Need for Speed (2014)
I would like to personally welcome you all to the new film review section of the site. My thoughts on the films are not part of any hidden agenda. You’re more than welcome to share your views in the comments section should you disagree with mine. Now down to business…
Need for Speed (2014) is the title of the film which stars Aaron Paul, who most know from his role as ‘Jessie’ in the award winning Breaking Bad TV Series. He lines up alongside Dominic Cooper, who played ‘Howard Stark’ in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and most recently ‘Ian Fleming’ in the new TV Series centered on the author of the James Bond source material.
Gamers of all ages are especially familiar with Need for Speed brand as the movie is derived from the popular racing game franchise, which has been in circulation on multiple platforms since the early 90’s. Usually the trend is to go from movies to tie in video games. It was interesting to see a reversal of the process, however, this has been done before of course, think of Prince of Persia as a recent example.
Need for Speed is rated 12A, clearly targeting a younger audience. This is obvious from the start as you’re asked to shed expectations, or sit back and enjoy the ride if you like. This becomes arduous as the story unfolds with Grand Canyon sized plot holes, which I’m hoping I don’t need to point out in case you decide to watch it for yourself.
The beginning could’ve been cut a few scenes easily. The screen time should have been managed better. I fail to see a justifiable reason why this film needed to be over 2hrs long. A game about fast and exotic cars, features very few in the film by comparison. Yes you see a couple expensive cars, just not the amount that you would’ve expected from this title.
The soundtrack on a Need for Speed game is generally very good and gets you into the mode for fast action packed driving. The soundtrack for the film on the other hand is very forgettable (I saw the film last week). A lot of the locations had a familiar look and are very reminiscent of the games. Two hours plus for what were essentially three races left me feeling robbed of my time. The story wasn’t very tight knit so the least the film could have done was give the audience a lot more imagery. Take us to many different races and show us a bigger range of cars and racers.
Need for Speed feels like a drunken persons interpretation of what the early Fast films mixed with Drive would look like. With that being said, this was a film we could have done without. This is truly a shame; especially as there is always room for a GOOD racing centric film or one with a character/s who’s movement through the narrative depends on some hot wheels. These are films that have a proven and loyal fan base. Need for Speed is an example of what can go wrong when you rush through a film and have no regard for the end product. The trailer gives a fair enough indication of how ordinary the film is as there is hardly any content worthy of inclusion. The dialogue felt forced at times and the humour could be described as awkward at its best. The sources of conflict were weak or loosely believable.
Scott Mescudi aka ‘Kid Cudi’ is the only person who walks away from this with any credibility. He made the best of the lines he had and the film would definitely be a lot worse san Cudi. There was also a Michael Keaton sighting. His character is minutely intriguing but ultimately very frustrating, as you wonder if he really warrants a place in the movie, as he’s such a poor organizer. He has a seriously low tech set up for someone in charge of a prestigious invite only event. Keaton is involved too late into the film and is really just a glorified member of the audience.
My final verdict is this… If you value the money you spend on cinema tickets don’t bother with this film. One day it will be on TV during a holiday and you will thank yourself for showing the restraint. I have no clue how anyone could promote this film because there is nothing redeemable about it. An opportunity was missed here to lead the Fast & Furious fan base out of mourning and into something new.
Have you seen the film? Tell me what you thought in the comments section.