Movie Review: ‘Need For Speed’


Nick Hamden [email protected]

“Need For Speed” achieved a 4/5 by Iowa State Daily movie reviewer Nick Hamden.

Nick Hamden

Need For Speed” (Trailer) as a movie? Originally, I thought the idea was terrible. After all, most video games turned into movies are terrible. Although, with something as vague as a racing game with non-important plots, the only thing they really need to keep consistent is the race aspect.

Then they added Aaron Paul to the project. America’s sweetheart after his stint on “Breaking Bad,” ready to make his mark on the movie world. Now with his voice narrating the trailer, channeling his apparent inner Batman, this becomes a movie about more than racing. It becomes a movie about revenge.

Tobey Marshall (Paul) is a small New York city mechanic and amateur racer. There was a falling out between him and Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper), who was able to leave the town and become a professional racer, even driving in the Indy 500. What happened? Well, it wasn’t ever really said, but it must have involved Anita (Dakota Johnson).

Needless to say, everyone is on edge when he comes to town. But he just wants them to fix up a very fancy car for him, offering them a quarter of the selling price. After fixing it up, they get into an argument, and agree to race for the entire profit of the car. Pete (Harrison Gilbertson) joins them too and they use very fancy European future cars! Well, Dino starts losing near the end, clips Pete, and Pete begins one of the longest craziest crashes I have ever seen. Seriously, the crash is more ridiculous than anything on “The Blues Brothers.”

Dino doesn’t go back to the crash, though. Tobey goes to jail, wrongfully accused of manslaughter. Once he gets out, two years later, he has two days to drive to LA to get accepted into a secret big time car race. During that race, he will enact his revenge on Dino, while hopefully also proving his innocence. How? Good question.

He has his crew with him (Scott MescudiRami MalekRamon Rodriguez), and Julia (Imogen Poots), a British car enthusiast. Also starring Michael Keaton as the mysterious Monarch who runs the mysterious race and a car racing internet show.

“Need For Speed” clocks in at 130 minutes, which is over two hours for you anti-math people out there. It features arguably four races. You know, your standard intro race, your plot causing race, your race across the country and your secret invite only race. The largest one is of course the cross country one, featuring drivers trying to stop Tobey from getting to California thanks to Dino putting out a hit on him. Kind of ridiculous to publicly do it, being an “innocent” man and all.

Despite the long run time, it didn’t feel like it dragged on. It felt good for the characters to actually have passion and drive for something other than just racing. That’s right. There is a plot that matters in this racing movie. It is what “Fast & Furious 7” has the potential to be (but looks like the screen writers are messing that up too). 

I would say “Need For Speed” is a step in the right direction for the racing movie genre. It wasn’t secretly disguised as a super hero movie with cars. It was about racing and revenge. That is all. The chemistry between the actors was pretty good, and honestly, a lot of the plot felt unpredictable. Except for the cool helicopter scene in the trailer. I wish they didn’t spoil that, that would have been epic if I didn’t know it was about to happen the entire time.

Yeah, I liked it overall. Definitely made me want to “floor it” as I left the theater. I even considered for the first time in my life to buy a non-Mario Kart racing game, which is presumably what EA is hoping for with this movie.