Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
Markus Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Rated PG-13 for sequences of reckless street racing, disturbing crash scenes, nudity and crude language
Now playing at Century 20 Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California:
Talk about striking while the iron is room temperature. “Need for Speed”, a video game series which hit its peak popularity maybe ten years ago, is a clear instance of the type of blockbuster movie ideas we get around this time of year.
Stiff writing, stiff delivery and ultra cliché story structure (which is weird since there isn’t a whole lot of plot here) all come together to tell the tale of ex-con Tobey Marshall, who after a gruesome car accident takes the life of one of his best friends, is now bent on revenge. His plans of revenge revolve around venturing on a completely improbable road trip to California in order to enter a super top secret race put on by the most annoying man in the world (played by Michael Keaton in the worst performance of his career) and beating the villainous Dino Brewster (played by Dominic Cooper, whose career after “The Devil’s Double” has been an utter disappointment). Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense? Well, it shouldn’t. But the less one focuses on the story, the more bearable this film will be.
It is the surprisingly edge of your seat impressive car racing sequences (with some cool POV effects that nicely captures actual gameplay) which keep this film afloat…somewhat. So, kudos to director Scott Waugh for making something out of absolutely nothing. That said, the ONLY reason to see this movie is for these sequences, which there are thankfully many of.
Full disclosure, the only reason I went to see “Need for Speed” was because of Jesse Pinkman aka Aaron Paul. Also, full disclosure, Paul undoubtedly only obtained the leading role in “Need for Speed” off of the success of the mega hit TV show “Breaking Bad”. The harsh truth is (and I hate to say this, since I am one of those who feel that “Breaking Bad” is the greatest dramatic series of all time) that Aaron Paul is a lifetime character actor that can really only play one type of character; and Tobey Marshall isn’t it. I mean, his performance wasn’t bad, but let’s just say: this particular Paul was no Paul Walker.
Final Thought: Truthfully, things do come together rather nicely in the final 30, but the simple fact is that “Need for Speed” is 130 minutes long! Meaning, many of the more car novice audience members will have tuned out long before things get good. In short, rather than paying to see this movie, “Need for Speed” is one that probably could (and should) be seen for free on TBS in a year or so.
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