Fans of car racing movies like “The Fast and The Furious” franchise might be tempted to purchase and/or rent a movie like “Need for Speed.” Why? Because it is a movie starring Emmy Award-winning actor Aaron Paul racing across the country in cool and fast cars. That alone could tantalize anybody who is a fan of “Breaking Bad” and car action flicks. However, appearance can be deceiving.
In the film, Paul plays Tobey Marshall, a mechanic who is hardly making ends meet fixing up cars. Tobey is approached by Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper), a cocky businessman with a history of being a backstabbing weasel offers him a chance to work on a rare Ford Mustang Shelby. Tobey reluctantly accepts the offer and the car he helps rebuild is sold for millions of dollars. When Dino challenges Tobey to a race, things turn tragic their race that causes the death of one of Tobey’s friends. A manslaughter charge puts Tobey in prison where he emerges from the clink two years later looking for revenge on Dino thanks to the help of his crew and a sassy British car dealer (Imogen Poots). His plan: to get himself in a race hosted by the mysterious Monarch (Michael Keaton) in order to beat and humiliate Dino no matter what.
Logically and narratively, “Need for Speed” is such a mess. There are tons of plot holes, illogical story developments and mistakes during the film. The script is just horrid as it features every car movie cliché you can possibly fathom from the mischievous comic relief to the scrappy female lead is will be romance by the story ends. The movie also seems to have an identity crisis in terms of its tone because it is all over the place. It is not sure whether it was wants to be a fun popcorn movie or a dramatic revenge film. Paul does the best he can with such a bad script but even his strong acting chops can’t save the movie. I will give credit where credit is due for director Scott Waugh in terms of doing the best he can to avoid using CG in order to craft the action sequences.
Despite the movie not firing on all cylinders, the video quality for “Need for Speed” is nearly flawless. Shot using a variety of different digital cameras, the video presentation help captures every detail possible within each filmed frame including the vibrant colors of the cross-country scenes like the lush Indiana landscape or the striking desserts scenery of the west during one death-defying stunt sequence. The movie itself is not anything special, but the cinematographer did a great job making sure the day scenes look as good the night scenes.
The extras for this film do a competent job through these 10-minute special features to cover every facet of the production. “The Sound of ‘Need for Speed’” is exactly what it sounds like: a look at what it took to get some of the sounds from the cars that are portrayed in the movie. “The Circus Is In Town” takes a look at the different locations the film was shot at in states like California, Georgia and Michigan. “Ties that Binds” has Waugh talking about his background as a former stuntman/stunt coordinator and working with a group of multi-generational stuntmen including his father. “Capturing Speed: Making an Authentic Car Movie” shows all the different ways the filmmakers used in order to use more practical effects and less CGI to make their racing scenes look real. The rest of the extras is comprised of an audio commentary with Waugh and Paul, deleted scenes and a very short, yet unfunny blooper reel.
Even though there is an appreciation from this viewer to see some realistic racing sequences in a movie like this and the video presentation is fantastic, it is not enough for me to give a full-fledged recommendation to check out “Need for Speed.” I just wish this could have been more then an attempts to replicate the same formula that made “The Fast and the Furious” successful.