A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Getaway is a near-nonstop car chase from beginning to end. Ethan Hawke stars as a former race car driver whose wife has been kidnapped. The villain instructs him to drive a customized sports car on a specific route, plowing through crowded pedestrian malls, eluding the cops, causing all sorts of mayhem, and destroying too many vehicles to count. Selena Gomez co-stars as an unwilling passenger who becomes his ally. There's a bit of swearing ("s--t," "ass," etc.) and some serious product placement for the Shelby Super Snake -- the muscle car that's the real star of the film -- but the real issue is the constant loud crashing and destruction.
What's the story?
Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) is a former race car driver whose skills are put to the test when his wife is kidnapped and the villain orders him to get behind the wheel of a powerful sports car and follow all instructions to the letter. The unseen kidnapper (Jon Voight) has placed cameras in the vehicle -- he can see everything Hawke does and makes sure everything follows his mysterious plan. Not even the help of an initially unwilling passenger (Selena Gomez) will disrupt this carefully choreographed night of automotive destruction, filmed on location in Sofia, Bulgaria
Is it any good?
To start, Speed did a better job making a movie about a vehicular hostage situation than GETAWAY does. It starts with a car chase, it ends with a car chase, and there's very little in between except more car chases. And car crashes. (Okay, there are also motorcycles.) It's about 90 minutes of action sequences, barely held together with a plot; don't think too hard about it, because the story doesn't hold up to even the most cursory examination. (A city downed by a power outage suddenly appears to have power, and just how much damage can that car take?) We learn almost nothing about the characters except that Brent loves his wife and wants her back. And that he's a former race car driver (with a shady past, though we don't know what that means) and is still a good driver. But that's not enough of a reason to root for him to drive his way out of trouble.
Speaking of driving -- the action sequences start out pretty gripping, but there are only so many ways to destroy a car, and we eventually see them all, usually more than once. So it doesn't take too long before they get boring. The movie ends on a note that suggests a sequel may be in the offing, but at this rate, there may not be enough gas to power that drive.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the kind of action violence shown in Getaway. What kind of impact does it have compared to what you might see in a horror movie? Is any of it meant to be realistic?
What audience do you think Getaway is intended to appeal to? How can you tell?
How far is Brent willing to go to save his wife? Where does he draw the line? What would you do? Is he a sympathetic character despite the choices he makes/actions he takes? Why or why not?
- In theaters: August 30, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: November 26, 2013
- Cast: Ethan Hawke, Jon Voight, Selena Gomez
- Director: Courtney Solomon
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Cars and Trucks
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense action, violence and mayhem throughout, some rude gestures, and language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.