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Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and Gina (Kiele Sanchez) observe their surroundings in a paradise that becomes hell on earth as a brutal battle for survival begins in A Perfect Getaway.

Photo Credit: Javier Pesquera //Copyright: © 2009 Rogue Pictures. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

3 out of 4 stars

Country
USA
Language
English

A Perfect Getaway

  • Written and directed by David Twohy
  • Starring Steve Zahn, Timothy Olyphant, Milla Jovovich and Kiele Sanchez
  • Classification: 14A

Newlyweds Cliff and Cydney are excited to be in Hawaii. He's a screenwriter without a credit. She's a rich girl without a clue. And they're looking for a honeymoon adventure to fuel an interesting marriage. To that end, they're going to backpack around one of Hawaii's most rugged islands, climbing slippery cliffs and scooting, doused in insect repellent, through heavy jungle.

But it's not like they're going native. Cliff still has his mobile phone, which comes in handy when they're followed by a menacing couple. This, after Cliff learns another pair of honeymooners has been murdered on the island.

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It gets worse: While trying to stay ahead of Strange Couple A, Cliff and Cydney encounter Strange Couple B - Nick, a special-ops nut who has just rotated out of Iraq, and his southern-fried girlfriend, Gina.

Nick has a full-time Charles Manson gleam in his eye. And Gina fillets and fries a goat for supper, happily yakking away the whole time.

Every so often, Cliff slips away to Google who the Hawaii-honeymoon killers might be. Authorities have a picture of the suspects. But his darned mobile phone can't summon enough juice to replicate the crucial photo.

And so Cliff and Cydney, and Strange Couples A and B, chase each other around a suddenly dangerous tropical paradise - three fast moving parts in a deadly shell game.

Which people are the killers? Which people are going to be killed?

A Perfect Getaway is the rarest of film treats - a B-movie that knows where it's going and how to get there. The film has all the requisites of the genre, being a lightning-quick melodrama that is unafraid of appearing ridiculous however far writer-director David Twohy (screenwriter of The Fugitive ) takes his story out on a limb.

A Perfect Getaway also benefits from one standout performance: Timothy Olyphant ( Deadwood ) plays the part of Nick with ingratiating comic relish.

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Like Robert Ryan, the great, long-gone Hollywood actor who specialized in playing cheerfully troubled neurotics, Olyphant seems to understand that low-budget action flicks are just the place for an actor to cut loose and have fun.

The rest of the company is at least okay. Nerd's nerd Steve Zahn is well cast as Cliff. And Milla Jovovich and Kiele Sanchez manage to bring some dramatic tension to the frightened-girlfriend moments.

Another plus: Filmmaker Twohy takes full advantage of his setting, turning Hawaii into a gorgeously threatening landscape. In a sequence where Cydney missteps negotiating a narrow, mossy mountain pass, the audience experiences that sick-soaring feeling you get flying a kite too high in the air.

A Perfect Getaway doesn't entirely live up to its title. Eventually a limb does snap and the film becomes too ridiculous in the last reel, when we're blindsided by a dandy plot twist that isn't, unfortunately, properly set up.

Then again, what's a B-movie without a groan or two?

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