Picks and Pans Review: The Getaway

updated 02/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

Alec Baldwin. Kim Basinger, James Woods, David Morse, Michael Madsen, Jennifer Tilly

To make explicit the inevitable comparison between this workmanlike caper-chase film and the 1972 movie that inspired it:

PLOT: The basic story still involves a married couple of lowlife career criminals double-crossing a villain and then fleeing his henchmen, while the husband, angry that his wife slept with the villain to gain his cooperation, works himself into a jealous rage.

DIRECTOR: Sam Peckinpah, who handled the '72 film, had more ability to communicate the depths of sadism and evil than Roger Donaldson, a veteran of routine action movies. Once Woods has helped spring Baldwin from a Mexican jail in this film and set up a dog-track robbery, everything is predictable.

LEAD ACTORS: Like Peckinnah's stars, Ali MacGraw and Steve McQueen, Basinger and Baldwin are a couple in real life and muster the requisite passion. As a rebellious antihero, though, Baldwin can't begin to carry McQueen's smirk; he never seems as hip or charismatically cool as his more rugged predecessor. Nobody could be a worse actress, or prettier, than MacGraw, but Basinger comes close on both counts, seeming most ill at ease when she's supposed to be in moll mode. Basinger is more convincing at being overtly seductive, especially in taunting Woods, who radiates sleaziness as the ruthless bad guy.

SUPPORTING CAST: Madsen, as a vicious type who double-crosses, then hunts Baldwin, displays scarily sadistic energy. Yet Madsen's treatment of Tilly, the not-unwilling veterinarian's wife he kidnaps to help his escape, is less ominous than the way Al Lettieri treated the more convincingly ditzy Sally Struthers in Peckinpah's film.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Neither version can be accused of being thought-provoking, but both are reasonably involving and diverting action fodder. (R)

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