Sun, 16 Jun, 2024

Movie Review: Need for Speed

By Umang Gurung

A new movie has released which wants to race against the Fast and Furious series. Riding on the beloved video game franchise Need for Speed with Jesse Pinkman – err… Aaron Paul on the driving seat, it looked promising. But it just falls short of expectations failing to fulfil the need for speed or much of anything else. What we get is another disappointing, dumb, needlessly explosive movie filled with clichés and bad performances. Not much originality here. It seems to have borrowed from a lot of movies. There’s the basic revenge story, all of which you can predict 15 minutes in. Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) is a skilled racer who wants to avenge his friend Little Pete’s death (Harrison Gilbertson) on the hands of Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) during their race. Tobey gets framed for Pete’s death because of missing proof of Dino’s presence in the race. After serving his time, he sets out to compete in De Leon, a winner-takes-all race that Dino is also participating in. There are a lot of pacing issues. The story goes slow but also takes almost sudden huge leaps in time. In one scene they show an incomplete Ford Shelby Mustang that Tobey and his friends have taken the deal to build and in the next they are at a party where the Mustang is complete and put up for auction. Tobey goes to jail, a text ‘2 Years Later’ appears at the centre of the screen and 2 seconds later we see him at the gates, leaving, having served his time. Funny thing is he looks the same in and out of jail. No changes in hair or build. The whole scene must have been shot in one take. Aaron walks in, changes his clothes and walks out. Commenting on Aaron’s performance, it was highly disappointing. As Tobey, he is quiet, boring and flat. He gives his ‘what did you just say?’ look whenever he turns. The Jesse Pinkman crying is there. Scott Mescudi on the other hand plays the most interesting character of the bunch, Maverick. Maverick is basically the wacky comic relief who surprises with his resourcefulness. Imogen Poots plays Julia Maddon, who buys the Mustang, journeys with Tobey to De Leon and eventually falls for him. In the beginning, Poots seems to be trying a little too hard to be the playful, independent, not-going-to-be-looked-down-upon Julia, but she becomes comfortable in the second half. Cooper plays the rich bad guy Dino well. He is easy to hate warranting a punch. The first half was awkward and boring. The jokes were a hit and miss. It was as if the cut scenes of a Need for Speed game had been cut, a little of gameplay footage was added and made into this movie. The second half tries to pick up with more action, but it’s already lost the race. The final race has cars crashing and exploding one after the other till only one remains. It seemed to be forced and morally questionable - one car almost crashes into a school bus. The soundtrack has meanwhile been praiseworthy. Nathan Furst’s score really added to the movie. Also the shooting locations were amazing. The countryside, the city, the desert, the small towns were reminiscent of Need for Speed games. This has been another failed attempt at video games’ transition to movies. Need for Speed has pretty visuals, a nice soundtrack, roaring supercars in their glory and some thrilling sequences, but what good it does, other movies have done better. The acting and direction weren’t up to par. Casual moviegoers, car enthusiasts and fans of the videogame franchise will probably like this movie. Maybe you too will if you treat it as just another action flick. Just don’t expect much.