First, you should know that I don’t like any of the Fast and Furious movies. Not a single one. I think they’re all terrible. Some of them are flat out unwatchable. I recognize that I’m in the minority here… so I I’ll try not to spend this entire review making the obvious comparisons. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s review video game turned action film, Need For Speed.
The film begins in a small town in upstate New York. The main character, Toby Marshall (Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad in his first major film lead) runs a garage while street racing by night. Surprise surprise. He, of course, has a plucky crew of mechanics. The lone highlight of his crew is Scott Mescudi (better known as rapper Kid Cudi) as a pilot named Maverick. The character himself is very similar to Tyrese Gibson’s character in… oh wait, I said I wouldn’t do that. But it’s his job as overseer that adds color to the film. His flying above nearly every racing scene while adding commentary and insight gives the movie a welcomed unique feel, much like the video games.
The real story is set in motion when Toby Marshall strikes a deal with former Indy Car racer/rival Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) to refurbish a brand new mustang. After the superior racer, Marshall, shows him up while selling the car, the two embark on a meaningless street race that for some reason involves Marshall’s friend (and Dino’s brother in law) Little Pete. And of course, the race results in Pete’s death and Toby taking the blame. This is no spoiler… if you don’t think Pete’s going to die as soon as he steps on screen, then you don’t watch enough movies. Anywho… after Marshall is released from prison he sets out in the silver mustang with beautiful car dealer Julia (Imogen Poots) on a quest to join in a revenge race sponsored by an eccentric, rich, street racing enthusiast (Michael Keaton).
Very few things about the film will surprise you. Especially if you are a fan of that other series. But the car scenes are fun enough. Marshall as a leading actor leaves a lot to be desired. Most of the movie it seems like he is trying to do his best Jason Statham impression. Nevertheless, this movie (just like the Fast series) doesn’t intend to win any Oscars. It only intends to entertain while doing it’s best not to be something you’ve already seen before. And honestly, sometimes it’s unique and sometimes I have to rub my eyes to make sure I didn’t just see Vin Diesel.
FINAL GRADE: C+