Need for Speed is a by-the-numbers video game movie that won’t satisfy anyone who loves cars, video games, movies or good taste.
You’d think that the most surprising thing about the Need for Speed movie adaptation is that it took this long for a movie based on the franchise to come out, especially taking into account the immense popularity of The Fast and the Furious. Unfortunately, a big budget, recognizable actors and some of the most beautiful cars on the planet (not to mention expensive) are wasted on this bland and generic cash-in that does the Need for Speed franchise a disservice and perpetuates the trend of terrible video game movies.
Anyone who knows anything about Need for Speed or racing films like Torque or Fast and the Furious already know the plot of Need for Speed even if they haven’t watched it yet. Yes, it’s that generic. Here’s what you should know: a youngster named Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) works at an auto-part shop in a small town and in his free time, he participates in underground races that allows him and his friends to pay the rent. One day, Tobey and his posse of 20-somethings who look like members of a European boy band have an altercation with a rival racer. Naturally, they decide to settle their differences in an illegal race with three of the most expensive cars on the planet (so that’s what rich, spoiled kids do when they are bored.) Due to their reckless driving, Dino Brewster kills Tobey’s friend and Tobey promises to hunt down the murderer and take matters into his own hand.
Tobey Marshall is sent to prison and two years after the tragic event, he partners with a British woman to travel across the United States and find Dino. Meanwhile, his friends follow him on a truck that’s capable of pumping gas into his car while Tobey’s driving and they also pilot planes or helicopters that alert Tobey of obstacles that may hamper his progress in the cross-country drive. To avenge his friend who was killed in a tragic accident that involved reckless driving and negligence, Tobey needs to drive recklessly and neglect everything around him. This is where Need for Speed starts making less and less sense and while I know the word “speed” is right there on the name, they could have easily come up with a better, more mature solution to the problem, like a match of cards or game of Mario Kart.
Also, answer me this, why is it that throughout this movie we see like five cops? Shouldn’t they try to catch the criminal who’s wreaking havoc across North America? Tobey Marshall and the blond girl who’s so unimportant to the plot that I don’t even remember her name, (seriously her entire purpose is to be cute and switch seats with the male protagonist to have a romantic moment) are traveling across the USA in a flashy Ford Mustang and their friends are driving in trucks with gas barrels and piloting planes or helicopters they stole from the Army and for the most part, nobody chases them. I guess my problem with this movie isn’t the fact that it’s so bad, but that nobody thought of these questions before showing it on theaters.
Films like Torque and The Fast and the Furious work because they are so ridiculously over-the-top and stupid that you can’t help but to like them. In other words, they are so bad they’re good or they have a “je ne se quois” that make them special and unique. Let’s be clear here, Need for Speed has none of those qualities and this is a bad movie with no heart. There are races, explosions, over-the-top chases and everything you’d expect in an action film of this kind, but none of the charisma of the aforementioned. Also and in case, you hadn’t noticed, Need for Speed the movie has nothing to do with Need for Speed the games and while that’s not a first for video game adaptations, it’s still odd taking into account that Need for Speed Underground, Underground 2 and Most Wanted were practically movies and the use of FMV and campy qualities made them perfect for an adaptation.
You might have watched some of the trailers and noticed that Michal Keyton had a role in this film and I haven’t mentioned him yet. Well that’s because his character barely appears in this movie and when he does it’s for the worst. He’s in charge of commentating some of the races in the most over the top ways possible which is a waste of a great actor if you ask me.
Need for Speed is a video game movie that has absolutely nothing to do with the game besides the name, so fans of the franchise will be disappointed. Those interested in watching A-list actors in their peak and a movie that’s entertaining will also be disappointed. Need for Speed is a by-the-numbers video game movie that won’t satisfy anyone who loves cars, video games and good taste.