Need for Speed – A fitting game tribute!

by Yo Snyder

I am going to cut to the chase, I loved Need for Speed!  I am still trying to figure out if that has a lot to do with the fact that I did not expect much so what I got was way more than I asked for.  All the elements of this film worked really well for me.  The cars and race/chase sequences were the stars of the movie.  What little plot there was served only to graduate us through the amazing car sequences.  I use graduate as a verb of choice because this movie pays big time homage to the game in some very obvious and perhaps, not so obvious ways.  One was how the drivers start with lower end race cars and by the end of the movie, they are in multimillion dollar race cars.  The cars in this movie are amazing, and if half of them are real, the budget must have been staggering.  Another cool aspect of the movie is Need for Speed went old school and used minimal CGI and instead opted for real stunts and chase scenes.  I have heard varying opinions on this choice and I for one LOVED IT.  Seriously, given the choice between over the top CGI race scenes and the old school take it to the streets in real cars and do some really cool stuff, what would you rather have?  I for one will choose some Dukes of Hazzard action, thank you very much!

It’s worth pointing out that the movie is very clichéd in characters and plot.  Again, some people may criticize the storyline or acting, but I liked the choice.  All the actors did a fine job playing their parts.  Aaron Paul was great in his first big role (and I for one like him in some of his other lesser known movie roles).  But his role was to advance the storyline to the next awesome car race or chase scene, it’s just that simple.  There are some good laughs, some attempts and heartwarming moments, but again, all this serves as a backdrop to the car scenes.  I also want to say that the storyline fit the movie well.  I liked what they did with the story and it makes the movie a better movie for it.  All you older readers need to remember your 70s/80s car movies and you will appreciate a lot of what this movie accomplished!

Now, let me tell you my favorite aspect of the movie.  Its tribute to the game!  There are aspects of Need for Speed franchise all over this film.  From the heads up display in the car to the police chase in the final scene.  I was continuously commenting to my friends how well done the game tributes are performed.  I won’t spoil all of them, just sit back and enjoy one of the best race franchise games come to the big screen.  Definitely in my top 3 game to movies.

Before I score Need for Speed, I have to explain a bit.  Throughout the movie, I found myself enjoying it more and more.  Each car scene took it up a level, the movie did an excellent job of pacing and pulling us through the sequence of car races (similar to the game).  By the end of the movie, my adrenalin was on high and my smile was permanent.  It’s been a long time since I enjoyed a movie so much.  This is NOT a great film.  For that, it would need a much more meaningful story and more time for actors to develop their characters in a meaningful way.  But, it’s one of the most enjoyable films I have seen this year.  For that reason, it’s getting high marks from this reviewer!

Rating 6/7 – The movie is rated PG13 for some foul language and intense action scenes but all-in-all is a relatively tame PG-13.