Jesse’s Braking Just Fine In ‘Need For Speed’ (Movie Review)

Need For Speed TNAlright, let’s set the record straight.  I like Aaron Paul.  I like his work in Breaking Bad and the remake of The Last House on the Left, but I have my reservations going into Need For Speed last Thursday evening.  For starters, it’s based off of a video game.  Now let’s all be honest with ourselves here.  How many great films are there out there that are based off of a video game?  The only ones that I can think of that are remotely successful are the Resident Evil films, but to call them good would be a huge stretch.  But hey…I understand.  You got to capitalize while the property is hot and while I’m not a huge fan of the Electronic Arts need For Speed series, there’s no denying their presence and domination over the competition throughout the lifespan of the last three generations of major gaming consoles.  So what the hell.  I’m a sucker for car flicks.  And when I found out that the new 2015 Ford Mustang would be making an appearance in here I said where do I sign up?  

So like I said, Need For Speed is a direct adaptation of the series of video games by Electronic Arts.  It is directed by Scott Waugh off a script written by George and John Gatins.  The plot simply revolves around street racer/mechanic Tobey Marshall (Paul), framed for a crime he did not commit, who is out breaking parole on the streets dead set on avenging the death of his friend, which I won’t divulge anymore on.  Dominic Cooper plays the bad guy.  There’s a couple love interests.  All in all, sounds simple enough, right?  Good.  I agree.  And before I move on I guess I should mention the film also features the faces of Michael Keaton (a really wacky appearance), Kid Cudi, Rami Malek, Dakota Johnson and more.

Where do I start?  How about we talk about expectations first?  Obviously, my expectations were extremely low going into this.  I was not a fan of the trailers so other than enjoying the fast cars, which I love, I had no idea of what else I would positively take away from this.  My thought was simply this.  It’s a press screening.  If it’s bad, it’s sure better than paying any day…so what the hell?!  The outcome…dun, dun, dah…satisfied.  I left the theater a satisfied customer with an obvious yearning to drive fast and furious.  Yes, the film started out with a Fast & Furious familiar kind of vibe to it, but then kind of spun into something of its own, for the most part.  However, if I had to compare it to any film in the F&F franchise, I would say this mostly felt like Tokyo Drift, for what it’s worth.  You hear that, Gregg Senko?  You happy?  Is that what kind of dirt you were hoping for?

Let’s talk about the pleasant surprise here first.  No, it wasn’t the car.  Yes, the custom 2014 Mustang stole the show for me regardless of the rest of the film, but I’m not talking about that right now.  I want to spend a moment dishing on actor Aaron Paul.  I think my heartache here comes from the fact that I found him to be a bit typecast from his role as Jesse in Breaking Bad even though he’s been in other things.  I just can’t look at him and not think about the word…B1tch.  LOL.  However, rest assured, after watching Need For Speed I have no harsh qualms with his performance.  He’s still Kori Kemerer’s favorite onscreen kisser and I truly do think he can hold his own in future features.  I saw a lot of “Jessie” still in him, but I say give him some time and a few years away from Breaking Bad and we’ll be seeing a lot more from him and of him, I hope.  And what can I say about Michael Keaton other than what I said before.  Wacky!  He basically plays a lunatic disc jockey who’s rich enough to host his own racing event and smart enough to evade law enforcement year after year.  I guess you’ll just have to see it to know what I’m talking about here.  The rest of Jesse’s friends are very remember here so again I have no harsh remarks to make about the cast at all.  I think the chemistry between everyone was what kept me engaged and enjoying myself, not to mention an office quitting nude streaking scene.

Okay, okay…now we can talk about the real star of the show…the Mustang!  Yes!  It’s no surprise.  The Ford Mustang is my favorite car.  I own a 2006 Mustang GT Premium and I wouldn’t want any other car.  Not an Audi.  Not a Corvette.  Not even a Bentley.  Okay…let’s be serious for a moment…maybe a Bentley.  LOL.  But seriously, I consider myself owning my dream car and you best be sure I park it in BFE when I go shopping since it’s now my daily driver down here in cold a$$ Austin, TX.  Like the Mustang in last year’s Getaway, this custom Stang had me at hello the first time I heard the pony purr.  So the story goes a little something like this.  Tobey and his mechanic/racer friends are employed by Cooper’s rival character to finish building the Mustang that Caroll Shelby, a man who needs NO introduction, was working on with Ford before he died.   The idea is to sell the car at auction once complete for 3 million dollars and Toeby and friends will yield about 25% of the profit.  That’s not too bad for a day of work, huh?  And let’s face it…Tobey (don’t we all) needs the money to save his mechanic shop and stay afloat of the piling bills.  Long story short, the Mustang sells.  However, don’t worry, we’ll see it again and again and if you’re a muscle car enthusiast like myself, you’ll be drooling over every onscreen rev.  The car may not be much in the looks department, but it has it where it counts if you know what I mean and the only thing missing is a capable driver…and that’s where Tobey comes in!  Let’s just say the car assists him on his search for revenge.  That’s all I’m saying on that.

So where are we now?  Oh why not?  Let’s talk about the stunts.  I heard a rumor that everything was employed throughout without the use of hefty CG, but seriously?  A Mustang can’t fly!  It’s a powerful car, but it can’t soar over a highway and still keep ticking upon impact.  Other than that one scene, I had a lot of fun here.  It was a wild romp across the United States and I’m glad I got in the passenger seat.  Sure, it was a bumpy ride at times, but there’s plenty of humor and peril to go around here so I stayed engaged throughout.   The film actually had a reason for existing unlike the lunacy of Getaway last year.  I think gear heads will at least get a kick out of this.  If you can sit through a Fast and Furious film and enjoy yourself, I think you’re safe here too in my opinion.

I think the only thing missing here for me (other than what we obviously know is wrong with this film) is a truly unique, fresh story.  There’s plenty of conflict abound, but it seems forced.  Therefore, my favorite Mustang takes off here and finishes first place in my heart, but not the plot so much.  Its tires get a few flats here and there, but thankfully the humor, Aaron’s charisma and onscreen chemistry and of course my favorite pony gets me jazzed up and ultimately a fan of this one.  Just don’t get suckered into the 3-D.  It’s not!  It’s a post convert, and a pretty damn bad one.  It’s like watching the reboot of Clash of the Titans all over again in the theater without Gemma Arterton.  Who wants to waste money on that, eh?  And last but not least, you will get a glimpse of the new 5.0 liter 2015 Mustang GT in red.  Its introduction is every bit as iconic as Bumblebee’s new makeover in the first Transformers flick, but damn…I miss those big round fog lights in the grille.  However, if I was going to get this car in any color, it would be the red one shown here.  So for what it’s worth, from one gear head to another, give this flick a test drive if you get a chance.  I think you can at least have a good time with a matinee.  And if you can, avoid the film’s theatrical trailer at all costs because I viewed it after I saw the film and it gives EVERYTHING away.  Word to the wise, yo.  Buckle up, drive safe and enjoy!

Need For Speed Movie Poster


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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