Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: Need for Speed

Need for Speed uses real stunts rather than CGI.
Need for Speed uses real stunts rather than CGI.

A film about real cars being driven fast; that's about all there is to Need for Speed.

Based on the videogame franchise, Need for Speed marks the big-screen breakout of Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul. He plays Tobey Marshall, a blue-collar race driver who didn't graduate the big time, but still likes to street race with his loyal crew of mechanics. In need of funds to keep his dead father's garage alive, he agrees to a street race with nemesis Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper), who previously stole his career and girlfriend.

The race ends in disaster, with Tobey framed for murder. On his release from prison he seeks revenge and takes Dino on in an illegal high-stakes road race in California.

It sounds plausible, in a glossy blockbuster kind of way, but the details of the story really niggle. Tobey's situation is driven by the need to pay the mortgage, which he could do if he sold one of his cars. Not to mention the cost of his support team, with all their computers and surveillance gear.

And then there's the script, which calls for swagger, deep voices and intense looks from its main characters while the rest of the cast clown around trying and failing to be cool, funny or cute. The closest thing to genuine emotion is when Tobey is arrested and realises Dino set him up - it's a good scene, but a lonely one. This all, of course, begs comparison with The Fast and the Furious franchise.

Although Need for Speed impresses with its use of real stunts it fails to do the one thing that has sustained The Fast and the Furious movies - making watching all this ridiculous vehicular nonsense fun.

Cast: Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots
Director: Scott Waugh
Running Time: 131 mins
Rating: M (Adult themes)
Verdict: This speed thriller fails to fire.

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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