NEED FOR SPEED 3D Review; "It's A B Movie, And A Damn Good One At That!"
A big screen adaptation of the hit EA franchise hits theatres today in a bid to break the curse of bad movies based on video games and to establish itself as a rival to the Fast & Furious franchise. So, does it succeed? Well, despite a few flaws, "YES! YES! YES!" Read on for details...
If you hate the Fast & Furious franchise, then you likely won't find an awful lot to love about Need for Speed. Like those movies, the plot is often ridiculous and many of the characters are so one dimesnional that they may as well have been cut straight out of the "Clichéd Characters 101" handbook. However, that doesn't for a second mean that Need for Speed isn't still an awful lot of fun and one of the most enjoyable movies I've seen in a long while.
That may sound like I'm contradicting myself, but Need for Speed is just one of those films you have to accept for what it is. It's neither on the level of the likes of 12 Years a Slave or Dallas Buyers Club, or even blockbuster fare like The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. It's important to note though that it NEVER tries to be. Need for Speed doesn't take itself too seriously, and neither should you. Sure, you could spend all day picking holes in it, but if you're going to do that, save your money for Lars von Trier's latest pretentious offering. What I'm getting at is that there's room for all sorts of movies, so rather than being swayed by the same critics who praise the most boring award season or festival releases and dismiss Man of Steel as a "popcorn movie" (why is that even used as an insult like it's a bad thing anyway?), just go into Need for Speed and HAVE FUN.
The story is really your standard revenge tale. Tobey Marshall is sent to jail after a street race gone wrong, taking the rap for his friend's death which was in fact caused by the smarmy Dino Brewster. When he gets out two years later, he decides to get his own back...by beating Dino in a race. Yeah, yeah, I know how it sounds! However, thanks to some truly incredible stunt work (no green screen or CGI here) and plenty of top notch racing and action along the way, you'll soon find yourself rooting for Tobey, and there are more than enough interesting twists and turns throughout Need for Speed to keep you thoroughly entertained from start to finish line.
Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul (Marshall) proves here that he's capable of leading either this or any other big screen franchise which comes his way in the next few years, and he does a fantastic job of elevating the material he's working with. One scene in particular in which he confronts Dominic Cooper's (Brewster) jerk-off of a bad guy is very powerful, and they both inject so much more into their characters than many other actors would have. This is a breakout role for Paul, and also hopefully for the incredibly beautiful Imogen Poots who goes from annoying to endearing and captivating as quickly as the cars they're all driving. The rest of the cast do what they can with not particularly well-written characters - the movie really does hinge on the three leads mentioned above - but you might be surprised at how quickly you also start to appreciate them.
The less said about Michael Keaton though, the better! Oh, and as for the 3D, this is a solid conversion despite reports that it was all very last minute. While far from necessary, it does in fact makes many of the incredible action sequences even more engrossing and I for one will never complain about seeing Imogen Poots on the big screen in an extra dimension!
Thanks to its three superb performances from Paul, Cooper and Poots, compelling races/action and the fact that it doesn't take itself too seriously, Scott Waugh's Need for Speed has firmly established itself as a serious rival to the Fast & Furious franchise. It's a B movie, and a damn good one at that.
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