Need For Speed

Critics Consensus

With stock characters and a preposterous plot, this noisily diverting video game adaptation fulfills a Need for Speed and little else.

22%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 180

57%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 59,424
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Movie Info

Based on the most successful racing video game franchise ever with over 140 million copies sold, DreamWorks Pictures' "Need for Speed" captures the thrills of the game in a real-world setting. An exciting return to the great car-culture films of the 1960s and '70s, when authenticity brought a new level of intensity to the action, "Need for Speed" taps into what makes the American myth of the open road so enticing. The story chronicles a near-impossible cross-country race against time-one that begins as a mission for revenge, but proves to be one of redemption. In a last attempt to save his struggling garage, blue-collar mechanic Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul)-who with his team skillfully builds and races muscle cars on the side-reluctantly partners with wealthy, arrogant ex-NASCAR driver Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper). Just as a major sale to car broker Julia Bonet (Imogen Poots) looks like it will save the business, a disastrous, unsanctioned race results in Dino framing Tobey for manslaughter.(c) Disney

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Cast

Aaron Paul
as Tobey Marshall
Imogen Poots
as Julia Bonet
Dominic Cooper
as Dino Brewster
Alan Pflueger
as Flyin' Hawaiian
Brian L. Keaulana
as Right Seater
Logan Holladay
as "DJ" Joseph
Jalil Lynch
as Jimmy Macintosh
Nick Chinlund
as Officer Lejeune
Buddy Joe Hooker
as Detroit Cop #1
Tony Brakohiapa
as The Gooch
Brent Fletcher
as Texas Mike
Beth Weisenburger
as Investor's Wife
E. Roger Mitchell
as Detective #1
Antoni Corone
as Detective #2
Frank Brennan
as 60 Year Old Man
Tara Jones
as News Anchor
Han Soto
as News Producer
Jill Jane Clements
as Older Smaller Woman
Rick Shuster
as CHP Pilot
John Gatins
as Air Force Pilot
Kerry Gatins
as Teenage Waitress
Adora Dei
as Female EMT
Charles Black
as Preacher
Tierre Turner
as Detroit Cop #2
Mike Smith
as CHP #2
Chloe Warren
as Girl at the Bar
Chelsea Small
as Drive-In Fan
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Critic Reviews for Need For Speed

All Critics (180) | Top Critics (38)

