Movie Reviews

‘Need for Speed’: Fast, not quite furious

By Wang DexianMovies - 14 March 2014 12:00 AM | Updated 22 December 2014

‘Need for Speed’: Fast, not quite furious

Need for Speed

Our Rating

2/5 Stars

‘Need for Speed’, the long-running video game franchise by Electronic Arts, has been turned into a movie by DreamWorks Pictures.

Starring ‘Breaking Bad's’ very own Aaron Paul in the lead role, this is not just an attempt to cash in to do a video-game crossover, it's also another attempt at replicating the success of the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise, which itself had its roots as a blatant rip-off of ‘Point Break’. 

The plot of ‘Need for Speed” is way too complicated to explain, but in short: Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) is a struggling mechanic who runs his own garage with a crew. In need of money, he reluctantly accepts a job from race driver Dino Brewster. 

Somehow, the two end up racing, Tobey gets framed by Dino and is jailed. After two years, Tobey is released and plots revenge by trying to get into the mysterious invitation-only, winner-take-all race known as the De Leon.

HOT CARS BUT NOT MUCH ELSE

The movie seems to position itself as a mish-mash of the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise and the character-driven, race-culture-rich films of the late 1960s and early 1970s, such as ‘Bullitt’ starring Steve McQueen.

‘Need for Speed’ delivers thoroughly in terms of the rides, which are hot, ranging from Ford Mustangs, Lamborghini Sesto Elementos and even Bugatti Veyrons. Fans of incredibly expensive cars will no doubt be pleased. 

The action is also quick and very convincing, especially since director Scott Waugh had all the actors learn to drive and race cars in order to avoid the use of computer-generated effects. It clearly pays off, as Waugh is able to put his cameras in places where he maximised the rush and adrenaline of the race and stunt sequences, with some stellar race scenes.

WEAK STORY 

However, the movie is lacking in just about everything else. The plot is a hodgepodge of events that serve as mere vehicles for the next action sequence. There are no surprises, and not much character development. Perhaps, a more thorough examination of the rivalry between Tobey and Dino would have added some spice to the races.

Tobey’s road companion and car-minder Julia Maddon (Imogen Poots) brings her weird brand of charm once again to another movie this year after ‘That Awkward Moment’.

And Tobey’s sidekicks, in particular the characters played by Ramon Rodriguez and Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi, deliver some laughs despite the rather lame one liners that they are forced to deliver.

Even Michael Keaton, so brilliant in the recent ‘RoboCop’ remake, only gets a few scenes as the commentator and organiser of the mysterious De Leon race. 

While those ‘Fast & Furious’ movies are cheesy, they are well-executed, crowd-pleasing popcorn flicks, packed with over-the-top stunts and nonstop humour.

‘Need for Speed’ feels like a movie we have all seen before in that same genre, but lacking the polish, and it feels altogether mediocre. 

‘Need for Speed’ is now showing in cinemas

Movie Photos

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Need For Speed
  • Need For Speed

    (2014)
  • Rated
    PG13 /
    Genre
    Action
  • Language
    Eng
  • (2 Reviews)
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