The Getaway (1972): Breakdown by Rantbo
Steve McQueen sneers, steals and shoots shit with a 12-gauge. Runaway, reload, repeat.
To make a truly great film, it has to be understood by all those involved in the making, the job isn’t complete with a killer screenplay. The truly hard part is, HOW you tell the story. Written by Walter Hill (THE DRIVER, THE WARRIORS, ALIENS…) and Directed by Sam Peckinpah (THE WILD BUNCH, CROSS OF IRON…), there is practically no way this film could have been anything less than amazing.
The story follows a modern (70s) Bonnie & Clyde, The McCoys—Carter ‘Doc’ and Carol Ainsely. The tale of relationship turmoil and discharged weaponry begins with Carol and her selfless selling of her rocking bod to the man capable of granting Doc a leave of absence from prison. It works, but there’s a catch. The McCoys are now indebted and must pull a job for the crooked parole board member, which they do and wouldn’t you know it? Shit doesn’t go as planned. Nothing ever does… THE GETAWAY.
This is the crime-story caper film at it’s best. Also, working at a video store, I often get asked for recommendations, and sometimes (most) some of them are from un-observant douche bags that think I can point them in the direction of a great romance movie. And I can—just not the kind they want. Inevitably they always look at me weird and as soon as I’m out of eyeshot, they put THE GETAWAY back on the shelf and grab a Kate Hudson movie instead. People are sheep and I hate them—but that’s besides the point. The point is, this movie is not only one of the best crime movies ever made, it’s also one of the best TRUE romance movies ever made.
As with all Peckinpah movies (at least the ones I’ve seen) THE GETAWAY is a cinematic tour de force. Every shot is expertly framed and captured. The editing is nothing short of perfection. And the action sequences are gratuitous, violent and paved the way for Heroic Bloodshed and the Hong Kong work of John Woo. In short, Peckinpah shot the shit out of this mother fucker. THE GETAWAY is old-school BadAss cinema at its best, and to die before watching it, would be to die a pussy. Don’t let it happen to you.
[HOW BAD-ASS ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?]
Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw are the McCoys
Carter ‘Doc’: “… 1-to-10-year sentence for armed robbery. First offense in the state of Texas. Wanted in the state of Ohio for assault with a deadly weapon and armed robbery.”
In the sixties and early seventies, it was harder to get more straight-macho than Steve McQueen. And the character of Doc McCoy is manlier than a dump truck full of vodka and chainsaws. A man with twice as many stoic looks as words, Doc is truly the cock of this walk. An armed robber by trade; he orchestrates, plans and executes his devilish deeds with down-to-the-second precision. All of this seems for not though, as he is also impulsive, impatient, short tempered and a sore loser. You know, a man. But McCoy is like the 70s MacGuyver, able to fix his way out of any situation with nothing but a few mix-matched items. Only Doc uses a cold-sneer, a hairy-knuckled fist and a couple dozen loads of buckshot to solve his problems instead of paperclips. MacGuyver was a pussy.
-Builds makeshift bombs and uses them during an armed bank robbery a couple days out-of prison. Bonus badass points, as this violates his parole.
-Uses his ‘Spider-Sense’ to get the drop on a betraying cohort.
-Knocks a guy out with fury of elbow chops to throat.
-Threatens to break a little kids arm. And I believe he means it.
-Robs a gun store and uses his swag to blast the shit out a cop car outside. Then later, a second one. After eating a hamburger and drinking a coke—regular.
-Shoots an elevator off it’s cable, 3 floors up, dropping the poor bastard inside to ground floor.
Carol Ainsley: “Mmm—class.”
Few women inspire in me an urge to settle down and form a state-authorized union. Ali MacGraw is one of those women. Or I guess I should say, Carol McCoy is. You know that song ‘Stand By Your Man’ by Tammy Wynette? Well, look it up. That shit was written with women like Carol in mind. She’s the ultimate die-hard faithful broad, with the body of a Victoria Secret Angel.
-Fucks Steve McQueen. I could stop here, but won’t.
-Getaway-Drives like a man, but she’s a woman. A ungodly sexy one, at that.
-Plugs the heist organizer, Beynon, for being a creepy sleazy fuck.
