A good car chase can help make a movie. The Rock, Ronin, and The Matrix Reloaded were all made less-forgettable by solid car chase sequences.

Getaway, the latest from director Courtney Solomon (An American Haunting), is one long car chase, but unfortunately the rest of the movie is such a wreck that it becomes unwatchable, no matter the on-street drama. It’s full of egregious plot holes, characters who you quickly come to realize aren’t worth your time, and it’s frankly just an absurd story.

The setup, in all fairness, is actually pretty decent. A former race car driver named Brent (Ethan Hawke) returns home one day to find his place a shambles and his wife missing. A mysterious voice on the phone informs him that if he ever wants to see his wife alive again, he needs to complete a series of tasks, most of which involve driving recklessly in a souped-up Ford Shelby Cobra around Sofia, Bulgaria. Okay, cool. This could work.

But the tasks quickly become idiotic (“Crash into that water truck!”, “Drive onto that ice rink!”), and all you’re left with is the (futile, it turns out) hope that everything will pay off in the end. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Early on, Brent is carjacked by a gun-wielding American teenager (Selena Gomez), whose car it turns out to be. She starts out snotty, turns belligerent, and by the end, she (of course) comes around and tries to help Brent finish his mission, because, naturally, she has the exact skill set required for the job.

Without going into too much detail, Getaway is an abject disaster. The car chases quickly become tiresome, the characters (all two of them– not counting the disembodied phone voice) are terribly unlikable and unsympathetic, and the multitude of problems with the story line will have you wanting your money back not even a half-hour in.

Take, for example, the part where Brent and the teenager (she goes unnamed throughout) are told to blow up the city’s main power plant. They do, but oddly enough every single streetlight and business is still lit up like a Christmas tree. Or how about when you learn that the voice-guy is a bit of a tech genius, hacking into police servers and transportation grids, and then you realize that he himself could have done everything he’s asking Brent to do… only a lot more quickly, quietly– without drawing the attention of the entire city’s law enforcement community.

Those issues are honestly just the tip of the iceberg. I’ll keep the idiotic all-important pay-off a secret, just in case you have ten bucks that you’ve just been dying to throw in the trash.

1/5 stars