High Octane and Horsepower in “Need for Speed”

Need For Speed

nfsRelease Date: March 14, 2014
Cast: Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Kid Cudi Scott Mescudi, Imogen Poots, Michael Keaton
Director: Scott Waugh
Studio: Touchstone Pictures, Dreamworks Pictures, Reliance Entertainment, EA, Bandito Brothers
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Genre(s): Action
Based On Need for Speed (Video Game)

Rating: ★★½☆☆☆
Review Spoilers: Medium
IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | Wikipedia

In his first blockbuster after a five season stint on Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul jumps into the driver’s seat for Need for Speed. While there were certainly awkward moments and definitely stilted dialogue, the movie was still entertaining. If you enjoy fast cars, machismo, and explosions, look no further. Comparing this to the Fast and Furious franchise would be an unfair comparison because they feel like two birds of different feathers.

Need for Speed tells the story of a regular kid from upstate New York who fixes and details custom cars, and also drag races them. Where you might have the story of an undercover cop in Fast and Furious, this is a good old fashion revenge story. With a surprising amount of humor and romance, this is a movie that could be enjoyed by a fairly large range of people.

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But in the end, its a video game movie. Did it disappoint on that front? Not really. From the crazy jumps in a beautiful Ford Mustang, to back roads racing, to helicopter stealing, this was pretty much the embodiment of a racing game.

The visuals are ok, but when paired with the fact that there was little-to-no green screen/CGI it’s pretty impressive. The cars are absolutely gorgeous, however the racing feels… slow. Maybe it’s because the theater was blasting the sound of engines revving in my ear, but I like my heart to be pounding when I’m watching cars race each other.

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Aaron Paul finally gets to step out of the shoes of Jesse Pinkman, and it looks like he’s enjoying the breath of fresh air. We all know this movie isn’t going to win any Oscars, but Paul looks like he’s having a fun time while behind the wheel.

There are a few emotional moments where he pulls out the Pinkman tears and I just get flashbacks to the finale, but for the most part he’s laughing and broing out with his friends over the intercom.

nfs4Dominic Cooper again plays the villain, as a pompous douche that you really just want to punch in the face, which is perfect for a movie like this. Kid Cudi/Scott Mescudi and the rest of the friends in the movie provide some laughter and jokes as expected, nothing too shocking.

Snaps to Imogen Poots for not playing a half-dressed mushbrained woman. Were there scenes that had my feminist knee-jerk spazzing out? Yeah sure, but comparably, this was a refreshing take (I say this because half of the women in racing movies are silent or evil, or a combination of both).

Michael Keaton is Monarch, the eccentric mystery millionaire, holding the underground race that leads to our exciting conclusion. Keaton is a gem in this movie, as he jumps around narrating the story, emoting through the airwaves to his listeners.

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The only scenes that had me actually upset? The destruction and consequences. Normally, in a movie like this, you don’t see people suffer too many consequences. But knocking out a homeless guy’s cart? Douche move, not something I would laugh at.Killing civilians and throwing them into pileups? Another douche move, especially for a movie about avenging the wronged. Killing cops? Really? I’m sure I’m probably in the minority in certain groups, when I say that I don’t like seeing cops killed. Not to mention that violating parole, drag racing, causing car accidents across the country, and killing or injuring cops would get you way more time than 130 days.

Final Thoughts: It’s no where near a perfect movie, and where there should be humor there is often less of an audible laugh and more of an awkward chuckle. But still, if you like fast cars and bad boys with unrealistic prison sentences, this is right up your alley. Hell, some of those action sequences did a good job of holding up a typical storyline.

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