“Need for Speed” Movie Review


It’s a bit problematic when a fairly large studio decides to adapt a famous video-game.  Year after year, Hollywood has proven that very few filmmakers can tackle the concept deftly.  To me, this sub-genre has become one of the most dreadful to look forward to each year.  After having seen “Need for Speed”, I have to say that director Scott Waugh (“Act of Valor”) may have added some exciting nuance to the genre.

“Breaking Bad”‘s Aaron Paul stars as Tobey Marshall is a street racer living in New York, who owns a car repair garage.  Two years preceding most of the events taking place in the film, he participates in a street race where his friend is killed by Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) but Marshall is the one who ends up in prison due to the lack of evidence backing up the fact that Brewster was the real criminal.  After spending a few years in prison, he enters a big race that Dino Brewster is apart of, planning some revenge.

As a car-racing movie, “Need for Speed” delivers thoroughly.  Waugh has real stunt-artists performing real stunts with these expensive cars rather than resorting to CGI.  As a result, everything looks much more authentic and it’s easier to get invested, knowing that everything you’re seeing was actually done without the help of a computer.  Waugh’s subtle, yet stylish artistic touches make the already swift action sequences even more admirable.

It isn’t anything profound from a storytelling standpoint, but did it need to be?  It would be a stretch to say that this was a character-driven movie, but there is enough character and emotion driving the movie (no pun intended) for the audience to feel some sort of involvement in what’s happening.  Aaron Paul has a great screen presence as does the rest of the cast.  Michael Keaton seems as if he’s having an absolute blast in a small, supporting role, as well.

It has its fair share of cheese, but it’s always self-aware, and not in an obnoxious manner.  Despite running on for a little longer than it needed to, “Need for Speed” is rollicking from start to finish.  It’s a dumb movie, but a competent one at that.  People looking for simply a fun two hours have come to the right place.