Bound to draw serious comparisons to “The Fast and Furious” racing series that owns and continues to dominate the box office, “Need For Speed” is out to prove that it can be equal but separate.

Getting him while the getting is good, Aaron Paul comes off his award-winning television show “Breaking Bad” and into the driver’s seat with great timing. 

If, like me, you didn’t watch the show, then you have only seen the actor in small bit parts like “K-Pax” or “Smashed.”

“Need For Speed” is based on the popular racing video game and does nothing in the way of impressing non-“Breaking Bad” viewers of Paul’s talent. What it does do, however, is focus a lot more on racing than the “The Fast and Furious” shenanigans. 

Tobey Marshall (Paul) lives for racing, but when an old rival’s dare is presented in an opportunity for a winner-take-all street drag race, Tobey and his best friend can’t turn it down. Racing against Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper), nothing is ever fair. Tobey loses the one thing that is most important to him, is arrested for manslaughter and sent to prison. 

Upon his release, Tobey is determined to prove his innocence and Dino’s guilt and in the process land a spot in the mysterious and highly coveted race held each year by someone known as Monarch (Michael Keaton). Tobey will bet his life and risk everything to win the race and avenge the death of his friend. 

“Need for Speed” is unapologetic in it’s narrative for racing and fast cars. The camera devotes little or no time to repercussions, the deaths or damage incurred as these careless and dangerous racers ignore human life and rules. 

Imogene Poots is one of the standouts of the film, even getting racing time behind the wheel. 

In some ways it’s more outrageous than “The Fast and Furious,” in others it’s a bigger adrenaline rush because we are in the car the majority of the time. Often the cinematography does try and match that of the video, including locations and small features players should pick up on.

Final Thought: Runs a little long for such a brainless action film but better than the majority of “The Fast and Furious” films. 


 

‘Need for Speed’ 

Starring: Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, Michael Keaton 

Grade: C

Dustin Chase is a film critic and associate editor with Texas Art & Film, which is based in Galveston. More reviews are available at texasartfilm.com.

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