Release Date: March 14, 2014
Director: Scott Waugh
Writer: George Gatins, John Gatins
Cast: Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, Scott Mescudi, Rami Malek, Ramon Rodriguez, Harrison Gilbertson, Dakota Johnson, Stevie Ray Dallimore, Michael Keaton, Alan Pflueger, Brian L. Keaulana, Logan Hollday, Carmela Zumbado, Jalil Jay Lynch, Nick Chinlund, Chad Randall
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 132 minutes
Production Company: DreamWorks SKG, Reliance Entertainment, Electronic Arts
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
EA Sports it’s in the game!” That quote will always bring back pleasant memories for me back in the 90’s from games ranging across the board for PlayStation. For some titles I never dreamed it will be adapted for the big screen, but here we are. In my opinion, there really hasn’t been any video game adaptation, that has successfully crossed from a hand held controller to the big screen with critics raving and a lucrative box office. Though Need for Speed may be the next closest thing. With our main star Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) getting behind the wheel, I feel he choose the correct path to transition from TV to Hollywood (assuming that’s what he wants to accomplish) that may make his stardom shine a little bit brighter. Need for Speed is the text book definition of brainless fun, and it’s easily a fun time. If you’re able to turn you brain off literally for 2 hours, accept all the conveniences (and some are so horribly bad), and realize this is an adaptation of a videogame of fast cars and police chases you may have a great time. If not, this is definitely not for you, and you’ll find out why shortly.
As I stated this film is a mix bag. There are elements that had me smiling ear to ear full of entertainment and spectacle, and others that still leaves me scratching my head. Going into Need for Speed, I was worried that it would be a carbon copy rip-off of the successful Fast and the Furious franchise. I couldn’t be anymore wrong and I’m proud to say it. The joy I feel at this moments comes from all the foreign cars and car racing throughout. That’s what’s most expected and director Scott Waugh definitely delivered. I don’t know much about cars other than main components, but after watching this I suddenly have the urge to go home and research. I’m interested in seeing the beauty and sleekness on automobiles on a level that never peaked my interest in the past. I’d say you’ve done something great when someone motivates you to learn. This felt nothing like Fast and the Furious and that all goes to the direction/camera work. If you’d played Need For Speed or any race car video game, you know there are multiple camera views to give you the best perspective during game play. These shots can be adjusted quickly with the simple click of a button on your controller. Waugh took this same concept and applied to the screen displaying beautifully choreographed car chase sequences that had me to the edge of my seat. The camera slowed down just at the right points and speed back up to give you an experience you may have never encountered before. Some shots stood out so much that I could do nothing but appreciate them from their precision. Even the gentleman next to me was so invigorated he stomped the floor in anticipation of the car wreck. After a while it became distracting but it was high quality entertainment. Now while I just finished raving, unfortunately I did state about that this is also a mixed bag for me. While I did enjoy all the characters with their charisma, talent, and chemistry. I do honestly feel like majority of the cast was miscast. Some of the characters we’re told to route for just by appearance, didn’t come off as the roles they were supposed to portray. Aaron Paul’s character Tobey was fine but his group of friends of mechanics not so much. Supposedly they’re the best at building customs automobiles. They’re so great a professional race car driver will come down through the trenches just to seek their service. One issue I have is if there are so great, why are they having problems with finances? The professional driver I’m speaking of doesn’t come across as realistic either, but more like a model that borrowed all of his assets from his rich uncle or guardians. Even the main actress felt out of place. They came across as babies that never really experience and hardship and was 7-10 years younger than what was meant. On another note I did enjoy the first half of the film far better than the second half. That’s odd for me usually being the other way around. While I am able to turn my brain off and enjoy the fun, that doesn’t mean the film and get away with anything. With the plot that’s given some characters don’t think their actions all the way through, or at least it seemed that way. If I have a piece of property that’s a delicate as the next near extinct flower, I will take care of it to a t. I will try my absolute best to maintain it’s condition especially if I know it’s existence may possibly save my life in the near future. Now I understand with the plot some decisions half to be made at the last minute, but if you possibly know what’s to come why put yourself in the situation anyway. I don’t care how good it looks before a camera, but you have an objective that you must follow through, throwing it away on a whim can be quite frustrating (Cars flying through the air). Another character while appearing tuff in the first act, and has the credentials to prove it later on throws those talents down the shredder and is suddenly afraid of heights. In other words if a man is bold enough to fight a tiger, I think it’s ridiculous to be afraid of small rodents. Just doesn’t make much sense to me. Another annoyance are a few plot holes where it’s not explained why character A hates Character B so much. We just have to accept it because we’re told to and only pay attention to fast cars. There’s also so many conveniences at some points which makes the sense of danger diluted. When our heroes have nowhere to turn they magically escape out of the most ridiculous situation, no matter how unrealistic it is (The helicopter chain scene). At this point a noticed a dive in quality and got a little worried on how the conclusion would pay out. It did but definitely hit a number of speed bumps on the way. I never knew of a correctional facility offering wifi entertainment to it’s inmates or a hospital with laptops on standby. Also was the law enforcement trained from the stone age? No, that can’t be the case because at some areas they displayed common sense strategy on ceasing illegal underground racing, but on the other hand they’re to incompetent to look up an IP address or log on to a site where everyone else seems to be able to do to catch the foe. Do the law enforcements take advantage of this? NO! Because apparently if they do we won’t have a movie. Not the best writing in that aspect if you ask me. With all that being said, I still had a great time and the film brought back memories from my childhood. I was able to pick out elements that reminded me of so many aspects from the videogame and I was left with all smiles. The car racing was fantastic and that section can easily bring on multiple viewings. I cared about the cast and felt their misfortune when it was called for. Unfortunately it all wasn’t good with a few plot holes and the need be over the top, clocked me out barely clocking me back in. There’s one sequence that’s so bad that it, itself could possibly ruin the whole film for others. Fortunately for me that’s not the case. I recommend this to those that just want to have a good time and turn their brain off for a while, but keep in mind the audience is still intelligent and we realize that with a brainless film you can’t always get away with anything.