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Movie Review

The car didn't know any better.

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Super Snake in Getaway isn't KITT from Knight Rider. It's not Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It cannot be blamed for all the destruction and mayhem and bits of rubber it left on the streets of Sofia, Bulgaria. Sure, the Shelby may be blessed with lots of digital bells and whistles: its hands-free communication system, its bevy of cameras. But it's a smartcar in only the dumbest sense. It cannot make decisions for its drivers.

Which, the citizens of Sofia would agree, is too bad.

After all, if the car was a supercharged sentient entity, it might've taken issue with being stolen and turned into a bulletproof killing machine. It might've stopped those wrench-wielding wretches from installing voyeuristic cameras in every interior corner and exterior swoosh. "Hey, don't put that thing there!" it might've said in horn language, bonking the installer with an armrest for emphasis.

If its protestations were ineffective, the car might've sighed with world-weary exasperation when it was stolen again—this time by former race car driver Brent Magna. Of course, once it learned that Brent's wife had been kidnapped and the guy was ordered to steal it, well, the car might've expressed a bit of pity—perhaps by swishing its intermittent windshield wipers at a slow, hopefully comforting, pace.

But once Brent started careening through the streets of Sofia, smashing boxes and hitting posts, nearly running over passersby and playing serious havoc with the car's own prized gearbox, the car would've certainly put a stop to it. Brent would've never gotten far enough to pick up that sullen teen (the car's original owner who, strangely enough, was trying to repossess the car through the use of a handgun) or escaped from that explosive-laden power plant, or wrecked most of Sofia's police cruisers. No, the car—either through some sort of Asimovian rule of humanoid protection or just to preserve its exquisite paint job—would've dropped Brent off at the nearest police station, scooted over to an export business and requested a ticket to America. Once there, it'd ask Jay Leno to take it in and give it the life of pampered luxury to which it feels so boundlessly deserving.

Or, perhaps, it could get a role in the next Pixar movie. After all, it always wanted to be a movie star.

Positive Elements

It's really nice that Brent wants to save his wife. I'm sure she appreciates it, too. And while the good people of Sofia may wonder whether sending quite so many folks to the hospital or morgue was worth it, even they can appreciate the heart behind all the havoc.

The sullen teen (known only in the credits as "The Kid") is not initially thrilled at being sucked into Brent's drama. When Brent is ordered to take her along, she resists. But the two wind up making a tight little team and, when Brent lets her loose, she refuses to go—promising to stick with Brent until the messy end.

Spiritual Content

It's Christmastime when the Shelby gets taken for its little unauthorized spins, and so we see elements and icons of the Christian holiday everywhere—some of them bouncing off the Shelby as Brent crashes through a crowded part of town. During the middle of a chase, the kid offers up a prayer: "God, I promise I'll be good from now on. Please let me live."

Sexual Content

A few tight and/or short dresses, and a kiss.

Violent Content

Cars smash into things and one another with mind-numbing frequency. Experts say it cost about $18 million to make Getaway, and I expect 80% of that was spent buying disposable, crushable vehicles by the 12-pack. At least 30 cars (probably half of them police vehicles) are crashed, smashed, exploded or otherwise totaled. Several hit head-on, looking particularly casualty-provoking. One is shot with a rocket launcher. The Shelby, by the end, looks like it's gone through a war. Which, in a way, it has. Compared to Getaway, The Dukes of Hazzard looks like a driver's ed film.

Brent's wife, meanwhile, is getting thrown around by a couple of nasty thugs. They eventually smash her head into glass (which we hear shatter). Brent comes home to find puddles of blood in the living room; she's been taken to a secret locale and shoved into a creepy cell. There, bad guys yank her around and hold a gun to her head, sending the live video feed to Brent to make him more malleable in their wicked hands. At one point, Brent believes his wife may have been killed.

When Brent first gets behind the wheel, he's ordered to create as much chaos as possible, driving through crowded marketplaces, parks and eventually a skating rink. He does as he's told—honking furiously for people to dodge out of the way. He's also coerced into driving straight into a stage where someone is speaking. Brent protests that the man will surely be killed if he does, but plows into it anyway. (We don't see the fate of the speaker in the midst of the debris.)

Guards are cut down by machine gun-wielding motorcyclists. Several bikes crash into things (including an oncoming train), sending riders sliding or flying or smashing into those things. Brent is shot in the shoulder. He and the kid point guns at each other. Brent bends back her arm. And he threatens her to keep the police away. A power plant blows up. An ambulance wrecks.

Crude or Profane Language

About 30 uses of the s-word, the majority of them from the kid, who also flips somebody off. We hear "a‑‑," "d‑‑n" and "h‑‑‑." Jesus' name is abused three or four times, while God's is misused a half-dozen times.

Drug and Alcohol Content

In flashback, we see Brent's wife sip what appears to be a glass of wine. The kidnapper drinks a martini at a club.

Other Negative Elements

We learn that the kidnapper is Brent's "biggest fan," and that he's always thought Brent could reach the top of the sport if he wasn't so flaky. So he sees his carnage-minded instructions as a sort of high-stakes training session for the driver—an opportunity for him to regain lost confidence. [Spoiler Warning] Said kidnapper successfully makes off with hundreds of billions of dollars. But because the kidnapper robbed a bunch of would-be swindlers and crooks, and because he was just trying to help Brent regain his confidence, the movie half suggests that the guy's not all bad—never mind all the wrecked cars and dead bodies in the streets.


I can't stop wondering whether it's possible for a heavily armored Shelby Super Snake to drive full-throttle all night and never stop for gas. Maybe Ford is getting better at this whole Green thing than we've been told …

And that's about as deep or profound a thought as its possible to muster while watching the throwaway Getaway. This late-summer movie is notable only for Selena Gomez' disappointing turn as a foul-mouthed smart-mouth and its casual disregard for the general health and welfare of automobiles everywhere. It feels like it was made for (or by) a typical 14-year-old boy, but with language (and a moral) that many a 14-year-old's parent would be mighty uncomfortable with. As such, it seems that many families will want to, well, just get away.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes



Readability Age Range



Ethan Hawke as Brent Magna; Selena Gomez as The Kid; Jon Voight as The Voice; Rebecca Budig as Leanne; Shelby GT500 Super Snake as Itself


Courtney Solomon ( )


Warner Bros.



Record Label



In Theaters

August 30, 2013

On Video

November 26, 2013

Year Published



Paul Asay

Content Caution

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