-And generally helps Doc be a badass. She’s the ultimate girlfriend wife.
[THE BODY COUNT: 11]
Even though it only just broke into the double digits, this film still qualifies as one of the all time great shoot ‘em ups. Mainly because it was made in 1972 and aside from bloodless westerns, Peckinpah was creating the genre single-handedly, having started a few years before with THE WILD BUNCH. Sure, there was BONNIE AND CLYDE, but fuck those two—Doc and Carol are the ones that really blasted their way into Hell. Doc takes out 7 would be assassins. Carol dispatches of an old forced flame. The Bad Guys manage to off a couple of each other and then—Sigh, there’s Poor Harold.
[Most Satisfying Pathetic Death]
After being kidnapped by the film’s lead villain, Rudy Butler (Al Lettieri), Poor Harold is forced at gunpoint to drive cross country to cut off the McCoys. What’s worse, Harold’s wife is willingly along for the ride and spends the cross-country trip Stockholm-shagging their slimy Itie warden. Understandably, Harold tires of this show and leaves before the third act. Hanging himself in the bathroom of a soiled road-side motel. Adding insult to humiliating death, Harold’s final resting place is desecrated by Rudy, who immediately after finding Harold in the bathtub, sits down next to his corpse and proceeds to unload a greasy rib-shit. Poor Harold.
[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]
Doc and Carol re-solidify the bonds of their rocky marriage—in blood. Trapped in a stairwell of a hotel, Carol gets cornered alone by a gun wielding henchmen and quick-thinkin’ injects his ass with her hot rapid-speed .38 special lead as a warm-up for Doc, who finishes the poor bastard off with his 12 gauge.
That’s Fuckin’ Team Work
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
None. McQueen is straighter than Charlie Bronson and spends nearly all his non-action scenes fully-clothed and locking lips with the gorgeous Ali MacGraw. The best this film has to offer is a couple of shirtless scenes of McQueen and a couple un-sexy ones of Lettieri. And I can think of no one, man or woman that would want to sex-up, let alone beat-off to Al…
Sally Struthers excluded.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
Doc: “If you’re trying to get me back in Huntsville [Penitentiary], you’re going about it the right way.”
Carol: “I just wouldn’t worry about it, Doc, ‘cuz I can always get you out. [Gets Angry] I mean, I can screw every prison official in Texas if I want to.”
Doc: “Texas is a big state.”
Carol: “I can handle it.”
Doc: “I bet you can.”
Doc keeps his ladies in line. Holy shit.
After finding out that his wife had to sleep with a man he hates and make a deal to betray him after a heist to get him out of prison, Doc is still mighty pissed even after Carol seals the deal in his favor by plugging the corrupt police official at his home, in cold blood. So, Doc McCoy has to smack a bitch. Like, 6 times. It’s pretty rough and difficult to watch, as it’s clear that she did what she did to keep him safe and free. Doc eventually comes around to see Carol’s rational point of view, but the bruises shine on.
Then later, McCoy does it again, only this time the spirit of Poor Harold seems to guide him, as Doc pops the hysterical backstabbing Struthers in the jaw to stop her from annoying anyone further with her cries for an unconscious Rudy.
A Bad Guy concurs with McCoy’s actions.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
Doc leaves Carol in the car and heads into a store to buy a radio. While inside, he sees his face plastered all over the televisions with WANTED “written” all over it. Without so much as a drop of sweat, Doc exits the store (leaving his change), strolls back to the Carol, says “We got troubles—clear the car.”, walks next door to a conveniently located gun store, “I want a shotgun, 12-gauge, pump”, loads his pockets with double-ought bucks, pulls a gun on the clerk, steals the shotty, walks back outside, loads the gun, walks up to the cop cruiser (that has just arrived), unloads into it, forces the pigs to lie down in the gutter, continues blasting the car and after it explodes, makes a getaway.
Few sequences have ever reached this level of BadAssitude.
Beynon: “I’ve always heard what a smart-ass operator you was.”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
“IT’S ALL A GAME!”
[THE CHECKLIST: 15 outta 25]
[ ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[ ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[ ] Factory/Warehouse
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[ ] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[ ] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Remake [The Getaway (1994)]
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[ ] Vigilante Justice