NEED FOR SPEED (2014)
Starring Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots, Dominic Cooper, Michael Keaton, Ramón Rodríguez, Rami Malek, Scott Mescudi, Dakota Johnson, Stevie Ray Dallimore, Alan Pflueger, Brian L. Keaulana, Logan Holladay, Carmela Zumbado, Jalil Jay Lynch, Nick Chinlund, Chad Randall and Han Soto.
Screenplay by George Gatins.
Directed by Scott Waugh.
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures. 130 minutes. Rated PG-13.
There are quite a few things this movie has a need for, but speed is not one of them.
Need for a better script with a less hackneyed storyline, perhaps. The need for any storyline, really, beyond weak excuses to string together a series of stunt-packed car chases.
The need for someone to give interesting Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul something more challenging to do than a Vin Diesel role. The need to give the brilliant Michael Keaton a role that is worth doing, rather than his role here which is not only needlessly eccentric but completely done all alone on Skype.
The need for not one, but two more believable romantic subplots. The need for an explanation of why everyone in the film is in constant mourning for a young kid who is killed in a racing crash, yet they don’t give a moment’s thought to the dozens of innocent bystanders that they run off the road in this cross-country chase.
The need for a famous road race that is not anticlimactic and an afterthought that doesn’t start until the last 20 minutes or so of the movie.
But speed? Yeah, no problem there, this movie has plenty of that.
You could be saying, “What do you expect from a movie which is based on a video game?” And you wouldn’t be wrong. However, I do expect a bit more from a movie than this.
Truth is, Need For Speed may just as well be a video game. There is no real story, no real character development, no sense of danger or loss. There is just a constant rush of high-speed action, extremely loud crashes and some truly, stunningly beautiful cars.
If it were a documentary on The Speed Channel it would be moderately interesting and worth a half-hour of your life for some turn-off-your-brain fun.
In fact, truth to be told, many of the action sequences here are well filmed and enjoyable – if somewhat unrealistic.
If that’s all you’re looking for, then God bless, you may just find Need For Speed time well spent. However, if you are looking for an action film that challenges you and makes you think, you’re probably on the wrong track here.
Jay S. Jacobs