Fast cars, high speed chases and revenge make Need For Speed this week’s popcorn flick. Starring Aaron Paul and Dominic Cooper, this video game adaptation neither contributes nor takes away from the source material.

The Players:

  • Director: Scott Waugh
  • Writers: George Gatins
  • Starring: Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, Scott Mescudi, Rami Malek, Ramon Rodriguez and Michael Keaton
  • Music: Nathan Furst
  • Cinematography: Shane Hurlbut


Tobey Marshall (Paul) is framed for the death of a friend by his ex-racing rival Dino Brewster (Cooper). It takes place after an accident, stemming from their joint business venture. Brewster lets Marshall take the fall and walks away with their money and the girl Marshall loved. A few years later, Marshall’s released from prison and is out for revenge. He teams up with the representative (Poots) of a car collector he’s worked for to expose Brewster. But when Brewster discovers his ex-partner’s intentions, he places a bounty on his head.

The Good:

  • Action Packed: This movie is a car stunt romp around the country. It harkens back to the chase movies of the 70s and 80s. The racing scenes play out like visual candy with death defying feats and wicked maneuvers. The cinematography gives us plenty angles to take in this adrenaline filled world.
  • Strong Cast: The camaraderie between the cast is genuine. Despite being separated from his team for years, Marshall and Co. pick up right where they left off. You cheer them on as they seek justice for the loss of their fallen friend. The scene where Finn (Malek) resists giving up his cubicle job in order to join the adventure is a particularly entertaining. Paul has moments that show him as more than Pinkman but it wasn’t given enough to fully break out of that character.
  • The Girl Isn’t Just ‘The Girl’: Imogen Poots plays Julia Maddon, the rep for the exotic car collector who has to babysit Marshall as he gets to the race. When she’s introduced she plays along with the assumption that ‘She’s just a pretty girl, before geeking out over the car Marshall rebuilds showing that she’s much more. Later, when she accompanies Marshall to the big race, she provides a character that’s more than an accessory or love interest. Their romance is founded on bonding as friends and she helps him because it’s the right thing to do. There was no damsel in distress. She’s a quirky girl that adapts to situations she’s thrown into.

The So-So:

  • The Bad Guy: Cooper’s Brewster is underused as he only appears in a handful of scenes. Actually, most of the people who go after Marshall are quite forgettable. In the beginning, Brewster makes some truly villainous choices, but for most of the movie he falls by the wayside. There isn’t a real build-up for him and Marshall’s final showdown.
  • Homages: There were a few homages to the Need for Speed video game that made it into the film. Most were subtle but some detracted from the story. At one point the screen is filled with a map of the game, which didn’t translate well.

The Bad:

  • The Script: A lot of the dialogue felt like filler and wasn’t well thought out. It leaves you wondering, “Who actually talks like that?” If it wasn’t for the cast’s commitment to their lines, the movie would have suffered more.


Need for Speed is a decent flick to catch for mindless fun. It won’t blow your mind but it will help pass the time until blockbuster season arrives. It’s no Fast & Furious, but who really expects it to be? If they win over those car movie junkies, they’ve got the right cast to build their own franchise.

The Rating: 6/10

Need for Speed opens in theaters March 14.

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Will you be seeing Need for Speed this weekend?