'Getaway': car-chase thriller can't outrun dreadful reviews

After starring in one of the year's best-reviewed films -- "Before Midnight"  -- Ethan Hawke now has the dubious distinction of starring in one of the worst as well: "Getaway." Whereas "Midnight" notched a "98% fresh" rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Hawke's latest movie, a car-chase thriller co-starring Selena Gomez, had a 1% rating as of Friday morning, which means that basically everyone hated it.

In The Times, Sheri Linden called "Getaway" a "video game posing as a movie, a preposterously plotted kidnapping story starring a high-performance Mustang." Regarding the action, Linden wrote, "The ludicrous pileup of crushed chassis, mostly from cop cars sent colliding, flying, rolling and burning, grows quickly numbing."


As far as the acting, "Gomez occupies a register consisting of one note, and it's not a convincing one. Hawke has considerably more range, although when worry crosses his face, you suspect he's thinking about the script." That script, by Sean Finegan and Gregg Maxwell Parker, "has all the gleam and precision of a rusty butter knife."

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune found the movie "terrible but, in its squealing way, sporadically fun-terrible." The action "is hacked up into messily edited bits," with one exception — an effective extended POV shot toward the end of the film. "The rest of 'Getaway,' which many in the audience seemed to genuinely hate based on comments on the way out, is so mechanical and derivative, not even the abducted-spouse routine can stoke the audience's rooting interests."

The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore said Hawke and Gomez "have no chemistry, which you'd think might hobble a film in which they're locked in a car together for around 70 minutes. But 'Getaway' seems built for non-English speaking territories in which dialog is as disposable as Bulgarian police cars." (The film was shot in that country's capital.) "If only those audiences were as dumb as the action itself."

USA Today's Scott Bowles called "Getaway" a "90-minute migraine that wants to cross-pollinate 'Fast & Furious' with 'Taken.' Instead, it manages to be just a shadow of both." Bowles added, "The true wonder of 'Getaway' is how it managed to lure recognizable stars, including an Oscar nominee [Hawke], an Academy Award winner in [Jon] Voight (or his lower lip, which gets most of the screen time) and a tweener sensation in Gomez. … Whatever the reason, moviegoers will benefit from heeding this title's advice to get away."

The Wrap's Todd Gilchrist declared the film "an endless, noisy montage of chases and collisions stitched together by perfunctory exposition whose most interesting character is quite literally a disembodied voice." He added, "the film's one unique achievement is in avoiding any similarities to either Sam Peckinpah or Roger Donaldson's adaptation of Jim Thompson's novel '[The] Getaway,' and yet managing to be even more derivative than if it were a third one."

The Associated Press's Jake Coyle also found "Getaway" over-familiar. He wrote, "Cribbing from countless adrenaline-fueled concept films, from 'Speed' to any Jason Statham movie you like, 'Getaway' … tries to ride its thin concept, hoping the fumes of constant engine revving are intoxicating." Alas, it does not succeed: "Its chief tension derives from the question many moviegoers will ask, biting their nails: Is this the worst movie I've seen this year?"