Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Need For Speed

Need for Speed is based on the long-running and highly successful video game franchise of the same name.  It is slick, pretty, and ludicrously unrealistic.

The main character in this movie is Tobey Marshall, a mechanic and racer from a small town in upstate New York, played by Aaron Paul (Jesse on Breaking Bad). His acting is fine; it's not his fault the movie is terrible.

Dino Brewster is the villain, a former rival of Tobey's who made it big and moved away. The part is played by Dominic Cooper, who is also Howard Stark in the Marvel film franchise and is apparently going to be in the upcoming Warcraft movie.

Rounding out the major cast is Imogen Poots as Julia Maddon, the token female. Her character is the cute girl who knows cars and is decently competent but still needs to be rescued. It's almost, but not quite, a decent character.

Need For Speed is, in part, Cannonball Run without the comedy and with even less realism. Cannonball Run was at least based on true events, but that was decades ago. It is now flat-out impossible for a car to make that run when the police know to look for it. It requires an immense amount of planning and secrecy. For the history and logistics of this endeavor, see this Wikipedia page, especially the Legacy subsection and its citations. In summary, though, it is simply unthinkable that a wanted car could make that trip at all, much less in the stated time, especially with no preparation.

Even before that, though, we are asked to believe that there is a small town in upstate New York which has recurring illegal (and extremely dangerous) street races with no repercussions for the drivers. The aerial lookout is a nice idea, but there is no way that that race could happen without evidence being turned over to the police in the form of cell phone pictures or surveillance camera videos or just eyewitness accounts.

Then we are told that there is an underground, invitation-only street race in Marin County with supercars, and we are expected to believe that the winner will walk away with the losers' cars rather than a long jail sentence. Somehow, in this alternate version of reality, speeding, street racing, reckless endangerment, evading arrest, and conspiracy to commit the same all add up to short prison sentences. The mind boggles.

It's actually worse than it sounds - the details of tactics and quoted numbers are offensively unbelievable.

The only possible reason to watch this movie is for the car porn, and even then it's not worth it. Go watch Top Gear or Chris Harris instead.

Performance: 2.5/5
Plot: 1.5/5
Production: 3/5
Overall: 1.5/5
Bechdel: Fail
Reverse-Bechdel: Pass
Mako Mori: Fail
What are these?

1. Lone Survivor
2. The Wind Rises
3. The Lego Movie
4. Lust For Love
5. Pompeii
6. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
7. I, Frankenstein
8. Monuments Men
9. Knights of Badassdom
10. 300: Rise of an Empire
11. RoboCop
12. Winter's Tale
13. The Legend of Hercules
14. Need For Speed
15. 3 Days to Kill

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