On Christmas, Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) comes home to see his tree toppled over, ornaments smashed and his wife gone. An anonymous phone caller tells him he is to steal a car and do exactly as told if he wishes to see her alive again.
Along the way Selena Gomez hitches a ride.
The clock is ticking. The race is on. Every now and then one of them will leave the car. Then this happens…
So best to strap in and put the pedal to metal. Here are five things to know before ya get away:
1. A Sweet Ride. If you're going to watch a movie about a guy in a car 95 percent of the time, this is the way to go: a custom Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake. (The most tricked out Mustang ever.) In reality, the production used seven such muscle cars, with 130 other vehicles, including police cars, motorcycles and trucks to avoid or crash into. On location in Sofia, Bulgaria (where the story also takes place) the speed usually clocked in around 70 mph but made to look twice that. The car was wired with cameras everywhere, which allows multiple POVs.
2. Hawke's Need for Speed. Sinister and The Purge were surprise hits with Hawke at the center playing men so morally bankrupt he was more anti-hero. As Brent Magna he's less shady, more direct. Like Liam Neeson in Taken, Brent is on a single-track
daughter wife-rescuing mission using his unusual skill set to his advantage: he's a former professional racer car driver. Who can't relate to that?
When Selena Gomez ("the kid") joins the carpool and starts berating him, she comes off much less sympathetically though…
3. Ready to Come and Get Her Ride. (Na Na Na): As the daughter of an unseen CEO hedge-fund banker, Gomez makes her entrance pointing a gun at Hawke. Turns out the Shelby was a birthday gift from dear old dad. Imagine a high school version of Fast & Furious‘ Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), but more grating. She's also a brainy hacker behind the wheel of her iPad. (Of course, she is!) Still, Gomez and Hawke make for an entertaining pair. (He drives while she places drop pins all over Bulgaria!) When focused on Team Gohawke, the pic moves.
4. Your Mission if You Choose to Accept it: Hit Everything! An "unknown caller" (Jon Voight with a heavy German accent) instructs Brent to slide into a roller rink, smash a water bottle truck, and...you get it. Surely this will be great fun in the upcoming GTA V videogame, but in Getaway director Courtney Solomon (An American Haunting) plays every smash, every explosion too seriously, leaving little room to laugh or even eye roll. Too many set pieces rely on close-ups when wide shots would have made more sense.
5. ‘tis the Season… John McClane got these high concept (Die Hard: all in one building!) movies rolling. Why oh why are they usually set around Xmas? Probably because those nefarious Grinches (Alan Rickman, now Jon Voight) have nothing but coal in their stockings.