Need For Speed (2014)

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An adrenaline pumped film of awesome crazy car chases, real stunts and crashes. It’s territory that comes with obvious moments of the cliched characters and such but I wasn’t expecting the film that I watched and I was glad of that.

A moment of true nasty tactics and douchebagginess lifts the story up a notch giving Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) the drive of momentum in character progression. The film does feel weighted with predictability in occasions of boy meets girl…boy gets with girl, the loud and comedic sidekicks, the brooding and smirking villain (Dominic Cooper) and a Hollywood ending. I would have actually liked the ending before it cuts to a time lapse wrap up scenario. Also little things like Julia (Imogen Poots) being handed an iPad and Maverick/Benny (Scott Mescudi) getting to watch a race was ridiculous.

Aside from these gripes there was more of a plot than I expected there to be even with the nonsense like addition of Pete’s lighthouse vision which was clearly in there for emotional and visual relevance but it felt contrived. It’s a whirlwind of a film with close parallels to the game franchise of police pursuits, boosted drives with vertigo shots making roads seem to sprawl out in front of the car, cameras positioned behind the wheel to make you feel like you’re in the driving seat and insane stunts that felt deathly real. The choice to film and carry out these chases, flips and rolls for real and not use the way out of CGI benefited the movie hugely and makes it feel more dangerous and you end up holding your breath at moments where cars come colliding towards the screen. The entertaining and impressive part where the Mustang speeds and soars was damn cool.

Imogen Poots and Aaron Paul were the highlights for me if you took the incredible stunt work away and they worked as hard as they could with the typical stock characters given of avenging brave and loyal male and feisty attractive female to make them feel like they had extra layers. Poots was charming and sweet and ballsy too, her wide smile lights up her eyes and you smile too as she looks so darn happy when behind the wheel of the Mustang for the first time. Paul gives a great performance and stands up to the fore to prove himself as a leading man after his ‘Breaking Bad’ days. Michael Keaton was a surprise to the cast that I didn’t know about and he did well with a role that saw him orchestrating the final chase. He reminded me of a insanely chirpy version of Les Grossman from ‘Tropic Thunder’ in the way he spoke and behaved.

A glorious action driving film that shows off exciting car chases and perfectly executed stunts if not let down by obvious characters and a story that drags out towards an inevitable conclusion with a decision of 3D conversion that really wasn’t needed.

6/10

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