FAST GETAWAY was apparently a hit by some standard, so three years later we got the DTV sequel FAST GETAWAY II. Like the first one, it’s still only available on VHS. Corey Haim, Cynthia Rothrock, Leo Rossi and Ken Lerner all return, and there are many direct references to things that happened in the first one, but they do at least find a new setup to make it different.
Young but experienced bank robber Nelson Potter (Haim) now lives on his own, in fact seems to be pretty rich, and is so far beyond his past as a horny virgin that he wakes up and is offered sex in the opening scene. Then there’s a bank robbery that plays off the first movie, with Nelson now graduated to his dad’s role of the ringleader-who-makes-the-bank-customers-sing-a-song, and with an attractive woman named Patrice (Sarah Buxton, THE SURE THING, LESS THAN ZERO, TODAY YOU DIE) as both the person he follows into the bank to hit on and the plant hostage he takes.
As they try to get away she uses a laptop to “hack into the police computer” (showing she’s more useful than he was when he was the fake hostage), but you can tell something is off here, especially when he skids out behind a police roadblock and honks so they’ll turn around and see him. And then he starts saying stuff like “No way I’m going back to the big house!,” because the twist is the whole thing is an exercise, because he is actually legit now and using his criminal skills to help a bank insurance company do security tests. A Whitehat, if you will, like in BLACKHAT.
I also want to mention that he wears a suit that looks so big on him that it’s practically David Byrne-esque. I don’t know if that’s the style of the times or if they just had to borrow somebody’s else’s suit.
Patrice ends up being the love interest, but it’s not immediately obvious. They’re trying to do this Moonlighting type thing where they bicker but really they love each other, but Nelson is no David Addison, it seems eminently reasonable for Patrice to despise working with him, and it is not clear why she would find him attractive. I know Haim was a teen idol or whatever, but Patrice is portrayed like an adult and Nelson like a kid. It’s weird. Also there’s just all this badly timed and conceived comedy like the part where she’s trying to have a serious talk with him and he flips a half-cooked pancake nearly to the ceiling and it lands on her head.
Rothrock’s character Lilly is still out there robbing banks. She’s more of a straight forward bad guy than in the first one, but it is kind of funny that they once again have her in a bra beating the shit out of a guy in a hotel room as her way of getting off. Her crew hits the bank where Nelson is doing security, so an asshole FBI agent named Rankin (Peter Liapis, GHOST WARRIOR, GHOULIES) starts trying to prove Nelson was involved.
Nelson’s dad Sam (Rossi) and their old getaway driver Tony (Lerner) are locked up, but it’s in a minimum security place with a bunch of beds in a big room instead of cells, and they get to have up posters of trucks and stuff. At first it seems like it might be a cameo appearance, because their role is to look at evidence of the robbery and determine Lilly was behind it. They’re the Hannibal Lecter. But later Sam gets worried about his son so he breaks out, with Tony staying behind to cover for him by pretending he’s in the bathroom with diarrhea the whole time.
The weirdest part of the movie probly wouldn’t have fascinated me so much if I had been paying better attention, but it’s when he passes out with his small dog barking on his chest and then when he wakes up he finds a stuffed dog with its head ripped off and fake blood smeared on the stump. He gets really sad and calls Patrice to tell her “they killed Mr. Bingo.” I rewinded it a couple times trying to figure out if the filmatists were really asking us to believe that what is quite clearly some sort of teddy bear is the corpse of an actual dog. And if so is it really a good idea for him to be clutching it to his chest and then playing with it so that it flops around like the non-bone-having plush toy that it clearly is?
Finally, after Patrice has come to look after him in this serious emergency, he refers to it as a stuffed animal. But that was quite a roller coaster for a few minutes there.
I think unpredictable tonal shifts can be cool and should be more accepted in American cinema, but one thing here that I don’t think works is this whole subplot about evil Agent Rankin coming to the house to confront Nelson, instead finding Patrice and not only threatening her, but sexually assaulting her. She doesn’t tell Nelson what happened and he later finds out by seeing it on a security tape and is in shock. But a few minutes later after a FERRIS BUELLER style foot chase Nelson plays a funny prank where he leaves Rankin unconscious with no pants (but his shoes still on?). Two cops who obviously hate Rankin laugh at him because ha ha, boxer shorts are funny. They try to make him a POLICE ACADEMY type buffoon asshole character, always ranting about “scumbags” and “buttheads.” At the end he’s driving around yelling “I SMELL SCUMBAG!” and fires a grenade launcher into a Port-a-potty and splatters shit all over himself. I’m not saying this would work anyway, but if it was gonna work it would be without the rape subplot, right?
There’s also a gag during that chase where Nelson climbs a wall, falls into a swimming pool and the the two women who are lounging there in bikinis make sexy eyes at him. This is not as egregious but it’s one of those goofy moments that happen in b-movies where you really can’t translate what the logic was supposed to be that would cause them to be turned on by this kid flopping out of their pool in his wet David Silver outfit.
There is one moment in the movie, courtesy of Rossi, that I felt showed some genuine heart. Sam has unexpectedly gotten out of prison, and finds Patrice. They have never met, but know of each other. She asks why he would break out when he only has five months left, and in his eyes we can see that he’s touched either by this concern or by this proof that his son talks to his girlfriend about his situation and she remembers it.
Buxton is also pretty good as Patrice, bringing a little credibility to a ridiculous character. It’s too bad they have her keep the front of her shirt tied in a knot even during situations like going to rescue someone or having been taken hostage.
When Sam and Tony are planning the escape they’re coming home from movie night and making fake conversation to act normal. “I felt the dramatic subtext of tonight’s film was flawed,” says Sam. I don’t know what that means exactly, but screenwriter Mark Sevi (RELENTLESS II and IV, GHOULIES IV, SCANNER COP II, DREAM A LITTLE DREAM 2, EXCESSIVE FORCE II: FORCE ON FORCE) doesn’t seem confident enough to keep his own “dramatic subtext” as subtext, so he has Sam say out lout that Patrice looks like a model, acts like a cop, kicks ass like Lilly and reminds him of Nelson’s mom. Dear audience, here is what we were going for with this character. Luckily Rossi pulls that kind of dialogue off better than your average b-movie actor.
Director Oley Sassone comes from music videos, including Mr. Mister’s “Broken Wings” and some Wang Chung and Gloria Estefan. He graduated to movies with BLOODFIST III: FORCED TO FIGHT, but to me his real place in movie history is that he directed THE FANTASTIC FOUR (1994), the charmingly low budget one that only exists as a bootleg because it was made only for rights purposes and pre-MCU Marvel films head Avi Arad later had the negatives destroyed. The motherfucker. Sassone later did lots of hour-long TV action like Hercules, Xena, Mortal Kombat: Conquest, Martial Law and Mutant X.
For somebody who was a fan of FAST GETAWAY on HBO or whatever, maybe they thought Haim was cute or funny or they liked his relationship with his dad, so this might still be good. But to me the thing that made the first one pretty fun was mostly on director Spiro Razatos putting together an amazing stunt team and working in lots of crazy truck stunts and dropping off a bridge on a wire and stuff like that. This one – with stunt coordinator Gary Paul (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD III, SKYSCRAPER, STAR KID, WAY OF THE GUN) feels more like a standard amount and level of stunts for a bank robber movie that’s more about comedy than action. There’s a little bit of cars crashing and exploding, but nothing that feels above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty like in the first movie.
So I can’t really recommend this one much, but I wouldn’t try to talk anyone out of it. Go ahead and check it out, there’s a VHS tape on Amazon for $199.99. Plus shipping.