MOVIE REVIEW | ***REMAKE WEEK*** The Getaway (1994)

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“Don’t think too badly about your wife, Doc. After all, you were locked up in prison. She is a stunningly, healthy young woman.”

I don’t have a problem with the concept of remakes.  Sure, very few improve on their originals.  But when you get something as fun and cool as Ocean’s Eleven, or bat shit bananas as Scarface, or just balls out badass like Dawn of the Dead, remakes seem like a no brainer.


Good remakes use technological advances, or cultural changes to tell a story better than the first time around. Or at the very least, tell it differently.  The problem, and the reason why remakes are seen as generally bad, is that the vast majority don’t tell a story better or differently, they just tell it again.  It’s that kind of pointless remake that I got with The Getaway.

In an elaborate job to spring a Mexican drug lord from a heavily guarded prison transport, we meet Doc (Alec Baldwin), his wife Carol (Kim Basinger) and their shady accomplice, Rudy (Michael Madsen).  Intricately planned to almost perfection by Doc, things go surprisingly smoothly, until they don’t and Doc is the only one to be caught.

Desperate to get him out of prison, Carol convinces crime lord Jack Benyon (James Woods) that Doc is the only man capable of pulling off dog track robbery Benyon has been planning.  That convincing, along with a bit of the old rumpy pumpy with Carol, is enough for Benyon to pull the strings that lead to Doc’s release.

So now, the fairly recent history repeats itself as Doc, Carol and Rudy, along with a super young Philip Seymour Hoffman as Frank, embark on another obsessively intricate heist planned by Doc is pulled.  This time, Rudy tries to double cross Doc and Carol, and is repaid with a few bullets that Doc mistakenly thinks killed him.  Now Doc and Carol are on the run with $300,000 they were supposed to split with Benyon, Rudy hot on their tail (with Jennifer Tilly in tow as a bored and horny housewife) and marital troubles on top of all the other drama.

I didn’t love the original version of The Getaway, but I liked it fine enough.  It knew it was cheap, brain dead entertainment, and it never tried to pretend it was any more than that.  The 1994 version makes the mistake of trying to tell a bigger story and flesh out the characters more so we understand what has made them the way they are, what motivates them to do these things.  The only problem is, I don’t give a shit about who they are or their motivations.  Just give me guns, car chases and fist fights.

The Getaway 1994 doesn’t do anything to differentiate itself from the McQueen version of the 70s.  There’s no technology or special effects to make it look any bigger or better.  At most, it adds on a little extra violence and finds excuses for Basinger to get her boobs out a couple of times.  Obviously that’s not a bad thing, just not enough to justify making this movie.

The Getaway
Directed By – Roger Donaldson
Written By – Walter Hill, Amy Holden Jones

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