Need for Speed races to Blu ray.
After being set up as the cause of a terrible accident in a street race driver, causing the death of his friend after a fiery crash on a bridge, Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul), a financially struggling custom-car builder and street-racer, spends two years in jail obsessed with gaining justice and revenge. Upon his release he borrows the fastest car his workshop ever built and sold, with a passenger Julia (Imogen Poots) in tow, and sets out to enter a secretive and extremely high-stakes race known as The DeLeon. As it just so happens the reigning and defending champion of the Deleon, Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper), is also the other racer who was on that bridge that fateful day.
Straight off the final season of the hugely successful series “Breaking Bad” Aaron Paul lands his biggest leading man role to date with “Need for Speed”, and he certainly seems to be the man for the job. Need for Speed looks to win over the ‘gearhead’ crowd, an audience that has been dissatisfied with the new caper style film that the “Fast and Furious” franchise has leaned towards, by filling Need for Speed with some of the fastest and insanely expensive cars available. Furthermore, as a stark contrast to the Fast films all of the driving and crashes are shot practically, without the aid of digital effects, as director Scott Waugh has assembled perhaps one of the greatest stunt driving teams ever. The work pays off on screen as the stunt work looks fantastic and the film carries a throwback feel that harkens back to the work of legendary stunt co-ordinator/director Hal Needham.
Paul does decent work in the lead, always managing to be interesting in a role that could have easily been generic and lifeless, but it’s 2 of his co-stars that really drive the film. It’s incredibly hard to dislike Imogen Poots in anything she does as she oozes of charisma and charm, not to mention her stunning looks, and wins over the audience immediately. Dominic Cooper looks to be relishing his bad guy turn and his Dino Brewster is never given a redeeming quality moment, he’s just straight up bad news from the first frame to the last. Michael Keaton chews scenery in a small supporting role that feels almost entirely improvised. The drop off comes in the form of Tobey’s crew who are written with the broadest of strokes and without any characterization. The sporadically funny Scott Mescudi may fare the best out of the performers, but none of these actors deliver anything memorable, though the script may be just as responsible.
The Blu ray comes packed with special features about the making of the film with 3 full featurettes on that subject matter. It also includes Audio commentaries, deleted scenes and outtakes from Mescudi and Keaton. Need for Speed is a whole bunch of fun with some fantastic stunt sequences, likeable leads and some great supporting work from Keaton. Sadly it’s the rest of the supporting cast that levels the film out to a mild recommendation instead of a wildly enthusiastic one.
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