Need for Speed

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Need for Speed


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Official Synopsis
The film centers around Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul), a blue-collar mechanic who races muscle cars on the side in an unsanctioned street-racing circuit. Struggling to keep his family-owned garage afloat, he reluctantly partners with the wealthy and arrogant ex-NASCAR driver Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper). But just as a major sale to car broker Julia Maddon (Imogen Poots) looks like it will save Tobey's shop, a disastrous race allows Dino to frame Tobey for a crime he didn’t commit, and sending Tobey to prison while Dino expands his business out West.

Two years later, Tobey is released and set on revenge — but he knows his only chance to take down his rival Dino is to defeat him in the high-stakes race known as De Leon — the Super Bowl of underground racing. However to get there in time, Tobey will have to run a high-octane, action-packed gauntlet that includes dodging pursuing cops coast-to-coast as well as contending with a dangerous bounty Dino has put out on his car. With the help of his loyal crew and the surprisingly resourceful Julia, Tobey defies odds at every turn and proves that even in the flashy world of exotic supercars, the underdog can still finish first.
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The latest video game to get the big screen adaptation, Need for Speed, is hitting theaters this week.  I got the chance to check out the film earlier this week, and while I can’t find much reason to associate the film with the game (aside from fast cars) the film is a surprising amount of fun if you’re willing to shut your brain off.  Come inside to check out the full review!


Full of Surprises

I want to start this off by saying how poorly I think the film has been represented in the trailers and commercials.  To be entirely honest, I had absolutely no interest in this movie based on what I had seen so far.  The film looked like some sort of serious revenge thing in the vein of some action-y Jason Statham movie, and truthfully, there are plenty of films like that out there. 

So imagine my surprise to find out that this is one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a long time, and is more of an action comedy than anything else.  It’s been woefully mismarketed, as I feel if it’d been presented that way, there’d be quite a bit more interest.  

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still the revenge plot and some very intense action moments, but this film refused to take itself too seriously.  As far as its humor is concerned it managed to rival many of the mainstream comedies that have come out recently.  The entire audience couldn’t stop laughing and all of the jokes felt natural and flowing from the plot.  There weren’t any gags thrown in just for the heck of it, but everything stemmed from the plot and the characters as they were established. 

It was shocking to see, and many of the jokes have kept me laughing over the last several days every time I think on them.  It’s not at all what I was expecting, but it made the film a better experience for it.  I think most audiences are going to enjoy this movie for what it is and the hilarious jokes they put out there, I just wish it had been marketed that way from the beginning.  

NeedForSpeedMovie screencap-lg

The Story

Need for Speed does quite a few things right.  It’s got great (and natural) humor, some really sweet cars, and action/chase sequences that are impressive by any standard and will have you on the edge of your seat.  Not too mention how likeable the cast is.  Seriously, I loved all of the characters in this movie and thoroughly enjoyed seeing them interact so genuinely with one another.  So it’s kind of sad to see that the weakest aspect of this movie comes from it’s story. 

Essentially this film is supposed to boil down to Tobey (Aaron Paul) seeking revenge on Dino for getting his friend killed during an impromptu race, after which Toby is wrongfully convicted of the crime and does a couple years in jail.  Once he’s out the very first thing he thinks to do is enter a secret race...Apparently this is an attempt to clear his name, though there’s no indication of how he plans on doing so by racing. 

In the end, the race does wind up revealing the real culprit, but it’s totally by coincidence and not through any direct effort or foreplanning on the characters’ part.  Which is kind of how this entire movie plays out.  Things just sort of happen in the plot that makes everything work out they way it needs to in order to get to the next story point.  It’s built almost entirely off of coincidence and filled with holes.  Think about it for any length of time and it’s obvious to see the gaps and realize things that happened, just wouldn’t work in real all.  

As I said, this is kind of a bummer, because everything else works so incredibly well in this movie.  If it would have had a plot to keep up with everything else and be solid, this could have been something great.  Because of weak story, the film fails to be anything more than pure entertainment. 


Saving Graces

When we’re talking about that entertainment factor, however, there’s no denying how enjoyable this film is to watch.  It’s an easy film to flip your brain off and have fun with.  The car chase sequences are gorgeous and feature some intense moments that will have any action/car enthusiast happy.  I’ve never been a big fan of cars or car movies, but even I found myself on the edge of my seat, wondering what was going to happen next.  

Obviously some of the racing scenes are on the ridiculous side, totally eschewing realism, but that doesn’t detract from the wow factor.  Rather, the film seems to embrace those moments, stopping itself from taking itself too seriously and having lots of fun with it.  I already mentioned the cast and humor being the ultimate reason to see this film, but it’s worth mentioning once again, as I think most everyone will enjoy those aspects of the movie beyond everything else. 


The 3D Effect

The screening I attended was shown in 3D, which is an option for audiences to view this film in when it releases this Friday...Don’t do it.  Seriously, it would be a waste of money to purchase the more expensive 3D ticket.  I can’t think of any scene in the movie where I felt any sort of 3D effect, nor was it necessary for any particular aspect of the film.  It’s use in this movie is nothing more than gimmick (the worst reason to put 3D in a film), and not worth the added expense since you’ll get just as much out of the film in regular 2D.  

Editor review

1 reviews

A Surprisingly Good Time, But Mindless Entertainment
(Updated: March 12, 2014)
Overall rating 
Entertainment Value 
Performance (Acting) 
By all accounts, this film could have really sucked. The previews have painted the film as something its not. What you get instead, is something hilarious, action-packed, and all around fun. While the film does a lot of things right, the plot is a mess and doesn’t hold up if you think about it for long (I’m talking seconds here). If you’re willing to look past that, however, it’s almost impossible to not enjoy this film.
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