Jungle
Need for Speed

Need for Speed

Movie
Director(s): 
In Theatres: 
Mar 14, 2014
Grade:
B-
Running Time: 
2 Hours, 10 Minutes

The action racing genre has been dominated for the past few years by the Fast & Furious franchise mostly because there has been no other contender to challenge them. Need for Speed aims to change that and steal the checkered flag from them. Whereas the Fast & Furious has evolved to be more about ridiculous and over-the-top action stunts than actual driving, Need for Speed is all about the feel of the drive and power behind the wheel.

Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) is a mechanic who just so happens to also street race cars, using his winnings to fund the family business. With money being tight and the shop about to be foreclosed on, Tobey challenges high-class car businessman Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) to a winner-take-all race that would fix all his problems. Dino, however, would go to any length not to lose and ends up killing one of Tobey’s best friends during the race and frames Tobey for the crime, landing him two years in jail. Once released, Tobey vows to avenge his friend’s death and goes on a cross country road trip to race against Dino in a highly sought after underground supercar competition.

Need for Speed is based on the Electronic Arts racing video game franchise in name only. The franchise has always been about straight up racing and never really followed a set story. The same can be said about the film.

The story keeps things to the bare minimum as its sole purpose to get from one race to another. You don’t really care about why Tobey is driving across the country or why, when he’s on a major time crunch, he decides to take a detour to Chicago to pick up one of his mechanic buddies. There are plenty of plot holes and things that can be nitpicked, but it’s the racing that’s the real draw of the film.

Director Scott Waugh was a stuntman himself and uses his experience to create one of the more realistic racing films I’ve seen. So many films rely on CGI and green screen for special effects, but Need for Speed actually makes it feel like you’re in the driver seat with Aaron Paul. When the car pushes 150mph it feels like it’s going that fast. Mainly because it actually is. The cinematography of the racing sequences is beautiful and really captures the elegance and power of these machines. It’s exhilarating to watch and more than makes up for the halfhearted story.

Need for Speed delivers just the right dose of adrenaline to fans. The acting doesn’t take itself too seriously and the racing scenes provide and edge-of-your-seat thrill ride like no other.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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