Don't worry too much for Aaron Paul as Breaking Bad comes to a close after five seasons. The actor has spent the last year building up his rep on the big screen, giving a strong performance in last year's alcoholism drama Smashed, and lining up his first franchise in the video game adaptation Need for Speed. Of course comparisons already have it pegged as being the ugly stepchild to Fast & Furious, and at least judging by the first trailer that may turn out to be accurate.
Directed by Scott Waugh, who turned the supposedly realistic Act of Valor into what looked like Call of Duty, Need for Speed's racing scenes don't pack a whole lot of punch and certainly don't rival that of the game. Slightly more successful are the dramatic aspects, with Paul playing a street racer who hooks up with a wealthy associate played by Dominic Cooper, only to be double-crossed and framed for manslaughter. When Paul gets out, he comes looking for revenge and seeks it by joining an illegal cross-country race, but a bounty placed on his head makes things even more deadly. Hot rides race over dangerous terrain, get flipped, explode, and it's a pattern that will probably be repeated until the credits roll.
Waugh isn't the most inspiring director, but he should be able to pull off a simple, no-frills action flick like this, and it's good to see Paul hitting the big time. Plus there's reason for optimism with Michael Keaton and Imogen Poots joining him, so maybe there's more to Need for Speed than meets the eye. Eh, probably not. We'll find out when the film opens March 14th.