Then arrives Getaway, which put the brakes on Hawke’s streak. The film goes nowhere, despite centering on a man and a car on a fast and furious mission.
As a former NASCAR driver, Hawke’s character is tasked with playing a “game.” His wife (soap actress Rebecca Budig) has been kidnapped, and if he wants to see her alive again, he must do exactly what the sinister voice on the line’s other end (Jon Voight, TV’s Ray Donovan) demands, innocent Bulgarian lives be damned!
We have no doubt Hawke’s hero will comply, because:
1. His wife is hot, bro!
2. He has hand tats, bro!
3. His name is Magma, bro!
In these cat-and-mouse exercises — of which there are many, with The Call being among the more notable recent entries — the audience appeal is practically built-in. Getaway should be a no-brainer, but the flick has no brain (and yes, there’s a difference). If it did, director Courtney Solomon (Dungeons & Dragons) and/or neophyte scribes Sean Finegan and Gregg Maxwell Parker would have realized the addition of a sidekick for Magma is wholly unnecessary. Add to that the fact that said sidekick is a young thief played by, of all people, teen princess Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers), and you’ve witnessed a master stroke of miscasting.
Even fans of cinematic car chases will be bored numb by the unimaginatively staged scenes of Magma whipping his armored Shelby Cobra this way and that, which is to say most of its 90 agonizing minutes. Getaway is one of 2013’s worst — seriously, get away.
Choose Fast & Furious 6 instead, as if you needed to be told. It’s far superior, but not without its own troubles. Its surefire pre-Christmas release on Blu-ray is dampened by the death of star Paul Walker over Thanksgiving weekend. Let’s acknowledge that loss, express condolences and focus on the film.
Right down to the dramatic shot of the cast members walking in a single row toward the camera, the title sequence for Fast & Furious 6 feels every bit like that of a TV series. It’s only natural, given how episodic this entry is — all it lacks is the “Special Guest Star” credit. (But on that note, don’t click the “eject” button as soon as it ends.)
Against all expectations, 2011’s Fast Five was a blast; turning the wheel sharply away from gearhead porn to head into heist-fueled high jinks proved a creative, critical and commercial success, so who can blame returning director Justin Lin for dishing out more of the same? Not I, but he adds so much more that the result is a mess — a temperately enjoyable one, but a mess all the same.
With the promise of full pardons, the team headed by Toretto (Vin Diesel) and O’Conner (Walker) is called back into action by federal agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and his new partner (Gina Carano, Haywire) to stop a madman (Luke Evans, Immortals) from assembling some billion-dollar super-weapon. On that baddie’s team is Letty (Michelle Rodriguez, Haywire), Toretto’s girlfriend presumed to have died in the fourth chapter.
None of that matters; it’s all fuel to get to the mammoth action scenes. But with half a dozen more major characters on top of that, Lin piles subplots atop subplots, to the point where some pieces are moved across the board not for strategic purposes, but stalling.
In big-and-dumb films such as F&F6, I’m willing to play along with extending a metaphorical finger to the laws of gravity … provided I can tell what’s going on. This time, overly frenzied editing and spatial disorientation make that problematic. Still, there’s no denying the fun on display, and the end-credit kick that’ll have viewers ecstatic to see the upcoming seventh chapter. —Rod Lott
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