Need for Speed

Director: Scott Waugh

Starring: Aaron Paul, Scott Cooper, Kid Cudi, Imogen Poots, Michael Keaton, Ramon Rodriguez

Rated: PG-13 (Sequences of reckless street racing, disturbing crash scenes, nudity and crude language)

Fresh from prison, a street racer who was framed by a wealthy business associate joins a cross country race with revenge in mind. His ex-partner, learning of the plan, places a massive bounty on his head as the race begins.

 

Need for Speed

By Cole Schneider

I’ve never liked the 70s car racing exploitation films. I’ve never played the “Need For Speed” video game. I’ve never even been interested in cars or racing the same way many people are. This movie was clearly influenced by all three. Simply, it wasn’t made for me. Still, there are some unobjectionable flaws with the video game movie.

The story follows Tobey, a blue-collar mechanic with the talent and dreams to race in the underground version of the Indy 500. Dino, a hotshot racer with money does everything in his power to halt Tobey before his journey begins. His actions, though, only spur Tobey on to achieve greater things. For two hours beforehand we sit through a few long speed rides where Tobey dodges danger. Yes, it is generic. Yes it is boring. Yes, it is driven by misguided testosterone and thoughtless dialogue.

There is thought in the film, but it’s undercut by its own mistreatment. Tobey, for instance, becomes an interesting lead character in that he’s just a normal, down-to-Earth guy. Most films in the genre feature a lead built on a machismo well beyond absurd. The problem is that his motivations, friends, and enemy are all grounded in something related to the same forced masculinity.

Similarly, the film actually places value on people’s lives–something too rare in a movie like this–making empathy for a death born from racing the impetus for the whole narrative. Yet again though, the film goes on being as reckless as anything else, consistently valuing being fast and being cool over a characters life. With its misguided attempts at style, humor, and character development “Need For Speed” doesn’t work on any level.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

 

Need for Speed

By Matt Greene

Do you like watching other people play racing video games? Have you longed to see a movie starring One Direction look-alikes who drive real fast? Do you wish car commercials were over two hours long? Then have we got a movie for you!

Otherwise, Need for Speed will leave you dumbfounded at its dullness. The idea of making a movie out of a racing video game is bad enough; add-in flat characters, ridiculous dialogue and complete lack of excitement and what’s left is worse than imagined.

This is essentially a Fast and Furious knock-off, but one would imagine they would bring something new to the table.  But, no…it’s completely formulaic. No surprise or intrigues exist at all. In fact, other than a couple of okay crash scenes and racing moments, tension and excitement are entirely absent. I longed for the “thrill” of the go-kart derby race in Little Rascals to replace the humdrum of the driving scenes here.

Talent is just wasted everywhere. Poots (That Awkward Moment) and Keaton (RoboCop) are each 0 for 2 on movies this year, and Aaron Paul deserves a much better vehicle. He’s not terrible, but his vulnerable, round-faced, boyish charm can only go so far.

Worst of all is the morality of this film. The “good guys” are doing atrocious things. They’re reckless, selfish, unlikable, pompous idiots, and we are supposed to root for them. All of this goes to show it really doesn’t matter how “cool” or “pretty” you think you’re movie is. If you don’t have an exciting story, or decent script, all you have is glossy garbage.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

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