Short Version: A Perfect Getaway isn’t perfect, but Timothy Olyphant makes it entertaining.
Screen Rant reviews A Perfect Getaway
A Perfect Getaway was written and directed by David Twohy, the gentleman who brought us the Vin Diesel vehicles Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick. Here he brings us a very different type of movie: The story of a newlywed couple on their honeymoon in Hawaii, trying to figure out if any of the couples around them are murderers.
Now I have a fairly strict “no spoiler” policy in my reviews, but there is no way to properly review this film without talking about the fact that there is a “twist” in the story. I won’t say what that twist is but there is one.
Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich) are a newlywed couple – we see a few scenes videotaped from their wedding reception of their friends wishing them well before they leave for Hawaii. They’re young and full of the promise of a life together.
They decide to take a long hike to one of the most remote and beautiful beaches in the islands. On the road to the trailhead they run into a creepy young couple (Chris “soon to be Thor” Hemsworth and Marley Shelton) who immediately sets your radar off – the guy gets offended that Cliff and Cydney (man, I hate stupidly spelled common names) hesitated at giving them a ride and they part ways. Later on our intrepid couple runs into Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and Gina (Kiele Sanchez), another young but more “wilderness ready” couple. They decide to team up and continue on together, all the while leery of the other couple they met on the road, suspecting them to be the killers of another young newlywed couple not long ago.
Of course the question is which couple are the murderers, and what happens once they are revealed.
A Perfect Getaway has two very different parts – the lead up to the discovery and what comes after. Up until the reveal, while the film has plenty of moments of tension it’s actually quite funny. Olyphant (from Hitman) steals the show as far as I’m concerned – he was very charming and funny, moreso to movie fans I think because much of the humor between him and Zahn (who plays a budding screenwriter) was sort of winking at the audience. In one scene shortly after Olyphant appears in the film and we don’t know if he might be one of the killers, he mentions to Zahn the introduction of a “red snapper” (actually red herring) into a film to throw off the audience. There are more of these types of little jokes as well as others, and to me they were a pleasant surprise. Some say there were overused, but I got a kick out of them.
What wasn’t a surprise was the result of the twist, and frankly I found it quite improbable based on what had come before. I would have preferred a more conventional non-Shyamalan attempt at making the story “different.”
From the point of the reveal the film shifts gears big time into a non-stop cat and mouse game with plenty of edge of your seat moments, violence and some pretty realistic (but not overly done) gore. So while very different, what came before and after the big reveal was pretty entertaining (although I actually enjoyed the first half of the film more) – but the nature of the twist just seemed contrived.
Overall I thought it was pretty good – I particularly enjoyed Olyphant, Milla Jovovich looked attractive as ever and acted well, Zahn is always fun to watch and Kiele Sanchez was gorgeous (the scene in which she first appears is quite… distracting). And for the Chris Hemsworth as Thor doubters, his appearance in A Perfect Getaway might go a ways towards convincing you he might be able to pull it off with about another 20 pounds of muscle on him.