The Need For Speed Movie Is Great And Terrible

Aaron Paul steps into the driver's seat and while the action is great, the story is ham-handed and the dialogue is at times cringeworthy.

The Need for Speed movie is both great and terrible. I saw a screening of the film in Boston last month and what the 130-minute action flick boils down is this: it is full of hits and misses. Let me explain why.

BAD: It Has A Throwaway Story

It's the cliched and overdone narrative of a man framed for a crime he did not commit who sets out on a cross-country adventure seeking vengeance. It does not get more formulaic than this. All the characters are completely one-dimensional and you'll cringe during a lot of the dialogue.

GOOD: The Action Is Fantastic

The movie has no CGI. None at all. Director Scott Waugh, who comes from an extensive stunt background (his father even played Spider-Man on the 1978 TV show The Amazing Spider-Man), said he did not want to lie to the audience using green screens, so he simply didn't. Everything you see in the movie--explosions, cars driving off cliffs, hairpin turns at breakneck speeds--actually happened in the real world. It's even more impressive when you consider Aaron Paul is behind the wheel for many of the scenes.

BAD: Michael Keaton Is Unused

He plays a wealthy and eccentric elite race organizer who never leaves his secret residence, communicating only through an advanced communications network. Seriously. He's featured in a handful of scenes in the movie (probably shot in one day) and he's always sitting in this one room. It's a real shame the very talented Keaton is so unused in the movie.

GOOD: It's Funny

There are some genuinely funny scenes in the movie, many of which come from Paul's group of car mechanic friends. Without giving too much away, the movie presents a hilarious way to quit your job in your underwear (thank you, Rami Malek) and Scott "Kid Cudi" Mescudi steals the show with his frequently hilarious one-liners. These scenes represent a bright spot for the film's writing and story, but they aren't enough to make up for its shortcomings.

BAD: Aaron Paul Doesn't Deliver

Simply put, his performance did nothing for me. Thematically speaking, the Need for Speed movie is similar to Breaking Bad in that Paul undergoes terrible loss and is out for vengeance. What he did so well in Breaking Bad does not translate to Need for Speed. His performance here comes across as forced and without spirit. I was definitely hoping for more from him. And it doesn't help that he sounds like Christian Bale's Batman in every scene.

GOOD: Car Lover's Dream

As you'd expect from a movie bearing the Need for Speed name, the film is stacked with supercars people like me and you can only dream about. I'm talking about Bugattis, Koenigseggs, Lamborghinis, and McLarens just to name a few. The movie even serves as the theatrical debut for the Ford Shelby GT500, which plays a pivotal role in the movie's story and manages to not come across as one long advertisement for the Detroit car maker. But it also goes deeper. The film is a throwback of sorts to classic car films, featuring homages to classic car movies like Vanishing Point and Bullitt, and it even recreates that epic last scene from Thelma & Louise. If you like fast cars, this movie has everything you need and then some.

VERDICT

I can only recommend you see the Need for Speed movie in theaters if your local movieplex has a $5 Tuesday offer or something similar. The racing/action scenes are no doubt better on the big-screen, but the ham-handed story and clumsy dialogue weighs the experience down too far for it to be a truly enjoyable movie.

The most recent entry in the Need for Speed video game series was 2013's Need for Speed: Rivals for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Need for Speed comes to theaters Friday, March 14. It stars Aaron Paul as the protagonist Tobey Marshall pitted against Domic Cooper, who plays the bad guy Dino Brewster. Supporting the two leads are Michael Keaton, Imogen Poots, Scott Mescudi, Rami Malek, Ramon Rodriguez, Harrison Gilbertson, and Dakota Johnson.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Want the latest news about Need for Speed: Rivals?

Need for Speed: Rivals

Need for Speed: Rivals

Discussion

149 comments
brxricano
brxricano

I hate to ruin that last pro for you there but uh, all of those cars are knockoffs of the real thing, rehacked chassis, body kits, and all. Sorry but you were actually staring at remodeled versions of all those unimpressive "poor people" cars we all appreciate every day. Oh wait, I don't hate to ruin that for you. Post comment.

SexyMiralda
SexyMiralda

Saw the movie just now and it is terrible. Action sequences are alright but nothing memorable.

JtheGrind
JtheGrind

Keaton was hilarious in this movie...I thought he was casted pefectly.

dom28
dom28

the movie is great and terrible? More like shit and unbearable.

MasterTheHero
MasterTheHero

I met the cinematographer for this movie and we he showed us the action scenes, I just knew it was going to be amazing. But obviously the acting and the story were going to be stupid. I'll definitely give this at least a rental when it's available for stream.

