Aaron Paul, coming off of the hottest role of a lifetime, must be in high demand. Despite that thought, he still joined the cast of Need for Speed, who many considered to be a Fast and Furious knock-off. With that in mind, I came into this movie with very little in terms of expectations. No matter how much I loved Breaking Bad there was no way in my mind that this would successful let alone good. In terms of box office numbers, it didn’t fail completely, but I was still hesitant if this film could be good or not.
Now, from beginning to end Need for Speed is action-packed, but instead of action I mean cars. The acting is hot and cold, with Aaron Paul giving a great performance for the type of movie this is. Imogen Poots has great chemistry with Paul, which can further be seen in the film, A Long Way Down. They play off one another pretty well, that coupled with Rami Malek’s performance leads to a good base cast. Malek’s strongest scene involves him exposing his rear end in the workplace, it leads to laughs in a movie that normally takes itself too seriously. Dominic Cooper isn’t weak in his performance, but he did leave a lot to be desired. Michael Keaton gives a surprisingly good performance in this, which further makes me want to watch Birdman, a film that I have heard a million good things about. His performance is very similar to the character he played in Robocop. Mostly that both performances are the good kind of wild. Scott Mescudi also appears in the film and does not disappoint in his role. He’s silly, which lightens the mood from Aaron Paul’s revenge seeking antics.
The story is the weakest part of the movie. It’s your typical tale of revenge and the cars, which sounds like it could be a sequel to the Fast franchise. Writing for the characters could have been better, especially since most gave performances that were incredibly strong of a movie of this caliber. Writing is the most important aspect of a film, a decent actor can look extraordinary if their dialogue is refined to perfection. It would have been nice to see the script touched up even just a bit.
The stunt work was pretty impressive for what they did, though I’ve heard a lot was done digitally. Which I’m fine with, there have been a lot of recent stories of stuntmen dying from freak accidents. If you’re not 100% sure that everything is right, it might be best to do it in post. According to the actors and people behind the film, a lot of the film was stuntwork, but they did do extensive work to make sure everyone was safe. A balance of practical and post-work is great and safer. The shots used were beautifully shot of the Canon C500, a camera I could only dream of using.
Coming out of it, I find that Need for Speed is much more than just a Fast and Furious knock-off, it’s got great actors and a strong director behind it. All it needed was a script to make it the best possible. Sadly, a script is the most important thing, so it really drives the overall enjoyment of the film. It did exceed expectations, that’s for sure.