Your Home The Courtney Love Way. This is all cut with black and white flashback footage of Leanne wrapping Christmas presents and looking so happy that you just KNOW something bad is about to happen to her.

And there it is! Some guy enters the room and starts throwing her around while she helplessly screams. Oh, this is going to be a fun one. I can tell already. Brent gets a call on his cell phone as the scene shifts to a Car Porn shot of a Shelby GT500 Super Snake while we hear some guy getting beat up in the background. The camera never moves from the beautiful car as we hear someone hop into the car and fire up the engine.

In some of the most chaotic and frantic editing I've ever seen, the car takes off while we get like a million different angles of it racing through a parking garage. I seriously think there's a camera strapped to every five inches of the car at this point.

The movie finally deigns to show us the driver is Brent, who is finally revealed as Ethan Hawke. As he exits the parking ramp and gets into a chase scene with the police, we get a black and white flashback of his phone call. Does this mean in a few minutes we'll get black and white flashback footage of the car chase?

A man with a vaguely foreign accent tells him his wife has been TAKEN, which is stupid because that's only gonna piss off Liam Neeson more- wait, what movie is this? Evil Foreigner orders Brent to the parking garage to steal the Shelby, and SURE ENOUGH we see Brent stealing the car again in black and white. At this rate, we're going to see flashback scenes BEFORE they freaking happen.

Evil Foreigner informs Brent there are cameras installed all over the car (told you), so he'll be watching everything he does. He wants Brent to head to the top of the city and await further instructions as we see ANOTHER flashback of Brent as a race car driver getting into a massive wreck. We learn he has a fear of driving that he'll have to overcome if he wants to save his wife.

The movie returns to present day I THINK- no, it's in colour so it has to be the present. Brent continues the car chase with the police, and I am already EXHAUSTED by the rapid cuts going on in this thing. Seriously, my eyes are hurting watching this. If I go into a seizure because of this thing, well, remember me as a petty nitpicker.  The chase drags on into a spillway because OF COURSE IT DOES. Naturally, this gives Brent enough power ups to dispatch all the police cars and escape back onto the road as the opening credits begin to roll. Brent drives to the top of the city where he gets another phone call, learning he'll have to do several tasks for Evil Foreigner or Leanne will die.

The movie shifts to an old factory somewhere as we see a bunch of Evil Leather Wearing Men roughly escorting Leanne down a dark hallway. A title card also informs us this movie takes place in Sofia, Bulgaria because I know you were just dying to know that. They throw her into a cell and lock her in while she screams, because apparently that's her entire role in this movie.

Brent, just aimlessly driving around waiting for his first task, finally gets a call from Evil Foreigner who is credited as The Voice in the subtitles. The Voice orders him to drive through a market and smash into everything he can, because he must be a twelve year old boy on the other end of the microphone. Brent drives through a bunch of Christmas displays and my patience with this movie is almost gone already.

The Voice continues his idiotic game of Simon Says by making Brent smash into all kinds of other stuff, all accompanied by around 3.4 million jump cuts. This nonsense finally ends when he has Brent pull into a construction site to take a break, where Brent begins to have COLOUR flashbacks of his wife now. Why are they in colour now? Does it EVEN matter?

Brent is awoken from his daze by a hooded car jacker, who just happens to be one Miss Selena Gomez. She pulls a gun on him and demands he get out of the car, which the Voice strongly advises against. Brent and Selena argue over whose car it is for seemingly an hour until the Voice demands he take off with her in the car. Brent does just that, taking a brief moment to easily disarm her.

They then argue over her putting on a seat belt for another hour, the Voice getting fed up with this bullshit like the rest of us so he tells Brent to kill her. When the movie has you siding with the villain, well, you're doing it wrong Courtney Solomon. Brent says he can't do that, but the Voice says it's either Selena or his wife. Brent raises the gun but then stops at the last second, the Voice telling him he made the right choice because he'll need her later.

Uh, what? The Voice has CLEARLY established the entire movie that if Brent doesn't follow his orders to the letter that Leanne will die, but now he's AGREEING with Brent for disobeying him? So long Voice, you're entire character (or lack thereof) is now completely null and void! This is going to be a LONG movie.

