Need for Speed is based on the video game series of the same name, so it's not too difficult to guess if this film's going to be a hit or not. It follows the story of mechanic and street racer, Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul). After being set up by his ex-partner, Dino (Dominic Cooper) and planted in jail for a few years, Tobey is out for revenge and redemption. To do so, he joins a cross country race in which he intends on defeating his old partner.
Need for Speed is nothing more than another Fast and Furious wannabe. I've always found it a bit harsh that every film about criminals participating in street races are referred to as Fast and Furious wannabes, but it's true. This handful of films are also all terrible movies, and Need for Speed is no exception. It's nothing amazing, but I was at least hoping it would give a little more effort. From the trailers and certainly from the cast, this film looked as if it actually cared about the film they were making. It seemed like it was going to be a step forward for the video game to movie adaptations, but it's not, and for me that was the biggest let down.
The cast clearly look like they're trying. Need for Speed rounds up quite a cast, but unfortunately this cast aren't given a decent screenplay to work with. Need for Speed features some atrocious and unrealistic dialogue, yet the cast still make an attempt at making these lines sound like they belong. Aaron Paul is a phenomenal actor, the TV Show Breaking Bad in particular, but even his performance isn't enough to pull this film through. He's got the skills, but he doesn't have the material.
The action is rarely fun. The majority of the audience for this film go into it expecting fun, high octane action sequences. Does Need for Speed deliver the speed that the audience need? Terrible joke aside, no. There's a few decent stunts here and there, but for the most part it just doesn't work. There's a scene which involves one car jumping over several other cars, but this is about the only highlight of the film. The chase sequences have been done before and they'll be done again. It's never fun to see the same mediocre action sequences repeated in multiple movies.
The film goes at a pace that's much slower than it needs to be. The film takes a full thirty minutes to get past its prologue, a length that's beyond necessary. This thirty minutes comes to a conclusion when Tobey ends up in jail, yet it easily could have been no longer than ten minutes. Because of this extended hiccup, the film clocks in at a total of 132 minutes, a runtime that's easily 45 minutes longer than it needed to be.
To sum up, Need for Speed is another Fast and Furious wannabe with unoriginal and dull action sequences, cringe-worthy dialogue, a slow pace and a bloated runtime. The cast do their best, but not even Aaron Paul can save this terrible movie.
1 1/2 Stars