Based on the widely popular video game by EA, ‘Need for Speed’ is an exciting racing movie that falls short of being a blockbuster hit. Starring Aaron Paul of ‘Breaking Bad’ and Imogen Poots, ‘Need for Speed’ avoids CGI and uses real cars and real stunts to pull off an impressive racing movie.
The story follows Tobey Marshall (Paul), a struggling mechanic trying to save his father’s garage from foreclosure. He agrees to a dangerous race with an ex-friend and ex-NASCAR driver Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) that ends with him being framed for manslaughter. After serving two years in jail, Tobey enters the ultimate race for revenge against Dino and redemption for his criminal record. With help from his loyal friends and Julia Bonet (Poots), a car broker interested in his work, Tobey engages in a cross-country race to California for the big competition.
‘Need for Speed’ captures America’s love of racing and nice cars while creating a fun story that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Some of the racing scenes are intense, but the lines aren’t too cheesy or overdramatic like most popular car movies can be. Aaron Paul proves that he is more than just Jesse Pinkman and gives audiences a performance that transcends the thuggish archetype.
Of course, ‘Need for Speed’ lacked serious character and plot development. The audience has trouble understanding the backstory of most of major players and will miss key points by not paying attention to the dialogue. The idea that Dino and Tobey used to be friends is dropped in the very beginning and is not revisited until one of the last scenes.
The film is completely unrealistic in most of the stunts and racing situations, exemplified by the lack of a real police presence for most of the movie. The film also lacks in the romance department, but this could be considered a plus for some moviegoers. Tobey and Julia share one sweet kiss before his final race, but other than that the two don’t spend much time developing their relationship other than cute flirtations tossed in here or there.
Overall, ‘Need for Speed’ is a cool racing movie with awesome stunts but a not so original storyline. It’s fun to watch but won’t be winning any awards anytime soon.
‘Need for Speed’ is rated PG-13 for sequences of reckless street racing, disturbing crash scenes, nudity, and crude language. The stunts in the movie are performed by professionals on closed courses and should not be attempted or recreated at home.