Back in the days of movie double-bills and snack-bar food that didn’t cost as much as a small car, “A Perfect Getaway” would have been the perfect diversion.
This enjoyable and suspenseful, if ultimately disposable, thriller from writer/director David Twohy (“Pitch Black”) doesn’t do much new and “the twist” is as obvious as a tornado on the Texas Panhandle. But that doesn’t make it any less of an escapist joyride on a hot summer day.
Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich) are a wide-eyed young couple honeymooning on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, eager to hike to a beautiful but remote beach. But their contentment is sullied by a run-in with a belligerent hitchhiker Kale (Chris Hemsworth) and his girlfriend, Cleo (Marley Shelton), and news that a couple has been brutally murdered on Oahu. The suspects, a man and a woman, are on the lam and possibly making their way to another island.
While on the hike, they make friends with another twosome – Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and Gina (Kiele Sanchez) – who seem to have an unnatural ease with knives and gutting goats. Meanwhile, Kale and Cleo, who apparently have trouble letting conflict go, seem to be shadowing Cliff and Cydney and their new, weapons-savvy pals up the trail. And, come to think of it, didn’t that guy (Anthony Ruivivar) from the supply store who helped Cliff and Cydney load stuff into their car have a strange gleam in his eye?
Needless to say, the hike takes a turn for the worse.
Twohy keeps things moving at a breathless clip, ratcheting up the tension and the dark, tongue-in-cheek humor so that, even after the big reveal, the movie doesn’t lose momentum as it speeds to its conclusion. Zahn and Jovovich (best known from the “Resident Evil” films) are strong, Hemsworth and Olyphant radiate the right amount of incipient threat, and lush, sun-drenched Hawaii – despite the murder and mayhem being committed on its shores – looks stunning.
“A Perfect Getaway” isn’t the best movie of the summer by a long shot. But it may be this season’s best summer movie.