Fasten your seatbelts and start your cars guys, Fast and Furious is taking a year off so Need for Speed is taking its place on the starting grid.
The Need for Speed gaming franchise is one of the most successful of all time- spanning two decades and seeing the release of over 20 different titles it was only a matter of time before Hollywood got their hands on it, especially considering the on going success of the Fast and Furious movies.
The film successfully managed to recruit itself an impressive cast of fresh faced up and coming stars; Aaron Paul, fresh from the incredible success of Breaking Bad makes his big screen debut, alongside him are the ever charming Imogen Poots and her fellow Brit Dominic Cooper. So all set for one hell of a race then? No.
Need for Speed has several problems with it, most notably its derivative and mind blowingly dull characters. Pulling together such a talented cast give Need for Speed the chance to create some interesting and refreshing characters in a setting we have seen millions of time before. Unfortunately it breaks down almost straight away and instead just provides us with lazy cardboard characters that are extremely difficult to invest any emotion in.
Arron Paul’s talent is wasted and instead of the multi layered performance we know he is capable of, he ends up giving a strangely detached and emotionless portrayal of a guy who well, isn’t all that interesting in the first place. As a matter of fact the only performance of any note comes from Michael Keaton who has rediscovered his inner beetlejuice as a crazed commentator and street race organiser.
The films visual style is at times attractive but its editing fails to give the racing any real sweaty palm moments unlike for example, Rush, which showed how well it can be done. The films score also feels oddly misused; its miserable chimes playing over the film’s opening few scenes in a strange attempt to give the movie an edgier feel, falls flat on its face.
Then there is the movies pacing. In terms of narrative the movie plays out exactly like one of its video games. Opening with a short cut scene before skipping forward to level one: the first race, then another cut scene follows before a brief time trial and then a showdown with the games, sorry, I mean films first big boss; so on and so forth.
Then there is also the debate as to whether the movie glamorises dangerous driving. Simply put, there’s no debate to be had- it does, end of. Idiots drive around a lot, put the general public at risk and win millions of pounds because of it.
Verdict: Needless to say Need for Speed has failed its MOT miserably. Sorry petrol heads but you’ll have to pull your pants up and wait for the next Fast and Furious movie to roll around before you get another sniff at a half decent racing movie around here.