001011000101101
001011000101101

"...the action is great, the story is ham-handed and the dialogue is at times cringeworthy." 

Oh so it's like any triple-A video game on the market.

Bowser05
Bowser05

I'll wait until it's on Netflix. It looks like it'll be a fun movie to watch...but not a good one.

Blackwand
Blackwand

Were we supposed to expect anything different?  It's a movie based on a racing game without a story.

lsdbaby
lsdbaby

A film adapted from a video game sucks?


As a wise parrot once said; "I'm going to have a heart attack and die from not-surprise."

MN121MN
MN121MN

Can't feel surprised the story is practically non-existent....

TooCoolForYou
TooCoolForYou

I'm waiting for the game based on this movie. Need for Speed the movie: The Game.

xand3rro
xand3rro

Yo, better luck next time...bitch.

Smithofborg
Smithofborg

I Hate Aaron Paul >.>
he's the main reason why I won't be watching this

reddevilofhell
reddevilofhell

Gamespot seeing how bad you are going on with doing game reviews, I think its time to quit and call this site MovieSpot.com instead.

euphoric666
euphoric666

This movie should have been done by MIchael Bay.

incrediblmullet
incrediblmullet

Still better the DOOM....the movie which goes into "Game Mode" mid scene.....

dmblum1799
dmblum1799

To Aaron Paul:


Actors make choices on scripts and directors. With Breaking Bad you made the right choice (or got lucky). With this you made the wrong one.

veryDERPY
veryDERPY

there was a need for speed movie some years ago...it's called tokyo drift

ECH71
ECH71

Well the games were never renown for their story so... wth made them think making a motion picture based on this series is a good idea?

leikeylosh
leikeylosh

Well, it could be worst. At least the movie has something good in it. Could be a complete sh*t.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

"Dino Brewster"?! Are you kidding me? That probably sums my expectations for this movie. A lot of what Makuch has wrote here comes as little surprise, with the one exception being the thing about Keaton. That's really disappointing.

If I want cars and action, I'll play the games.

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

The $5 dollar Tuesday line made me laugh.

Heisenberg1
Heisenberg1

Soooo is this site doing movies now? 

wolv25
wolv25

Need For Speed oryginal is only game.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

@brxricano  Oh really? We totally thought that they just crashed, blew up and destroyed millions worth sports cars just to make the movie. Good thing you pointed it out.......


Not.

brxricano
brxricano

@kitmeep I thought he'd have gone the way of horror, since he mastered how to "mentally snap and adapt". But I shrug in my film industry inexperience I suppose? I think he should Mark Wahlberg or Dwayne Johnson it. Walk on eggshells until everything clicks for him.

d-man
d-man

@reddevilofhell  You know what the problem with "everyone's a comedian" is? Everyone's not a comedian.

heraSKK
heraSKK

@incrediblmullet  i actually liked that scene... yeah the movie was bad, but that scene clicked so good and was so unexpected that i laughed so hard, it almost saved the movie...almost...

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator moderator

@kitmeep  Not true necessarily. Somehow Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness, etc. was still able to read the terrible dialogue in the first 3 Star Wars and actual gave it a sort of charm. If the actor is good enough, and the chemistry between characters is strong enough a bad script can be overcome.

Kos1c
Kos1c

@ECH71 A knock off from the fast and the furious 106. But all honestly, a racing game being made into a movie, that's just a wasted wallet tbh. Could've spent that money on a good video game and made a slightly better (but still a bad) movie.

PayneKiller
PayneKiller

@AuronAXE  there's a $2 Tuesday one close to where I live.

But its usually loaded with senior citizens...

Tylermaxx
Tylermaxx

@Sefrix Isn't that what you guys have been trying to do all along? 

Kaeban
Kaeban

@heraSKK Agreed. It's the scene that actually makes you remember that you saw the movie...

Tylermaxx
Tylermaxx

@NeoMortiny no! it was not your nor anyones favourite. You dont know what you like. Shhhsss!

jarusa
jarusa

@Kos1c @ECH71  Could be worse, it could be a movie based on a board game...I am talking to you Battleship.

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator moderator

@PayneKiller Senior citizens watching Need for Speed are my kind of grandpa.

Tylermaxx
Tylermaxx

@kitmeep Just because they kept him around in one role in his career doesn't make him a great actor. Eventhough extremely well known, look at brad pitt, how he pulls playing a god in Troy and playing a gypsy in Snatch, and than goes on and plays the most amazing memorable character in Babel, and is able to pull of Fight Club extremely nicely.... That is a noteworthy acting skill... Not saying "Yo! Mr. White" in a fancy way :) 


I have nothing against Aaron Paul actually, I think he is good at Breaking Bad, but we have yet to see his true colours.