Aaron Paul as Tobey Marshall
Dominic Cooper as Dino Brewster
Imogen Poots as Julia Maddon
Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi as Benny
Ramon Rodriguez as Joe
Rami Malek as Finn
Michael Keaton as Monarch
In theaters March 14
3 out of 5
Tobey Marshall and his dad loved cars, and when Tobey was old enough he began racing. He was also a mechanic along side his father at the garage which was the family business. After his father died, Tobey helped pay the mortgage on the shop by illegal street racing, but it has not been enough. When the shop is in danger of foreclosure Tobey is about to organize another race until a rival from his past shows up and offers him a deal. To finish rebuilding the last Mustang that Carroll Shelby was building for Ford, but never had the chance to finish. After a deal is brokered with a high roller to sell the car, Tobey would get a substantial cut of the profits. With the help of Julia, a dealer in exotic cars the deal is struck and done. Much to the displeasure of Tobey’s rival Dino the buyer takes a shine to Tobey and his work, especially since Tobey’s mechanic skills came through on the top speed of the engine.
As a result, Dino challenges Tobey and one of his crew members to a race. There is an accident, one that Dino causes leaving Tobey’s partner dead. Tobey was charged with manslaughter and sent to prison. Dino covered his tracks so that Tobey would take the fall. Tobey served his time and now he’s out for revenge. He wants to take Dino down. The only way to do that is in the Deleon. The prestige underground street race that is entry by invitation only. Created by a mysterious figure called The Monarch (Keaton), the Deleon is the pinnacle in street racing. The winner walks away with several high end cars and a mountain of cash. Tobey knows Dino is one of the contestants, so he has to gain the attention of the monarch to garner a spot in the race. Once he’s in, it’s payback time for Dino. Tobey breaks parole to go across country to get into the race, so he is risking his freedom to avenge his friend’s death. He’s also risking his life because Dino has put out a high bounty for anyone who can stop Tobey from entering the race.
Need for Speed is based on the Electronic Arts video game series of the same name. Usually when a game is brought to the screen it doesn’t hold up well, but if you are a fan, this film should be your cup of tea. Direct from his stint as meth cooker Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul is suitable as Tobey, a young man out to seek revenge while being a hell of a driver. With the range he has had from BB, Paul’s fabulous talent is used moderately well here. The other performances are likeable, especially Tobey’s crew, which includes Hip-Hop artist Kid Cudi and other enthusiastic young mavericks who are just as wild and reckless as their friend. Michael Keaton as the mysterious Monarch is somewhat interesting, but the characters are a little thin. Much like story structure in some of the games, the “story” is a flimsy premise for you to enjoy the racing. So I blame the screenwriter for lousy character development. The real stars of this film are the cars: Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, Koenigsegg Agera, Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, McLaren P1, Saleen S7, and of course the 2015 Shelby GT 500 Mustang . Yes you better believe there is a rush as you watch these horses run. Just hearing the Mustang’s engine roar will raise the hairs on the back of your neck.
Need For Speed is great for action, not acting. Come for the cars, stay for the cars! The thread of the story is incidental. If you’re a fan of the games, this might be worth a look. If you’re not a motor-head, you can wait for Netflix on this one.
Check out the trailer for “NEED FOR SPEED” below: