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A Perfect Getaway is a Great Guilty Pleasure

A Perfect Getaway
Written and directed by David Twohy
Rogue, 2009

The writer of G.I. Jane goes up against G.I. Joe this weekend with a movie that’s a sort of not-a-horror film.  Twohy, whose biggest claim to fame may still be the screenplay for The Fugitive, but went on to write and direct Pitch Black and the sequel, Chonicles of Riddick, has always had an interesting B-movie sensibility (The little seen, but quite decent, The Arrival was, ahem, dead on arrival in the summer of 1996) and some hit and some miss, but he’ll never likely appear on anyone’s Avoid List.

A Perfect Getaway is sold as a horror movie, but there’s not much horror until the movie gets to the end of its second act.  Newlywed couple Cliff (the perpetually underused Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich) are honeymooning in Hawaii, where they run into some colorful characters, mostly also in couple form: the scary Kale (Chris Hemsworth) and Cleo (Marley Shelton), and the usual suspicious bad-guy couple Nick (the terrific Timothy Olyphant) and Gina (Kiele Sanchez, a gorgeous fresh-face who suffered Lost fans’ wrath a couple of seasons ago as Nikki…as in Paolo and Nikki, the infamous nobody-wanted-them couple who would later get buried alive).

Cliff/Cydney team up with the adventurous Nick/Gina into places of Hawaii where you need permits.  Nick has the slightest bit of an edge to him, and Gina likes making the comment, “He’s very hard to kill.”   Later Cliff and Cydney hear news that a newlywed couple in Hawaii was offed by a man-woman killing team.  When Cliff finds an area to look up the incident on the internet, a picture was snapped of the unsuspecting killers and it freaks Cliff out that the people in the picture look a little too familiar.  “That could be anybody,” Cydney remarks.

Movies often seem produced with one idea in mind and everything that leads up to that idea is a bunch of nonsense, and the hope is that people watching the movie will be so astounded by this great idea that everything leading up to it, even if it’s bad, will be worthwhile.  However, this movie is pretty tense and entertaining throughout, and once the movie gets to the point, it’s a satisfying turn of events.  I quite enjoyed it.  I especially liked the quick-wipe chase scene towards the end, something I don’t quite remember seeing before.  In any case, there are a lot of likable actors to watch in this thing and the movie should not disappoint if you’re looking for a much better alternative to G.I. Joe.

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