Need for Speed movie poster
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Need for Speed
Need for Speed movie poster

Need for Speed Movie Review

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Need for Speed needed to learn from its title, a Fast and Furious wannabe that is desperately in need of speed. Plot. And thrill factor.

The movie stars Aaron Paul as a slightly more stable version--slightly--of his "Breaking Bad" version of Aaron Paul, except he's a lot less likable because unlike in "Breaking Bad," he isn't naively dumb. He's just dumb.

Set in a world where street racing doesn't seem nearly as cool as the street racing in the Fast and Furious movies, Need for Speed relies on a clunky plot in which Paul's Tobey Marshall is released from prison after several years to prove his innocence for the death of his friend--who was actually killed by his arch rival (why they are arch rivals is never explained). Tobey spends the rest of the movie driving across the country in a really fast car, drawing as much attention to him as humanly possible and putting dozens of innocent lives at risk to get to a secret race in California that is monitored online by Batman/Michael Keaton, who may as well have been doing voice work for an animated movie because he just sits in a room, completely detached from the rest of the cast.

None of the movie makes much sense, and even if it does, it's all just so unintentionally silly it's hard to take seriously.

But it's a street car racing movie, you say? Plot doesn't matter, you say?

The plot wouldn't matter so much if the movie was fast and furious, and not in need of speed. The film's biggest problem is Scott Waugh's decision to apply a serious, dramatic lens to his storytelling approach. Fast and Furious has figured out what audiences want; Need for Speed ignores lessons learned, and the result moves slower than your grandma on a Sunday drive.

The movie takes a long time to get going, and even with bursts of adrenaline it lacks the fun factor you'd expect. Need for Speed didn't need to be an intelligent movie, but plot holes and downright stupidity are much more glaring when the filmmakers don't embraces the silliness of the concept. For example, how are the guy's friends able to keep up with him as he races across the country at breakneck speeds in a much faster car?

Nonetheless, Need for Speed isn't lacking for action, and the final car race sequence is pretty decent, even if the movie completely disregards the amount of lives that are presumably lost. Also, Imogen Poots is cute and likable, even if all she is allowed to do is be cute and likable.

Need for Speed isn't a poorly made movie. But it's the wrong movie for the subject matter. Too dramatic and too dull to be as stupid as it is, Need for Speed suffers from the very thing its title demands.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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