Just released from prison for a murder he didn’t commit, Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) sets out to seek revenge on the man who framed him, former business associate Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper). Marshall must race across the country while evading the police along the way.
At face value, Need for Speed may seem like Dreamworks’ attempt at a car movie to rival the likes of Universal’s Fast and Furiousfranchise. There are cars and criminals involved, so they must be the same, right? Wrong. While fans of Fast will surely enjoy Speed, there are only a few parallels between them.
Based off the popular Electronic Arts video game series of the same name, Need for Speed features high-speed action sequences, a quest for revenge and great footage of the cars. The plot of the movie itself is nothing special, but it was more than enough to keep me interested in between the best parts of the movie—the cars. There are plenty of humorous lines weaved throughout the movie and there is a fair amount of romantic tension between Paul’s Tobey and Imogen Poots’s Julia.
The cars themselves are works of art, and are hands-down the stars of the film. Among the vehicles featured in the film are three Koenigsegg Ageras, a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, McLaren P1, Saleen S7 and a GTA Spano. Combined, that’s upwards of $14 million worth of cars. It seems such a shame to wreck such nice cars for a film, not to mention a huge waste of money, so naturally many of the cars that are used are actually replicas of the originals, solely built for destruction.
The driving is nothing short of spectacular, with plenty of close calls, numerous occasions of driving the wrong direction straight-on into traffic (and miraculously making it out safe every time) and a cleverly named stunt called a “Grasshopper” in which the Shelby Mustang is driven up a grass embankment at high speeds and launched over two lanes of traffic to land perfectly in on the road and continue driving as though it had been there the whole time.
The special effects of the film were highly realistic, making it seem as though these cars were actually hitting one another and careening off the road. This can all be credited to a decision made by Director Scott Waugh, who wanted everything to be filmed using practical special effects as an homage to car films in the 60’s and 70’s. So everything you see on screen is real, or at least as real as these things get in Hollywood. That means that no digital effects were used in post-production, save for perhaps one scene when Marshall reveals a remodeled Shelby Mustang.
Though there are no digital effects, the practical effects are more than enough to make the driving and crashes seem real. The footage from many of the crash scenes isn’t the same high quality as the rest of the film, which is to be expected because no one in their right mind would put their nicest cameras inside of vehicles that are about to be totaled. Not all of the cars that are used for the movie are seen on-screen—the camera cars, or cars that are used to mount cameras to film the high-speed racing scenes, must be fast enough to keep up with the cars that are featured in the film. The camera cars include a Mustang and a Ferrari 458 Italia.
Overall, it is a great film to ride along with for a couple of hours and not have to think about much.
Need for Speed hits theaters March 14.