Need for Speed is the latest video game to film adaptation and it doesn’t disappoint like so many do. The Need for Speed video game franchise is one of the biggest in the industry with 20 games released since 1994. It would seem that a racing game would be hard to turn into a film. But with the success of the Fast and the Furious series, a car/race centered film isn’t completely crazy. Need for Speed in my opinion is a great movie, it’s not going to win any Oscars but I don’t understand why so many critics are so hard on it. Many reviews have called the acting to be sub-par, with cheesy dialogue. They said the only time the movie is fun is when the cars are the centerpieces. I feel that maybe the critics are holding Need for Speed up to the Fast and the Furious movies.
I will admit that I enjoyed the last three Fast and the Furious movies. They focus more on the characters in the movie than the cars and racing. Need for Speed takes the opposite approach. The characters are simple with easy to understand motivations and incredible driving capabilities. I would say that Need for Speed’s car stunts rival what Fast and the Furious does with their cars and both try not to use any CGI for their stunts.
Speaking of the cars, they were gorgeous and blazing fast, some “reaching” speeds of 230+ mph. For two thirds of the movie the main car was the 2013 Shelby GT500 and it felt a bit like an over the top commercial. They definitely showed off what the Shelby could do as it outran the other cars around and drift around corners and cars with ease. As great as the GT500 was it had some exotic competition for audience favorite. A Saleen S7, Lamborghini Elemento, Maclaren P1, GTA Spano, Bugatti Veyron, and three different Koenigsigg Agera’s steal the audience’s attention as they race across the screen.
The car choices were spot on for a Need for Speed movie as most shown are favorites within the games themselves. The cars are not the only things that make the movie like the game; the racing style was like the game as well. Driving on the wrong side of the road, car crashes, and police chases that involved just about every trick the cops use in the game on screen.
Even the way the other drivers were racing felt like how the NPC cars drive in the game. I think the only aspect that’s lost from game is the feeling of 200+ mph. We see the speed gauge and everyone talks about how fast the cars are. But every time the cars “zoom” by it doesn’t seem like they’re doing the speeds they are suppose to be doing. I could be wrong and perhaps the 3D version will help with giving that feeling of white-knuckle speed.
As I said earlier many of the critics are rather harsh on the characters in Need for Speed. Even so, I think Director Scott Waugh and Writers George and John Gatins wanted the cars and racing to be the main attraction. Yes, the characters were simple and straightforward but they are also entertaining and easy to get on board with. Breaking Bad alum Aaron Paul does aa excellent job playing the revenge driven hero. Mean while Toby Marshall and Dominic Cooper play their parts rather well. The supporting cast is where the acting shines, I found Imogen Poots is completely enjoyable. She plays an upbeat anti-damsel in distress attitude which contrasts Aaron Paul’s more solemn disposition. Tobey’s crew is also great on screen and offers tons of comic relief especially rapper Kid Cudi as pilot/navigator Benny. Rami Malek and Robert Rodriguez are also fun as tongue in cheek characters Finn and Joe Peck.
Need for Speed is not Fast and the Furious and that is more than okay with me. Need for Speed is a fun adrenaline ride with sweet cars and great company. If you’re looking for a fun night at the movies I recommend seeing Need for Speed.