Movies don't always have to be high concept, more often than not a simple concept with some crackerjack execution is more than enough to bring the house down with some quality entertainment. Now on Blu-Ray, "Need For Speed" hardly reinvents the wheel, but it channels into a classic action vibe where we just want to get lost on a crazy entertaining ride.
Framed for a crime he didn't commit, freshly released muscle car mechanic and street racer Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) sets off on a cross country adventure, with revenge in mind and hopes of redeeming his good name in the most infamous underground street race in the country. The man who framed him (Dominic Cooper), places a massive bounty on Tobey's head to prevent him from ever being able to pull up to the starting line and revealing his shameful secret.
It's not high art by any stretch of the imagination, but "Need For Speed" leans on a tried and true action formula that makes for an experience that is admittedly low stress on the brain but ultimately a hell of a lot of fun to take in and watch, perfect for the big screen or the small and it is just damn good fun.
Director Scott Waugh working from a script by George Gatins puts together a simple enough story, as small town friends like to work on cars until a horrible event sends all of their lives spinning out of control, etc, etc. It's been done before in one variation or another but it is executed to damn near perfection as Waugh lets it all unfold in a neat and efficient manner. Waugh didn't lean on any CGI tricks for this film instead relying on his background as a stuntman and it pays off in spades as the film has moments that feel like they are pulled from 1970's cinematic car classics like Bullit & Vanishing Point. It's a film where the action is just a purely frenetic thrill ride and it really draws us in. Shooting everything in camera made the action feel vibrant and in the moment with characters who were hardly perfect but they felt real.
Aaron Paul carries the leading man swagger quite well as Tobey Marshall and certainly has some more action movies in his future, while Dominic Cooper does solid work as the overly cocky and confident dirt bag who ruined Tobey's life. The likes of Imogen Poots, Scott Mescudi (aka rapper Kid Cudi) and Michael Keaton in a small but truly memorable role round out this solid action ensemble. It's not the kind of film where people are supposed to emote, but they need to make us like them and we get it here as the motivations are simple and clear
"Need For Speed" is the of movie that tends to get overlooked. It's not high art, but it is legitimate fun that only tries to be fun and entertaining and with this film we get one of the great popcorn films of 2014.
4 out of 5 stars.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are top notch and the special features include 4 behind the scenes featurette, a feature length audio commentary with director Scott Waugh and star Aaron Paul, outtakes, deleted scenes and the trailer for the "Need For Speed: Rivals" video game.
"Need For Speed" is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, On Demand and Digital Download from all major retailers and providers.