Audience Reviews for Need For Speed

  • Feb 09, 2015
    A movie that tells the extended adventures of Jesse Pinkman after high tailing it out of New Mexico. But instead of being good it seems like they wanted another "fast cars go fast" franchise & makes you hate Hollywood executives.
    Patrick W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 01, 2014
    "Fast and Furious 7"-I mean... I didn't say anything at all. I don't know if this film is a rip-off, but it's either a spin-off to "Top Gun", or "Need for Speed: The Continuing Adventures of Jesse Pinkman"... or just a film based on the video game "Need For Speed" that just happens to feature Aaron Paul (Walker! It is a rip-off!). I don't know if there's any "just happens to" about this film's casting, because there's no way Paul didn't get ahold of this script, see the title, and then join the filmmakers in breaking out into a lung-cramping laugh. For goodness' sake, they brought Michael Keaton... probably back to life in this film, probably to trick that one idiot into thinking that the Batmobile will show up or something. This is fan service to somebody, and it's likely more of one to "Breaking Bad" fans than it is to fans of this video game, because seriously, movies based on video games haven't had that good of a track record, and this director is the same guy who did "Act of Valor". Jeez, I say that like people still remember "Act of Valor", or this video game series, for that matter, although, in all fairness, I don't exactly keep up with video games too much, and it even took me forever to get around to "Breaking Bad"... as in right after the series ended. Speaking of which, it's not like the popularity of this game series matters, because you know that most people are going to see this film to see Aaron Paul in something whose title references speed of some sort... and maybe to see if the Batmobile shows up, but don't go in expecting anything nearly as good as "Breaking Bad", or, well, as smart. George Gatins' script is as spotty as anything in this somewhat lazily basic action flick, and if it fails to get flimsy with storytelling, then it can always fall back on ludicrous set pieces and trite dialogue, punctuated by some forced and cornball comic relief which, for all its charm, rarely ameliorates the lazy sense of conventionalism that is almost more prominent within the characterization. Well-portrayed though they may be, the characters are very hard to get invested in, for they are so stock, disingenuous and, well, improbable, being consistent heights in clichés that never seem to abate in this paint-by-numbers gearhead fluff piece which does virtually nothing new with its handling of inconsequential subject matter. There's not any real juice in this brainless and weightless story concept, which is fluffy, and well-handled and fun on that level, but is essentially nothing special, with a great deal of laziness, and when the film tries, it tries too hard. I must admit that the quintessential death of a friend which wraps up this motor flick's development segment is nailed with surprisingly thorough effectiveness, but beyond that, the cloying sentimentality in Scott Waugh's direction only stresses how melodramatic this story is, that is, when dramatic elements are actually forced over a preposterous plot that only gets more ridiculous as it progresses, with over-the-top, overly dangerous action and an improbable series of events. No matter how fun, this film is nothing if not lame-brain, and yet, it still manages to be convoluted, forcing the shifts in its plotting, and crowbarring in one predictable element after another, bloating the film exhaustingly, until it comes out to a runtime of exactly 130 minutes. That is way, way, way too blasted long for a film this light in weight, which tries way too hard to endear viewers, but only distances them further with the excessiveness that, by contrast, emphasizes the lazy ludicrously, thinness and well, stupidity, of this utterly inconsequential, paint-by-numbers action flick. Enjoying this film is a matter of turning your brain off, a challenge that is pressing, and grows more so as the skull of the film, with the plot, thickens, but is doable, made easier by a cast that is probably more than this film deserves. This film drops the ball when it comes to drawing unique and distinguished, or even believable characters, yet it is working with a talented cast, which is given nothing to do, but does what it can, with Scott 'Kid Cudi' Mescudi, Ramón Rodríguez and Rami Malek, as the lead's improbably colorful and eccentric crew members, delivering on sparkling charm and chemistry, while the underused Michael Keaton, as a reclusive gearhead of an underground race competition host, and the cute Imogen Poots, as the somewhat grounded, yet cool female companion, sell. More than anything this film is a "vehicle" for Aaron Paul, whose flawed, but tough and human protagonist role is generic something awful, and makes Paul come off as a little flat, but plenty of confident charisma, and a couple key dramatic stretches, further reflect Paul's potential, and make the lead surprisingly endearing, a reflection of some sort of taste that is not within the storytelling, not unlike the film's original soundtrack. Now, the songs on the soundtrack are generally alright, to my surprise (Even a borderline butchery of covers of "Fortunate Son", "Back in the Saddle" and "All Along the Watchtower" are okay), but it's Nathan Furst's score that most impresses, probably more than it should, featuring some touching post-rock and ambient elements, punctuated by edgier, neoclassical and industrial flavors that, while formulaic, are creative enough to grip on a musical level, and in the context of the film's most tense moments. Also more aesthetically sound than it probably should be is Shane Hurlbut's cinematography, which is not special enough to be consistently stunning, especially when almost haunting darker shots are abandoned, yet is crisp in definition and broad enough in scale to draw you in, polishing lavish visuals that range from distinct settings, to cars that, practically pornographic in their presentation to gearheads, are just plain gorgeous, you know, up until they soar through debris or get smashed to bits. To be so blasted long, this film is constantly moving, and just before it gets a chance to slow-down, action-packed racing or chase sequences are brought to play, well worth waiting for, what with the whipflash pace, high-flying dynamics and brutal chaos, all backed by a lively, if frantic style that goes defined by dynamic camera angles, noisy sound design, and Paul Rubell's and Scott Waugh's flashy editing. Whether he be co-editing the action or directing it, Waugh's efforts really come