Need for Speed aims to do for movie franchises what the bafflingly popular Fast and Furious series has also done, but in this case it’s also based on the popular videogame franchise, and how many videogames have been made into great movies? Very few.
Mechanic Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) is given the option to earn a quick buck, well, $500,000, by his wealthy ex-partner Dino (Dominic Cooper), who turns up out of the blue to offer him this chance. It involves dealing with a flashy car with a chequered past and it’s sure to get our hero into trouble, but his eyes fazed over the second Dino mentioned the amount of money he’ll be getting.
A further bet and an impromptu race ends up with Tobey going to the clink for a couple of years, while Dino gets off scot-free, the latter framing the slightly-bearded one from the annoying Xbox One adverts, where he’s clearly so enthralled with Titanfall (so he claims) that he diverts away from it to watch the football.
Need For Speed leads are Aaron Paul, who constantly looks like he’s trying to hold a fart in, while Imogen Poots plays the love interest as the token Brit with a posh accent, who knows just a bit more about cars than she initially lets on, but in terms of acting talent, she’s at her most bland, here. However, I did get one belly laugh when Poots’ English accent has one of Tobey’s friends proclaiming: “I really love Piers Morgan.”
I always say that a film very rarely needs to last longer than two hours, and that the optimum time is 105 minutes. Need for Speed lasts 131 minutes and really doesn’t need to. The car chases are good, but it has dire dialogue, a lovey-dovey relationship I couldn’t give a hoot about, and as a film as a whole, it’s total nonsense. And the non-race scenes seem to last a lifetime.
When they finally do get to show the cars off, and the spoiled playboys race, never mind anyone real who gets hurt along the way, crashing their cars, or clearly dying, if not severly injured!
There’s a particularly stupid moment when Aaron and Imogen refuel whilst they’re still driving, leading to everyone risking life and limb, in exactly the same way a normal person wouldn’t. You expect it to go all a bit ‘Crash’ where people die a lot, so when people do sometimes, it’s of surprise to no-one but the characters.
Michael Keaton‘s role, as Monarch, just seems to involve waffling away to himself in a husky voice, for no real reason. It later transpires that he’s running some fancy race called the “De Leon”, although the way he pronounces it, it sounds like the “Daily On”. Either way, you know before it starts will end up in a willy-waving contest between the two leads. It’s probably his most redundant role to date since that in Robocop. Remember when he used to make great films like Pacific Heights, One Good Cop, Clean and Sober, Mr Mom and Batman Returns? (definitely not the first one) He really phoned this one in.
No doubt Need for Speed 2, 3, 4, and so on will follow, just like the Fast and the Furious franchise.
Oh, and I’ve seen Need for Speed in both 2D and 3D, and there’s nothing much to be gained by the 3D. For a start, the film wasn’t shot in 3D in the first place, it was shot in 2D with the 3D all added in post-production. So you’d think the only scenes that would benefit would be the races, but you get the scale of what’s going on from regular perspective anyway, and since the camera cuts and changes so often, there’s no lingering shots in enjoy any sort of 3D, so it quickly loses any salvagable chance it might’ve had.
Go to page 2 for the presentation and the extras.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.