Plot: What’s it about?
Based on the popular video game series, Need for Speed failed to click with audiences when it hit theaters. The critics were also less than kind, but, despite the cliches, cheesy dialogue and bad acting, the film can be a lot of fun. It delivers on its promise of daring car races and stunts and doesn’t ask a lot of its audience outside of turning off your brain for a couple of hours. Aaron Paul plays Tobey Marshal, he and his friends spend their time working on cars and shooting the breeze. One day Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) offers them a task – Rebuild a Shelby Cobra for him in exchange for 25% of the cars selling price. Since Dino and Tobey have a checkered history together, some of Tobey’s crew are hesitant at first, but Tobey assures them that it’s essential they complete the task since business has been struggling for a long time. Tobey and his crew complete the task and the Shelby is completed. Instead of taking the money and walking away, Tobey accepts an another offer from Dino. He challenges Tobey to another race. This time, if Dino wins the race Tobey will have to forfeit the money they were paid for the previous task. If Tobey wins, they’re to get the entire loot from the Shelby. During the race, Tobey’s friend is killed and Dino frames him for his friend’s murder. Since Dino flees the scene and stows the car away, there’s no physical evidence that he was ever involved in the race. Tobey is sentenced to two years in prison. Once released, he vows to get revenge on Dino. After he learns of Tobey’s plan to join a cross-country race, he puts a bounty on his head.
Aaron Paul is best known for his role on TV’s Breaking Bad, but prior to Need for Speed, he wasn’t tested as a leading man. He does a decent job here, but lacks the memorable screen presence that another actor might’ve brought to this role. He mostly stares deep and his gravely voice can seem more comical than anything else. Still, he’s likeable enough to never become too distracting. Imogene Poots shows up here as well as an exotic car dealer who decides to ride along with Tobey. She’s easy on the eyes and is a nice lighter side to the more serious nature of the Tobey character. I could’ve done without the Michael Keaton character. He hosts an underground radio show, and narrates the race. Keaton is clearly having a good time here, but I found him irritating after a while. The other characters fare about little better. They can start to annoy after a while, but it’s never too bad. The film features plenty of car chases and should give its audience what they expect. I don’t think anyone seeing a film named Need for Speed will complain by what’s in store for them here. This film will likely suffer from many comparisons to the Fast and Furious films, but it stands on its own. I enjoyed the Fast films more, though. It could use some editing at times as the plot tends to meander a bit, but it gets my recommendation, because it’s a lot of fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Video: How’s it look?
The transfer here is universally solid on all fronts. The colors are nice and bold, with no fading or softness of any kind. The print is shiny and free of flaws and other distracting problems. Flesh tones were nice and smooth and details strong throughout. Background shots displayed nice details as well. In short, the transfer will satisfy fans. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.39:1 ratio.
Audio: How’s it sound?
With a film like this you wouldn’t want anything less than a knockout track. You get just that here. The DTS HD track fully delivers in full force. All channels remained very active and there was a nice bass on a number of occasions, specifically during the many car chases. I noticed a few pictures on the wall actually ratting a little bit. It’s as if you could feel the exhaust pipes blowing fumes at you. This track fully involves you and makes for quite an enjoyable experience. Oh, and the vocals are also strong here, but that comes second to the exhausting action sequences.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – This track features the Director and star, Aaron Paul. Fans will want to check it out as it offers some fairly decent information.
- Capturing Speed: Making an Authentic Car Movie – This is a brief featurette that features the usual “Talking heads”. We learn about the differences between CGI and a more authentic vibe.
- Ties that Bind – Is another short featurette that focuses more on the crew and their family and personal relationship.
- The Circus is in Town – This takes a look at the cast and crew and what it’s like for them to work together for a long period while filming. A few members of the cast and crew had birthdays during filming the movie as well. We also learn how the weather affected the filming on a few occasions.
- The Sound of Need for Speed – The title pretty much tells you what to expect here. We learn about the sound mixing and the use of 7.1 surround. Sound buffs and those who are interested in more of the craft behind creating the sound will get more out of this than me. Admittedly, it is fairly interesting, but I was never that curious as to how the sound was created.
- Deleted Scenes – The director provides an intro before these sequences telling us where they would’ve fit into the film and why they were deleted. They were fun to see, but nothing was crucial to the story, and the film was long enough as is.
- Monarch and Maverick Outtakes – A small collection of bloopers that feature the Michael Keaton character.
- Trailer – Need for Speed Rivals
- Digital Copy