I noticed something peculiar while watching the end credits to "Need For Speed". There was a credit entitled "Hawk" and the credit was credited to "Hawk". This was not a cast credit. There was no character named Hawk in the movie nor any hawks. I have no idea what Hawk is or what or who the Hawk that is credited for it is. I do know that Hawk equals Hawk. It makes sense doesn't it? I mean, wouldn't Hawk equal Hawk? That's pretty predictable isn't it? Yet, it also seems like nonsense. I mean, what is Hawk? What does it mean?
Predictable nonsense is exactly the right set of words to describe "Need For Speed". There was never a doubt in my mind as to what was going to happen in "Need For Speed". It is a simple revenge story. Basically, someone innocent is wrongly imprisoned and when he gets out he wants revenge. So, you know going into the movie that this innocent man is going to have something bad happen to him and thus you will be spending the first half hour of the movie waiting for this bad thing to happen. The waiting can be really hard in this movie. You also know that this man is going to seek revenge in the movie and there is no surprise here in how that quest for vengeance turns out.
So, "Need For Speed" is a movie that takes a long time to get to where you already know it is headed. The truth is that a lot of movies are predictable and some of these predictable movies are still good. These movies can be fun or filled with such emotion that the movie breaks past its familiar barriers to become a good movie. "Need For Speed" is not one of those films.
First, lets discuss predictability. "Need For Speed" is a movie about racing and in the races that take place in this movie there are many racers. The truth of the matter is, however, that only three of the racers in the movie actually matter. Every single other racer in the movie either is never shown, never given a name, or is given a name, but is never really shown. The other racers didn't need to be in the movie at all and are just a waste of time and space. We know right from the beginning that there are only two racers that even have a chance of coming close to the finish line and that only one of these racers is going to be the winner. There are no surprises in "Need For Speed" when it comes to the racing. One can already see the winner crossing the finish line long before the final race in the movie actually starts and this makes the road to that race feel even longer than it already is.
What could have helped this movie is if the races had any kind of excitement to them. Well, they don't. I never felt the feeling that one would get from driving at the speeds that these racers are going in the movie. I never felt any kind of speed from the movie at all. Everything in "Need For Speed" feels like it is moving at a snail's pace.
The stunts in "Need For Speed" were done practically instead of with computer effects as much as possible. This should create a more exciting feel to the movie, but it doesn't help at all. "Need For Speed" is proof that real life scenarios can be just as without life as ones created by a machine.
Then there is the nonsense component of the movie. The only logic in "Need For Speed" is that there is no logic. The movie is filled with one head-shaking moment after another. For example, people just seem to know where other people are despite the fact that they couldn't really have this knowledge. People appear in scenes just because it moves the plot in the direction necessary, but without it making any sense how they got there. During the final race, Monarch, played by Michael Keaton, watches over the race and comments on it, but how does he know where any of the racers are? How is he tracking them when there never seemed to be any moment where anyone could have put trackers on the cars in the race?
Then there is the question of how the racers even know where they are going in the final race. The final race is a secret race of which the location is only revealed at the last minute. Aaron Paul's character of Toby has never been to the place where the race is taking place and thus would not know how to navigate the area. He is never shown to have any kind of GPS or anything that would tell him where to go in this race and yet he seems to know exactly where to head. While these racers somehow seem to know where they are going, we the viewers have no idea where they are headed. There is no sense of how long the race is or where the finish line is so it creates a disconnection with the movie. It makes every scene feel longer than it is and without any kind of tension. When nothing makes much sense in a movie this can happen.
One scene features some kind of holographic imagery that simply does not exist yet in our world and yet it is treated as if it is commonplace. No one seems to react in any sort of surprised way towards it. Does this movie take place in the future? Does it take place in an alternate Earth? I don't believe this is this case, but what explanation is there for this kind of technology existing. Like most things in this movie, there is no explanation.
There are so many moments in the movie that don't really make any sense. It's hard to explain all of them without context and there are also too many to mention. Basically, what you have to know going into "Need For Speed" is that to enjoy the movie you have to be willing to suspend a lot of disbelief. "Need For Speed" is the kind of movie where you just have to go with it and believe that there is an explanation for everything that makes all the events in this movie possible.
So, while watching the movie, I kept that philosophy in mind. I told myself that I would just go with it and try to have some fun. However, the movie really isn't much fun. There was one scene that had me laughing because it was such a random and nonsensical scene that I had to get some enjoyment out of it. It's really the only scene I enjoyed in the movie, but even that scene only furthered the nonsense nature of the movie.
"Need For Speed" really lacks the intensity that a movie like this should have. There was only one scene where I really felt any intensity and all credit for that scene has to go to Aaron Paul. The rest of the movie is very dull. It is also a movie that is hard to take seriously because it so often wants to be a comedy. So much of the movie is full of jokes and ridiculously over-the-top scenarios that I found it nearly impossible to take anything seriously in the movie. Yet, the movie also wants to be taken seriously. It is clear from the tone of the trailer for the movie and from certain scenes in the movie that the movie wants to be serious. It never really works.
Overall, "Need For Speed" is a long and predictable movie that had me waiting anxiously for it to get to the finish line. The serious aspects of the movie don't work because the rest of the movie is so over-the-top and nonsensical and the funny aspects of the movie don't work so well either because the movie is too serious. You could say that "Need For Speed" is a paradox, but paradoxes are far more interesting than this movie is. No, this movie is simple and boring. It is not some complex equation. "Need For Speed" is a simple equation like the one found in its end credits. Hawk equals Hawk and in this case, bad equals bad.