NEED FOR SPEED:
LOTS OF SPEED, BUT NOT ENOUGH BRAIN POWER!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: D (2 stars)
Aaron Paul as Tobey Marshall behind the wheel in Need for Speed
Here we go again, another miserable Hollywood attempt to bring a popular video game franchise to the big screen. First there was Super Mario Bros. in 1993, then Silent Hill in 2006 and its sequel, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D in 2012, now the successful racing game franchise, Need for Speed, and we were doing so great after Disney’s animated hit, Wreck-It Ralph and now this mess of a game to film adaptation comes out directed by Scott Waugh (Act of Valor).
Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad, Mission: Impossible III, K-Pax) stars as blue-collar mechanic, Tobey Marshall who builds and race muscle cars with his team. In an attempt to save his garage from financial problems, he partners with wealthy ex-NASCAR driver, Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper-Captain America: The First Avenger, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, My Week with Marilyn).
During an intense race against Dino, one of Tobey’s crewmembers, Little Pete (Harrison Gilbertson-The Turning, Haunt) is killed during the race and Dino frames Tobey for vehicular manslaughter. So, Tobey, with the help of an exotic car-dealer (Imogen Poots-Me and Orson Welles, Jane Eyre) and a wise cracking helicopter pilot (Kid Cudi), will do whatever it takes to prove himself innocent and bring Dino down in a race to the end.
Overall Need for Speed is a pretty forgettable adaptation of a great video game, just because it can show off awesome car chases and action; it’s no excuse not to execute a clever and original concept. Basically it’s a knockoff of the massively successful Fast & Furious franchise, both films have lots of cars, action, and crashing.
But what Fast & Furious had that this film doesn’t is likable and memorable characters, enjoyable cast portrayals, and a decent story.
If there’s one good thing I can say about Need for Speed is that Michael Keaton’s (Batman, Beetlejuice, RoboCop) performance as an energetic host of the underground supercar race competition is pretty enjoyable. Even when he’s casted in a terrible movie, Keaton is always a joy to watch.
But that’s the only positive thing I can say about this flick, it suffers from poor character development, wooden characters, and a madhouse of non-stop car chases and action. Granted as a video game it works because you get to be in control of the game and do whatever you want, but here, there is no control, you’re better off playing the video game.
It’s not as bad as other past attempts at bringing a video game to the big screen like Mortal: Kombat Annihilation, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, or the Silent Hill movies, but compared to Resident Evil, Prince of Persia, and Wreck-It Ralph, it’s still quite a mess. Let’s hope the upcoming Ratchet & Clank movie in 2015 will make up for this loud and thinly written movie.