Zahn and Olyphant are two of the best character actors out there, and while it would be inaccurate to say they make their characters believable (that’s not what this movie is going for), they’re never less than interesting to watch. Sanchez and Jovovich also do good work here, creating female characters that are capable and competent without crossing the line into full-on Ripley mode. It’s especially nice to see Jovovich remind us of the promise she once showed as an actress in Dazed and Confused before embarking on the string of cheesy zombie and sci-fi movies she’s done ever since.
Writer/director David Twohy (Pitch Black, Chronicles of Riddick) makes a lot of Cliff’s profession, having his characters use terms like “second act plot twist” and “red snappers” (actually red herrings, but Nick insists it’s snappers). These references serve as knowing winks to the audience that, yes, this film will have plenty of twists and turns and herrings, too. It’s fun, but at times the approach is a little too clever for its own good. The movie also stops cold for awhile when the big twist is revealed and it has to flash back to show how it all makes sense, which I’m not entirely sure it does. Still, that’s not enough to prevent A Perfect Getaway, which opens area-wide today, from being a fun and mostly satisfying summer thriller. ***