Kyle J. Steenblik

Aaron Paul plays down his Need For Speed

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need_for_speed_ver3_xlrgNeed For Speed is big dumb, expensive, fun, if you are inclined to enjoy watching cars drive fast, recklessly, and crash sometimes, this would be your film.  Surprising as it may sound, it also had a fair story, and some pretty entertaining dialogue.  Enough so that I, not a car or racing enthusiast, found Need For Speed to be enjoyable, and amusing.  What can I say?  It was dumb, but I was entertained.

When I say they had a fair story, I don’t mean they had a complex and dynamic narrative that drove the story.  What I mean is, they had a story, they stuck to it, and they blasted through the plot holes as if they weren’t even there.  Pretty much just like the video game on which this film is based, the story is really only a vehicle to deliver the cars to the race.  However, they did seem to take it seriously.  Except maybe for Michael Keaton, who masticated the scenery as if it was his personal plaything and just happened to allow the audience to watch.  His role in the film was tenuous at best, however to remove him would be like taking something out of a car that makes the car desirable without affecting its overall being a car.  I know nothing about automobiles so forgive that massacre of an analogy.  Keaton delivers the vast majority of entertaining dialogue, leaving a few scraps for the rest of the cast.  Aaron Paul had a few good lines he was able to deliver effectively.  He has a method of delivering some fairly bland lines of dialogue yet makes them ironically hilarious.

Based on the most successful racing video game franchise ever with over 140 million copies sold, DreamWorks Pictures’ “Need for Speed” captures the thrills of the game in a real-world setting. An exciting return to the great car-culture films of the 1960s and ‘70s, when authenticity brought a new level of intensity to the action, “Need for Speed” taps into what makes the American myth of the open road so enticing.

The story chronicles a near-impossible cross-country race against time — one that begins as a mission for revenge, but proves to be one of redemption. In a last attempt to save his struggling garage, blue-collar mechanic Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) — who with his team skillfully builds and races muscle cars on the side — reluctantly partners with wealthy, arrogant ex-NASCAR driver Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper). Just as a major sale to a car broker Julia Bonet (Imogen Poot) looks like it will save the business, a disastrous, unsanctioned race results in Dino framing Tobey for manslaughter.

Two years later and fresh out of prison, Tobey is set on revenge with plans to take down Dino in the high-stakes De Leon race — the Super Bowl of underground racing. To get there in time, Tobey must run a high-octane, action-packed gauntlet, dodging cops coast-to-coast and dealing with fallout from a dangerous bounty Dino put on his car. With his loyal crew and the surprisingly resourceful Julia as allies, Tobey defies odds at every turn and proves that even in the flashy world of exotic supercars, the underdog can still finish first.

Director-Scott-Waugh-Need-For-Speed-570x294The real treasure of this film is the car work.  Again, I know next to nothing about cars so the exotic million dollar vehicles were mostly wasted on me.  What I learned was they were expensive, and went very fast, and they crash spectacularly.  All of the stunt work was practical.  Meaning there was no CG work, and every stunt you see was done once.  It is impressive work that even a very non-car guy like me can appreciate and admire.  We found out about a lot of this when our own Jasen sat down with Arron Paul and Scott Waugh to talk Need for Speed.  

Ultimately Need for Speed is an enjoyable and entertaining film.  It is goofy and seems to refuse to take itself too seriously.  It is easy to walk away from this film having had a lot fun.  It could easily turn into a franchise, and one I would not mind hanging around.  8 out of 10.

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