to life amidst largely inconsequential, but wildly entertaining action, and outside of that, there's not much in the way of realization in his handling of a simultaneously lame-brain and overblown story, although what he does handle with some inspiration endears enough to save the final product. This film would have fallen flat if it wasn't for one key factor: entertainment value, because for all of its stupidity, excess and flatness, the final product is always a whole lot of fun, with enough redeeming qualities to make it a decent, if flimsy watch. When the speed finally dies down, the final product all but crashes and burns against its own inconsequentiality, stressed by trite scripting, paper-thin characterization, cliches, sentimental melodramatics, ever-intensifying ridiculousness, and a convolutedly excessive plot and runtime, but through a charismatic cast, excellent score and cinematography, lavish visuals, stellar action and lively, tightly paced direction, Scott Waugh's "Need for Speed" manages to inch its way into decency as a fun and reasonably endearing, if lame-brain and inconsequential, pain-by-numbers motor action flick. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Sep 22, 2014
    When this movie was first announced, and the trailers started appearing, I thought to myself that Aaron Paul deserved better. If you've followed this guy's career, more specifically if you've watched Breaking Bad, then you know how good this guy is as an actor. In my opinion, he is the heart and soul of Breaking Bad as Walt, the protagonist, heads to a darker place with each ensuing season as he heads down the path towards becoming a meth kingpin, stepping on anyone who gets in his way, Jesse, Aaron's character, is the conscience of the show. Your allegiances slowly shift, as the series progresses, towards Jesse as he grows more and more sympathetic despite his flaws. So I was a little disappointed that his first 'big' post-Breaking Bad project, the first thing people not familiar with the show would see of him, is a videogame adaptation. With that said, while this role doesn't really give him that much to do, he still does a good job with what he was given. He doesn't get to showcase how good he can actually be, well he does in one or two scenes, for maybe 3 seconds, but he's absolutely fine here. His character doesn't say much and his motivations are really quite simple. He's out to get revenge for his buddy, whose fatal accident was caused by the resident douchebag Dino. Tobey, Aaron's character, spent two years in prison for manslaughter because Dino paid off someone and made it look like the race only involved 2 people instead of 3. Simple and to the point. Of course Tobey's revenge comes in the form of a clandestine, cross-country race. Don't really understand how winning this race, and humiliating Dino, will make up for the death of his closest friend but let's go with that. Yes, the movie is preposterous. This doesn't seem, to me, to be a very valid complaint. How many superhero films are released every goddamn year? Films with Norse gods possessing a cube that creates a wormhole allowing him to cross over into our world with an army of an extraterrestrial race in order to take over our entire planet. And YET, a film about a cross-country race is preposterous? Come on now, let's have a bit of perspective here. I realize suspension of disbelief is very important, and maybe this film didn't really manage to do that. Because, after all, superhero films are clearly set in a completely different universe, where the laws of science, physics, and logic do not apply. For all intents and purposes, this film is set in the "real" world. SO perhaps that's where this 'preposterous' complaints come from. But I digress, I honestly did not think this film was that bad. Is it gonna win any awards for film of the year? Of course not. I mean someone with a podcast might claim it as his/her favorite film of the year, but by and large, this is gonna be a one-and-done film. And, for what it is, I'm not trying to pretend this is anything more than what it is, this is a decent movie at best. Notice that I said decent. It's got a certain B-movie charm about it that was endearing. It certainly helps not taking it seriously. Of course you could make that case with any shit film you come across, that was made in earnest, so that might be a poor excuse for some. For the most part, the film is fairly simple and the "story" is pretty much there to get you to the next action sequences and those are pretty good themselves. Nothing that will rival anything in The Raid 2, my favorite film of the year, along with The Lego Movie, and one of the best action films ever made, but they're still decent. The movie being called Need for Speed it, obviously, required some fast cars and chases. I think it definitely lives up to its title. While this is obviously heavily influenced by the Fast and Furious series, the fact is that FF has moved away from focusing strictly on the racing aspect and mixing it up with different elements, still centered on action, but not just one facet of the genre. And Fast and Furious is better for it, because it has given that franchise a well-needed creative boost. A new lease on life if you will. With that said, the racing action genre is pretty anemic and I think NFS somewhat fills that hole. Does it do it successfully or not, then that is up to the audience to decide. I thought it was fairly well-done. Aaron Paul also has a pretty easygoing chemistry with Imogen Poots, who he's "stuck" with in the car for most of the film, and that gave the film a surprisingly entertaining aspect. They were legitimately entertaining together and Imogen reveals a goofier side that makes her incredibly charming. Outside of the racing sequences themselves, those two were the highlight of the film and it sucked that, basically, the last half hour of the film she was pretty much absent. I think she legitimately added something to the film. And, you know how the memes go, but Julia and Tobey were still a better love story than Twilight. I still think Aaron Paul, and by extension Imogen Poots, deserve better, but this wasn't NEARLY as bad a film as I was expecting. It's not good or anything, but it's a decent enough action film. Silly, goofy, and ridiculous but charming in a B-movie way, nothing more nothing less.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Sep 13, 2014
    Despite the fact that the car chases are refreshingly the product of mostly good old fashioned stunt work and Aaron Paul's emotional intensity is always welcome, the over two hour running time is way too long for a silly racing film.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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