Need for Speed (3D)

2014-03-24 15:42
What it's about:

Framed for a crime he didn’t commit, muscle car mechanic and street racer Tobey gets out of prison determined to settle the score with the man responsible for his unjust conviction.

What we thought:

The plot borrows heavily from NFS: The Run, in which a non-descript criminal/professional driver has to take a Route 66 trip across the USA.

The movie stars Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) as Tobey Marshall, a down-on-his-luck former driver and owner of a financially struggling garage. Marshall meets antagonist Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper, Captain America: The First Avenger), a typical power-hungry ‘has more Rands than sense’ business man/professional driver (READ the staple of car- movie villains).

What Marshall soon learns is, as is the case in real life, you should never make a deal with anyone donning a black leather jacket...especially if EVERYONE warns you he is evil.

A tragic car crash occurs and after being wrongfully accused, Marshall is incarcerated for several years. Once out of the clink he decides to take revenge by entering a “by-invitation-only” race, the DeLeon, hosted by Riddler-esque Michael Keaton. The DeLeon is an ‘anything-goes’ single-lap course that pits the world’s top drivers against each other for the ultimate prize –a rare supercar with millions.

Cue epic car chase.

Along the way we’re introduced to Marshall’s eventual love interest Julia Maddon (Imogen Poots).

The movie also answers many of the questions that bothered me throughout The Fast and the Furious series:

How do the racers know where they’re racing to? Why do they insist dropping from first to second before pulling away? How do they avoid traffic? And how are they paying for any of this? In short, a well-organised and outfitted group of misfits are responsible for getting Marshall from point A-B.

A racer is only as good as his pit crew and our hero is backed up by a Hollywood B-list cast of mechanics and support personal including a wise-cracking pilot providing comedic relief, a surly but wizened mechanic, a crazy maverick and a little brother who’s living on borrowed time.

Paul/Poots make a great effort of providing some on-screen chemistry but bad-guy Cooper’s acting can best be described as wooden.

Crashes are a big part of the movie though the true horror for a car fan is revealed behind the scenes. In an interview with Top Gear, director Scott Waugh, revealed that during filming, nearly one hundred cars were wrecked and of the eight mustangs built, six were wrecked.

Fortunately the cars used during crashes were replicas, essentially kit car chassis with super car shells on top.

Interestingly, the camera cars were also modified in order to keep up with the supercars. The film used a modifiedFord Mustang and Porsche Cayenne as film-cars.

The ‘IT’ car of the movie is unashamedly the Ford Mustang. What’s more, the latest-generation muscle car will arrive in South Africa in 2015...and in right-hand drive!

So how does it compare to The Fast and the Furious?

Simply put, the cars are better.  Very few of the cars shown in The Fast and the Furious series were worth salivating over. With an abundance of eye-wateringly beautiful supercars, NFS has set the bar very high indeed.

The car chases are awesome and sure, The Fast and the Furious became known for its hot races and crazy stunts but they pale in comparison to those seen in NFS. The film stays true to its video game roots and delivers on the kind of races we expect to see – police chases, supercars racing on public roads through traffic – and the harsh reality of crashes.

Need for Speed has the unenviable job of taking on a cast that has become synonymous with cool cars and witty banter. The Fast and the Furious had years to build on its characters.

Sadly Paul/Poots burgeoning love story isn’t as gripping as say Letty/Dom (Michelle Rodriguez/Vin Diesel) or Mia/O’Conner (the late Paul Walker/Jordana Brewster). Who knows what a possible sequel will bring... (EA: Please make a sequel!)

Overall, where The Fast and the Furious focused on drama and modified rides, Need for Speed is about unadulterated racing action.

Whether you view cars as chunks of metal capable of transporting you to and from work or worship all things vehicular, Need for Speed is a great movie and a worthy contender for the best car movie franchise...that is if they’ll make a sequel.

Click here for a full review on all the cars that star in the movie.

Need for Speed has brought its vehicle racing series to the silver screen in a movie that rivals the The Fast and the Furious series with its vehicular lunacy.

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