For a racing-based movie, “Need for Speed” struggles with its start. Tobey Marshall (Paul) and his loyal group of mechanic friends need money to help keep their garage afloat. Enter in Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) as a race car superstar, who will split the money if Tobey and his friends can put in the work on the Ford Mustang he wants to sell for millions.
Of course for rivals, things can never be as easy as a simple business deal. After seeing Tobey push 230 mph, Dino challenges him to a street race. The results end in a fatality and Tobey ends up framed and in jail as a result, and once a free man, he seeks revenge.
Tobey and his crew tracks down the location of the exclusive DeLorean race. There Tobey has the chance to win millions of dollars worth of cars and also the chance to hunt down Dino. Tobey sets out for the cross country drive with Julia (Imogen Poots), the one who negotiated the price of the Ford Mustang he worked on years before. The same Mustang he somehow convinced the buyer to let him borrow.
As the movie begins, it falters into a watered down version of “The Fast and the Furious” franchise. The main drawback being that the characters do not gel. Attempts at humor fall flat and any moments of empathy are glossed over too quickly. There were a few interesting twists as the real story of what happened between Tobey and Dino unfold, but the road trip to California seemed a bit drawn out, as did the DeLorean itself.
Overall, the movie, based on the EA racing video games, is a fun ride. There were plenty of cheers from the audience throughout. A silly, but welcome addition is Michael Keaton as Monarch, the eccentric, car loving organizer of the DeLorean.
If there is consideration for a sequel, then it needs to be decided where to focus. Is it a racing movie? If so, there needs to be more cars and more racing. Is it a drama just using cars as props? Then, the story should probably be fleshed out with real reasons to relate to the characters involved.
Final words: Enjoyed the ride but wasn't too bummed when it was over.