When Justin Bieber’s favorite actress, Selena Gomez, survives a bad B-movie with more dignity than her costar, Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke, the end times must be near. Hawke is Brent Magna, a failed race car driver turned crook turned reformed husband who returns to his Sofia, Bulgaria, apartment to find that his wife has been kidnapped. By cell phone, a mystery man (Jon Voight) orders Magna to steal a smokin’ hot Shelby GT500 Super Snake Mustang and drive it recklessly—endangering Christmas revelers citywide—as ordered, or the wife dies. The villain has more on his mind than killing pedestrians, but since their hero is a washed-out depressive (a Hawke specialty), screenwriters Sean Finegan and Gregg Maxwell Parker provide Magna with a brainy passenger known as The Kid (Gomez, working hard) to sort things out. She’s a pain, but she has kick-ass tech skills, and is soon hacking the bad guy’s onboard computer. What’s weird is that director Courtney Solomon appears more intrigued by The Kid’s computer derring-do than he is by his core assignment: to send cars flying through the air with destructive grace. The smash-and-crash chase scenes are numbingly dull. The only mercy? Two dimensions, not three.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 28, 2013