Not the Best, but Entertaining
Iâ€™m usually disappointed when a movie is based on a video game, especially when itâ€™s a game I like. When I learned that Disney was making a â€œNeed for Speedâ€ movie, I was naturally horrified. But the results werenâ€™t half bad.
The protagonist is a mechanic making one last attempt to save his struggling garage. Blue-collar mechanic Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) builds and races cars with his rag tag team of buddies. Enter arch nemesis, the wealthy, arrogant ex-NASCAR driver Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper), who manages to frame Tommy for manslaughter just as he is about to save the day. Itâ€™s two years later and Tommy wants revenge.
The movie features a clever snappy script, which was well developed and cleverly executed. I wasnâ€™t expecting a really dramatic premise, but the screenwriter delivered anyway. Itâ€™s one part action and one part innocent ex-con bent on revenge drama.
Of course, whatâ€™s a racing movie without car races? These races were interesting, elegant and flawlessly executed. Itâ€™s a racing movie that allows you into the car, heightening the suspense. I think a lot of this worked because the producers chose to go with real stunts, as opposed to CGI. The results are realistic and suspenseful, if a little over the top at times.
I mean really, does every car have to explode into flame because it gets hit? Are these cars made of oxygen tanks soaked in gas?
This is Paulâ€™s debut on the big screen, and I think he pulled it off reasonably well. Of course, coming from the role of Jesse, a meth cooking drug dealer in Breaking Bad, playing a blue collar criminal type is obviously Paulâ€™s foray.
Itâ€™s not high art by any means. Need for Speed is just like its name, fast paced. Itâ€™s pure action and butt kickings, with more than a few explosions thrown in for good measure. You wonâ€™t walk away from this movie any smarter, but youâ€™ll definitely be entertained.
They clearly made a point of keeping the script relatively simple and cohesive, which is a refreshing change from the millions of other racing movies out there. This movie has a 70s or 80s racing movie feel, with a $60 million budget. In short, it pulls off pure entertainment.
The supporting players were a bit forgettable. Imigen was the fiery British love interest, but she really didnâ€™t seem to fit into the movie. Michael Keaton as billionaire Monarch just felt silly. Dominic Cooper was a mustache twirling villain clichÃ© of the highest form.
Is it the best movie Iâ€™ve seen this year? No. But it might be one of the most entertaining. This is a good Friday night movie, when you donâ€™t want to do a lot of thinking. The plot moves pretty quick (I mean, the kid only does 2 years for manslaughter) and the high speed racing keeps it interesting.
If youâ€™re a fan of the Fast and Furious franchise, then chances are, you will like this movie. If youâ€™re a fan of the video game Need for Speed, you will probably like this movie. Itâ€™s fun, just a little bit angsty and not driven by drama or messages. Itâ€™s just a good time.