Need For Speed is yet another video game adaptation resulting in a dull, lifeless and tedious film proudly joining the ranks of Silent Hill, Prince of Persia and Resident Evil. Proving Hollywood has a unique skill for picking up popular franchises, taking them for a cheap ride then dumping them battered and bruised in the toilet of a roadside diner. I don’t know about you, but growing up I played tonnes of video games that could easily have been adapted into brilliant films. As a card carrying Nintendo devotee, I may be a smidge biased but picture Zelda as a swashbuckling fantasy epic, Castlevania in all its ghoulish glory or Super Mario Bros as … well lets not go there. It's so frustrating that studios can't develop these stories into films without thoroughly butchering them in the process.
Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) is a mechanic who dabbles in the shady world of underground street racing. Known for his dangerous racing style, Marshall’s world is left in tatters after he is framed for killing his best friend during a race, which earns him a few years in the big house. Once out Marshall gets straight back into racing proving he learnt absolutely nothing from the tragedy. From there it’s a well below average road trip/revenge/racing/romance film the likes of which is so boring it could be distributed to folks with chronic insomnia, potentially holding the key to a good nights rest.
I tried to enjoy this film but my interests were decimated to the point that I honestly considered walking out. From its atrocious script, phoned in performances to anorexic plot, this film is just a failure right across the board. It’s populated with characters who literally wander around spurting out their motivations or even worse describing plots points to one another. It’s as if the writers honestly believed that this was a complicated story line and they feared the audience risked getting lost … hell there are episodes of Sesame Street with more twists and turns.
Whilst Aaron Paul may be great in Breaking Bad, he’s not suitable for this role as a leading man. He just doesn’t have the screen presence required to make an impact. Imogen Poots is passable in a fairly generic role yet she’s given very little to do. Dominic Cooper plays the one dimensional villain Dino Brewster, who made me wish Punky Brewster was in this, at least she had a little attitude. Marshall’s racing buddies are a bunch of up-and-coming actors who unfortunately have all the menace and testosterone of the One Direction crew.
Surprisingly the actual racing sequences lack all originality, which I thought would be the one thing they’d at least get right. The graphics feel like something from the late 90s, which would put them behind the very games which they are attempting to adapt. This is a mean spirited film which felt too heavily influenced by the Fast and Furious franchise, but it lacked the sense of silly fun that Vin Diesel and his boys bring to the party.
Sadly this film couldn’t even be considered so bad it’s good. It’s a timely reminder that video game adaptations have so far to go before we get a truly satisfying film. Weighing in at over two hours long, I can safely assure you that your time and money can be spent better else. Need for Speed hits cinemas this Thursday. If you see the film and agree or disagree with my thoughts feel free to leave a comment below.