Just to prove that, here's another police chase. It's made EXCRUCIATINGLY painful as Selena narrates it with “stop the car!”, “please slow down!”, “shit!”, and “oh my God!” every few seconds. I'll give her one thing, she now has me rooting for Brent to emerge victorious against the cops so she'll be quiet. They get away pretty quickly, Selena revealing the Shelby used to be HER car.

Alright, unless she's actually Selena Gomez PLAYING HERSELF, how in the hell would a teenager afford a car like this? I did some research, the factory level version of the car would set you back a cool $29,000 dollars! Through conversation, we learn Selena got a call from the Voice telling her where to find her car but this makes the previous scene even stupider. Obviously, the Voice didn't think Brent would actually kill Selena but what if he had? Where's the Voice's master plan sitting at then?

The film briefly tries to get any semblance of a story going by having Brent and Selena talk about Brent's plight, but fuck that, there's a third... or maybe thirteen... police chase to deal with! To add insult to injury, the Voice informs Brent he has to escape them in less than four minutes or Leanne dies. That's ALSO going to get old fast.

“Brent, you have to cause a bus to flip over or-”
“Yeah yeah yeah, dead wife. GOT IT.”

This is a four minute chase scene, give or take about four seconds. I'm going to count how many cuts there are in it, just to illustrate how schizophrenic this movie's editing is. The chase is just more of the same with Selena adding her annoying ass commentary, lather, rinse, repeat. What's the final tally? TWO HUNDRED FIFTY-EIGHT CUTS, and I'm pretty sure I missed several because of the machine gun pace, but no way in hell am I going to risk a stroke by rewatching that again.

What does that all mean, exactly? In today's Hollywood, the average cut between a scene is three seconds, as in every three seconds the movie shifts to a different angle or perspective. It's horribly annoying and really just plays to the ADHD nature of most audiences cultivated on modern blockbusters and their spastic editing, thank you very much Michael Bay. In a NORMAL movie a four minute scene should contain 80 cuts, but Getaway more than TRIPLED that in this one scene alone. Not only does that wreak havoc on your eyeballs trying to follow the insanity, but it overloads your brain trying to process what it's seeing. This is the kind of footage they show to people tied to chairs in a dark room to begin brainwashing them.

Hell, I can't even remember what was going on now. Oh yeah, absolutely nothing. Brent and Selena (whom is credited as The Kid because this movie is as creative with names as it is everything else) get away and Leanne lives for another scene. Selena argues with Brent some more about how stupid he is and how much she hates him because he's a big dumb meanie head as I check the run time on this thing so far. Bloody hell, there's an HOUR left to go.

This goes on for an eternity until Selena finally pulls out an iPad and starts babbling in technospeak because not only is she crazy rich, she's also a master hacker. She finds out the cameras on the car as all linked to a single feed being hosted on a government server, because that's TOTALLY something an iPad could easily figure out with a few finger swipes. She also finds some of the cameras are fixated on a parking garage, Brent wondering if that's where the Voice is hiding but she says he wouldn't be that easy to find.

More cops start following our leads and the Voice calls again, instructing Brent to head to a nearby power plant. He tells Selena to check under her sun visor, where she finds a hard drive that the Voice wants inserted into the plant's computer systems. The police are an afterthought as the film realizes we've endured like five chase scenes in less than half an hour, Brent and Selena making their way to the plant.

In another effort to make this seem like an actual movie, Brent briefly catches up Selena on his past so maybe we'll give the slightest iota of a damn about him. After his racing career ended he started taking shady jobs that ended up with him deep in debt to bad people, but stopped doing it for the love of his wife. We even get the obligatory scene where he shows Selena a photo of his Leanne where he remarks how beautiful she is. This is where Selena is supposed to soften her feelings towards Brent and become likeable herself, but character growth isn't the director's strong suit so she doesn't pull this off too well. Selena also quickly gets her back story in, she's the neglected daughter of a rich banker who bought her the car. To say both of these characters are vacant and monotone would be an understatement.

They approach the plant, finding it oddly deserted. Selena goes inside to plant the drive, Brent staying in the car because he's heroic like that. Selena attempts to call the police to get help for Brent, but only gets the Voice who laughs at her. He suggests she start running, as the power plant begins to blow up. She makes it to the car in time, Brent barely able to out drive the explosion before it takes them out. Darn.

