In "Getaway," the dumbest action movie of the millennium so far, the Bulgarian cops drive on populated sidewalks, down stairways and across public parks before ramming into kiosks and other cars while chasing a fleeing custom Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake sports car driven by Ethan Hawke.
Apparently, Bulgarian authorities don't obsess over legal stuff like liability, public safety and lawsuits, as Americans do.
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, Jon Voight
Directed by: Courtney Solomon
Other: A Warner Bros. release. Rated PG-13 for language, rude gestures, violence. 90 minutes
Bulgarian motorcycle cops, not the brightest flashlights in the utility belt, pull up next to Hawke's speeding GT500, allowing Hawke to easily bump them, sending the motorcycles to the scrap yard and the riders to the morgue.
Both Bulgarian cops and villains make terrible marksmen, too. (Yes, even worse than the henchmen from a James Bond movie.)
They spray machine gun fire two feet away from Hawke's car, yet, not a single bullet hits the driver or any one of the four tires.
Hawke plays Brent Magna, a former professional race car driver who arrives at his Bulgarian home to find it in shambles with blood everywhere. His Bulgarian wife Leanne (Rebecca Budig) has been kidnapped by mysterious assailants.
Then, an unseen, mysterious assailant leader with bad teeth (later to be revealed as Angelina Jolie's Oscar-winning dad, Jon Voight) instructs Brent to steal a Super Snake from a parking garage and do several tasks or he will kill Brent's weepy wife.
First, the leader orders Brent to run his car at full speed into Bulgarian Christmas shoppers who apparently love carols such as Andy Williams' "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."
This attracts attention from the cops, who try to top John Landis' record for the highest number of squad car pileups in "The Blues Brothers."
From the get-go-go-go, "Getaway" displays a distinct disdain for deft drama.
We know nothing about Brent or Leanne before he's already in the car evading cops. We need to meet these characters and relate to them first, otherwise we're never invested in their well-being and don't care what happens to them once the feces hits the fan belt.
Screenwriters Sean Finegan and Gregg Maxwell Parker assembled "Getaway" on the premise that car chases with screeching tires and flamboyant crashes should be the real stars and the humans should be the supporting characters.
This is screechy, numbing, soulless filmmaking at its best from the director of the horror tale "An American Haunting."
Director Courtney Solomon used up to 40 cameras to capture the action, no doubt making him feel obligated to cram as many different angles into a scene as possible. (The average movie has 1,600 edits. "Getaway" boasts more than 6,000.)
The bizarre casting of Selena Gomez as a computer whiz and international banking expert who packs a semi-automatic pistol (is Bulgaria a concealed-carry country?) officially certifies "Getaway" as a whacked-out, incomprehensibly idiotic movie experience.
She pops out of nowhere on a street corner and pulls the gun on Brent. She plans to steal back the GT500 because she says she owns it. (She actually got the car from her estranged banker father and ... oh, never mind.)
"Getaway" is steeped in such stupidity that during its climactic car crash, the cops arrest the mysterious leader's goons, but pay no attention to Brent, even though he's responsible for zillions in property damage and the probable deaths of several police officers.
This movie raises many questions: Did the cops not arrest Brent because they secretly knew he was the hero? Whose blood was all over the floor at Brent's home? (Leanne only suffered a stratch on her forehead.)
And why do the bullet holes keep magically moving around on Brent's car?
Sometimes, what happens in Bulgaria should stay there.