Saturday, March 22, 2014

Need For Speed Review

I've never been much of a gamer in my life, but if you did see me on a gaming console there's a good chance that I was playing a sports game or a racing game. Specifically, my favorite gaming franchise was almost easily Need For Speed. When the Need For Speed movie was announced, admittedly I was really nervous. Why are they turning my favorite game into a movie? Video game movies never work! After coming to terms with the idea, I decided that if they were going to make this movie, there were four things that the movie needed to have if they were going to do the game justice: super fancy cars, awesome high speed races, intense police hot pursuits, and over-the-top crashes. Those were my terms. When the trailers came out, I went from nervous to excited because it appeared that they were going to do it right. Did they? You bet they did! So let's jump in!

First off, I need to talk about the stars of this movie. And no, I'm not talking about Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, and Michael Keaton, although they were nice supplements. I'm talking about the cars. If you are going to make a Need For Speed movie, having the right cars is essential. If you don't, it doesn't matter how good the rest of your movie is, it won't work. I'm happy to report that this movie did it right. We start out with the basics. We get our main gang doing some Fast and Furious style street racing with a '68 Chevy Camaro, '66 Pontiac GTO, and a '69 Grand Torino. Not to dis on those cars, but they aren't Need For Speed cars, so I was hoping that they wouldn't keep them long. And they didn't. After one race, Dominic Cooper walks into Aaron Paul's shop and asks him to finish building his Shelby Mustang so he can sell it for $2 or $3 million. And boom! We have our main star. Is it logical for Paul's team to build the Shelby Mustang? No. But who cares? The car is a beauty. Paul's team is supposed to get a quarter of the money when Cooper sells it, but of course Cooper tries to get out of that, so then we get our first main race with Cooper introducing three more beauties that he allegedly imported illegally. Those are the Koenigsegg Ageras. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the race between the three cars. That was the first instance where I knew that the movie was going to awesome. But I wasn't completely satisfied. I wanted more! It took a while, but I got them. Cooper screws over Paul, Paul spends time in Jail, Paul gets out, Paul travels across the country in the Shelby to enter in a race and get revenge on Cooper, and after all that, we finally get our final race and that's where I was in heaven. My personal Need For Speed staples were introduced in that race, the Lamborghini and the McClaren, specifically the movie has the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento and the McClaren P1. And we also got favored with a GTA Spano and a Bugatti Veyron amongst other cars. All this made for a great cast of super fancy, awesome, beautiful cars that made the movie work.

But of course, my second requirement also had to be met. Need For Speed is a racing game so along with having those cars in the movie, you have to have awesome high speed racing. Being perfectly honest, I kinda wished they spent more time with these races, but they did have them. Much of the movie is spent setting up the story line and travelling across the country to set up the final race. But when we did get our racing, it was done fantastically. We started off by getting teased with the old car racing, which was fun, but then shortly after we got our first big race, the race with the Koenigsegg Ageres and that's where it got real. I especially loved it when Aaron Paul was pushed off the correct lane and had to swerve between oncoming traffic in the wrong lane. Him doing so as the cars were swerving and honking to avoid him brought back good memories. After that, it took us a while to get into another race, but when we did it completely took me back to my childhood where I would sit on the XBox or computer and play need for speed. That final race was pure, solid entertainment and easily the best scene in the movie. I just wish it lasted a bit longer. Perhaps less travelling across the country and more race?

Next is the police. Sure, when you play Need For Speed you can turn the police off, but when you have them in, it makes it so much fun. Not only are you racing other cars, but you are being chased by police. You have to dodge their road blocks, spike strips, helicopters, and other obstacles they put in your way. So of course the movie had to include this if it was going to succeed. Once again, I am happy to report that it did. Aaron Paul's whole trip across the country is spent dodging the police. You hear several times along the way, voices of the police radio saying they are looking out for the silver Shelby Mustang. Also, when are final race begins, the police catch onto that race rather quickly and all the racers are trying to avoid the cops while they try to race others. There's a few times where they slam into the police and that was super awesome because I enjoyed doing that all the time on my game.

Finally, we needed the over-the-top aspect of Need For Speed. I can't express to you how much fun I had growing with trying to make the coolest crash possible. You slam into another car or into a mountain and watch yourself go flying in the air. It's funny, one of the complaints I heard about the movie was that the logics and physics of the movie were unrealistic. BUT OF COURSE THEY ARE!! If you need logic and physics, you can take those logics and physics and go to class. Stay away from this movie because half of the fun of Need For Speed is that it doesn't follow the laws of physics during the crashes and other stunts. There's one scene while Paul is travelling across the country where is loses the police by jumping over a whole lane of traffic. Another scene is where they get carried by a helicopter by a simple chain. Is that following the laws of physics? Heck no! Is it completely and totally awesome? Heck yes! And that's all that matters. The movie also has lots of over-the-top crashes. Some of them actually made me hold my breath because we cared about people in the car, so I couldn't say it made me happy watching characters get hurt badly, but then at the final race, most of the cars crashed in an over-the-top way and they were all fine, so then I was able to be happy.

Overall, I hope you now understand why I loved this movie. You'll notice I spent almost no time on the plot and the actors. The plot has been heavily criticized as being too predictable and too stupid. Honestly, I thought it was fine. The acting was also great, especially by Aaron Paul. But alas, if you are walking into this movie to experience a deep, moving plot, amazing dialogue, and perfectly written characters that culminate in a super unpredictable story, then you are going in for the wrong reasons. This movie is here to entertain and as I have pointed in depth with this review, it does entertain in all the ways a Need For Speed movie is supposed to. It hit all my expectations, which were all brought together in that final race, and because of that it was the second time in two months where a movie took me back to my childhood. No the movie isn't perfect, but because it satisfied all my needs and took me back to my childhood, I am giving Need For Speed a very strong 9/10.

1 comment:

  1. Despite a lot of the negative press I still want to watch this film. For Aaron Paul and for the cars and for one of my favourite racing game franchises.