This draws the police ONE MORE TIME, so it's onto Car Chase #315. Jesus, I've played video games less repetitive than this movie. Blah blah blah, they get away, Selena finally has enough of this bullshit and walks away. Oh, how I wish I could join her. The Voice calls, ordering Brent to get her back. Brent tells him to fuck off, but the Voice shows him some footage of his wife crying to sway his decision. But before Brent can even start looking for Selena, she shows up and gets back in the car. GRIPPING!

We next cut to an ultra important scene of Leanne sitting around crying some more, instead of, y'know, trying to find a way to escape. That accomplished a lot. The Voice tells Brent the next assignment will be his last, having him head to a bank that just happens to be ran by Selena's dad. OH NOES! Selena wonders what the point of any of this is, and for a second I thought her meant the movie but it turns out she meant the bank. Her father's bank is an investment bank so it doesn't have any money in it, so the Voice must be up to something a lot grander than bank robbery.

I'm just going to skip over the next car chase because you KNEW it was coming. Fortunately this boring chase kicks Selena's brain into overdrive, as she figures out the Voice wants to hack into the accounts with illegal funds and siphon them. Or something. I'm honestly not paying the closest attention to this RIVETING reveal.

To the film's credit, it does try to tie everything together as blowing up the power plant will weaken the bank's security systems to make them easier to hack. Selena doesn't trust the Voice though, telling Brent she believes they're going to be the decoys for the actual hack. But then she remembers in the case of a power outage the bank moves the servers to a secure location and can we make this plot even more convoluted movie?! Fuckin' A, we're a little over the halfway point and I'm just shouting abuse at the screen right now.

They scope out the bank, finding it infested with cops. Selena points out a nearby parking garage, betting it's the same one she found during her camera hack earlier. We see a large armoured van inside the garage getting loaded up with the bank's servers suddenly get attacked by four men on motorcycles, who shoot the guards dead. Before they can grab the servers Brent and Selena show up and run into them, jacking the drives themselves.

They take off with the motorcycles in pursuit, which was SO shocking as I didn't know it was possible for this movie to have a chase scene that didn't involve police cars. The Voice calls up and he is PISSED, but Selena calls him an asshole and hangs up on him. Brent takes way longer than he should getting away from the bikers as he should easily just smash into all of them, but whatever, I'll take anything that doesn't involve a cop car right now.

And just like that, Brent runs into the entire fucking police department of Sofia. FUCK! Luckily for all of us, Brent bluffs he's holding Selena hostage and threatens to shoot her unless they let him go, which oddly enough, they do. Does Bulgaria not have officers trained in the fine art of sniping? I'm not complaining, mind you, just found that really odd.

They drive off, Brent stopping the car and telling Selena to get out as he can't risk her life anymore. But surprise of surprises, she refuses because she's now invested in nearly dying in a horrific car crash every five minutes. Seriously, who wouldn't at this point? She points out that Brent doesn't even know her name, but before anything comes of this another armed biker show up to spoil the epic reveal. A biker with infinite ammo apparently, because he fires at least a hundred rounds at the Shelby without having to reload. Once again Brent struggles to take him out, finally doing so in a grand over-the-top explosion. Yawn.

Selena crafts another plan, to meet with the Voice and exchange the drive for Leanne, only with the added twist she'll hack into the cameras and broadcast the whole thing to the cops. They agree to meet at an aircraft hangar where Brent works, the Voice sending his goon squad to make the trade, ordering them around via earpiece from one of the vehicles.

The trade goes exactly as you'd expect: after the exchange the Voice orders his men to kill everyone. The cops, alerted by Selena's feed show up to save the day, so the goons settle for kidnapping her and taking off in the Voice's SUV. Brent, who's spent the entire movie trying to get his wife back, just casually leaves her with the police and takes off in pursuit. Oh, and the cops JUST LET HIM AGO. Now, this might just be a cultural thing, but SHOULDN'T HE BE UNDER ARREST AT THIS POINT?! Are the police in Romania really that chill and understanding? “Oh sure, you've injured dozens of people, probably killed a few, caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage, but nah it's cool. You had to rescue your wife!”. Or maybe they just didn't want to get involved in this clusterfuck of a story, I can relate to that.

So yeah, chase scene number... I've lost count, let's just go with infinity, follows. First Brent has to deal with two other cars of goons until he's cleared for the final boss battle. And how do they portray the final chase scene, after almost an hour of nothing but insanely fast rapid cuts? One LONG continuous take from Brent's point of view that feels so out of place I had to make sure I wasn't playing Gran Turismo. Honestly, I don't think we're watching a movie so much as we're watching an editor's audition reel.

The chase finally ends up in a park, the Voice throwing Selena out of his SUV and into Brent's way. Brent swerves to avoid her and crashes in spectacular fashion. Hopefully James Bond from Casino Royale got a dope royalty check for that. Oh, that totally worked out in Brent's favour because he somehow managed to crash into the Voice and stop him. Um yeah, I'm not even going to question that one.

The cops magically show up, despite being NOWHERE near these guys at any point the last few minutes. They arrest the Voice and not Brent, who is reunited with his wife that they thoughtfully brought along. Wow, Bulgarian cops are the nicest people in the world! As our happy trio reunites over hugs and corny jokes, Leanne's phone starts ringing. This is news to her as her doesn't have a phone but finds a mysterious one in her pocket.

Brent answers it, and it's THE VOICE! OH SNAP! The camera quickly cuts to the man the police are arresting, who is not the Voice. See, the movie was doing this Inspector Gadget thing the entire time where they only showed the back of his head and never his face because the actor behind the Voice (Jon Voight) was likely too embarrassed to be seen in this piece of rubbish.  But he's totes okay with being seen in TransformersWhat does the Voice have to say after all of this? Who was he in relation to Brent that he put him (and us) through this living hell? I'll let him tell you himself:

“Aren't you going to thank me? I did for you what you could never do for yourself, I showed you what you are made of. Please excuse me if I wasn't able to be there in person. I'm sure you understand, under the circumstances, it would have been most inconvenient for me.

“If you're asking yourself who I am to you I will answer very simply: I am your greatest fan. I always thought you could have been at the top of your profession if only you believed you could. So that's it, you see. Please send your lovely wife my best wishes for a happy Christmas, I'm sincerely glad you worked things out to be with her for the holidays.

“It's the season to be together with loved ones, so I'm told. I have very few loved ones. My consolation is I have a lot of money. And now, quite a lot more of it, thanks to you. I doubt if our paths will cross again, but then, life is full of surprises. So let's just say au revoir. Be assured, it's been most entertaining.”

The film cuts to halfway across the world where he see the Voice at a ritzy club admiring his new account balance of nearly three billion dollars before closing his laptop. He gets up to leave, the camera briefly able to capture his face and shame Jon Voight to the world.

Cue the credits, set to “Jingle Bell Rock” because why not?

I like how the movie tried to get me riled up with that bullshit ending, it was a really good try but after an hour and a half of endless car chases with Selena Gomez screaming “Shit!”, “Look out!”, and “Oh no!”, I AIN'T FREAKING BITING. You can't make me care after that.

To be as blunt as possible, HOLY SHIT THIS MOVIE SUCKED! How did this even get a two percent rating?! I'm thinking the positive reviews it got were from the film makers writing under pseudonyms “Who was behind this glorified car commercial?”, you ask so you know never to watch any of their other films.

The writers of this “story”, Gregg Maxwell Parker and Sean Finegan, have no other movies credited to their names and hopefully never do until they successfully pass Screenwriting 101. The director, Courtney Solomon, is rather infamous as he was the man behind the shockingly so bad it's good film Dungeons And Dragons, which I SWEAR I'll be reviewing soon. We'll be getting into him in greater depth when I get to that movie, but it's pretty clear he has NO business behind a camera at this point.  In addition to the horrid film techniques, he wasn't even INTERESTED in trying to get his actors to, y'know, ACT.

I can only assume Ethan Hawke signed onto this because he wanted to have fun driving a bad ass car, and really who can blame him for that? The car was the true star of this film and damn if it didn't impress with all its sexy beauty shots.

The real loser in all this is Selena Gomez, as her post-Disney career is off to an atrocious start. Between this, the wretched Spring Breakers and the recently released Behaving Badly (which is getting ravaged by critics so expect a full review soon!), it's painfully obvious this young woman cannot pick a good script to save her life. At this point she's going to be relegated to her very successful multi-million dollar musical career which- hmmm. Never mind, she's doing fine.

All in all, this was one of the worst movies I've reviewed on this site to date. Avoid this at all costs.