I feel the need, the need, for speed! No this isn’t Top Gun, and we aren’t talking about XBOX or PlayStation! Need for Speed directed by Scott Waugh, and stars Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame, and Howard Stark, er Dominic Cooper, Kid Cudi, and few other people I’ve never seen. I was pretty excited for this one and went in with high expectations. After all I’m a huge Fast & Furious fan. However, this is not Fast and Furious.
Aaron Paul plays Tobey Marshall, a mechanic and well of racer who with his crew rebuilds the fastest mustang on the planet for Dino Brewster (Cooper). When Marshall is framed for the death of a friend during a high stakes race, he spends 2 years in prison. Upon his release he and the old crew get right to work to avenge their fallen friend with the worlds fastest mustang, racing across the country to make the deadline for the one big race.
The story is pretty weak. And by pretty weak, I mean insanely weak. I honestly made the mistake of going into his hoping for a decent story in between races. What you get is a mess of a plot that starts out decent enough but quickly becomes more and more unbelievable. There are times when you are completely taken out of the film wondering, who in their right mind come up with this plan. I mean the whole plot is centered around the fact that this is the fastest car on the planet. Yet there are constantly people in trucks, and cops right in toe.
The casting was pretty off as well. I don’t know Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad I’ve never watched the show, but he is not the problem. All though his character is very one dimensional, as is almost every character, he does a good job in the part. The rest of the cast seem like they have no business behind the wheels of these vehicles. Kid Cudi adds a little comic relief but not enough to save the film. Imogen Poots is cute and fun to watch but also seems a bit out of place. The one shining star is Michael Keaton. Keaton plays the underground race kingpin that commentates via web cam as the film goes on. It looks as if Waugh just told Keaton, “Go, play, have fun” and he did.
Need for Speed is not all bad though. The race scenes and cars are spectacular. This where the film shines. And with absolutely no CGI. The stunts and races all performed with practical effects, and they are a blast to watch. The cars include, among others, a 66 Pontiac GTO, a 65 Gran Torino, a Saleen S7, McLaren P1, Bugatti, Koenigsegg Ageras, and of Corse the 2013 Shelby GT500. They are all phenomenal! It actually hurts watching some get destroyed. If you are going t\for the car chases and races and cars, then you will be thoroughly entertained by them, just don’t hope for much substance around them.
If you can suspend you disbelief, and completely overlook the lack of character development, and sub-par plot filled with plot holes and lack of common sense, you might have a good time with this film. Especially if all you are looking for is cool cars, chases, and races. All in all I gave the film a Jeebus score of 2.6 with a .3 bonus for Beetlejuice-like character Michael Keaton gives us rounding out with a 2.9, Go head and Redbox this one.