News

REVIEW: ‘Need for Speed’ fails to outrun the stupid

REVIEW: ‘Need for Speed’ fails to outrun the stupid

DreamWorks II, Melinda Sue Gordon Photo: Associated Press

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama | Run Time: 132 min | Rated: PG-13
Director: Scott Waugh | Starring: Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Scott Mescudi

By: George Wolf

I never watched Breaking Bad, but I believe you when you say it is awesome, and that Aaron Paul is awesome as Jesse. I don’t doubt it for one second. Really.

But trust me, Need for Speed isn’t Breaking Bad, it’s just bad.

Paul moves on from Jesse to star as Tobey Marshall, a badass gearhead/street racer who was framed for murder by an old adversary. After serving a prison stint, Tobey rejoins his old garage crew to enter a legendary cross-country race, and hatch a plan that will bring both sweet victory, and sweet revenge.

Even for a film based on a video game, Need for Speed is achingly shallow. Director Scott Waugh‘s biggest error is to give the film the same overly dramatic, utterly heroic tone he brought to Act of Valor. It made sense on Valor, as Waugh was directing active-duty Navy SEALS who had trouble acting, but at least they deserved the treatment.

Here, though, the approach is so over-the-top it results in a cornball mess of high octane ridiculousness. Though it’s hard to tell from the squeaky-clean garages, neatly pressed clothes and perfect fingernails, these are street racers, not world-savers. Lighten up already.
George Gatins’s sophomoric and painfully obvious screenplay doesn’t help, bursting as it is with groan-inducing dialog and plotting fit for coma patients.

I suppose there is something here if you like to see cars going fast, but even those sequences are bland, especially after Waugh makes the mistake of including a snippet from Bullit, one of the greatest car movies ever made. Honestly, you can find more auto-excitica (you’re welcome) in The Town or one of those Jeff Gordon-in-disguise Pepsi commercials.

Even the music is awful, alternating between melodramatic crescendos and tone-deaf remakes of rock classics.

A sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek vibe would have worked wonders on Need for Speed. As it stands, it can’t outrun the stupid, no matter how fast it goes.

Verdict-1-0-Star

Read more movie reviews at MaddWolf.com.

Portland Weather

condition Condition: Overcast
Temperature: 34°
High: 34° - Low: 26°

Latest Headlines

in Entertainment

Third ‘Night at the Museum’ marks final film for Williams, Rooney

nightatthemuseum

The credits for "Secret of the Tomb," which opens Friday, read "In loving memory of Mickey Rooney," and "For Robin Williams - the magic never ends."

in Music

Ray Price’s widow opens up after loss

FILE - In a Jan. 7, 2011, file photo, Country Music Hall of Fame member and Grammy Award winner Ray Price celebrates his 86th birthday by performing in Bullard Texas. Price, one of country music's most popular and influential singers and bandleaders who had more than 100 hits and was one of the last living connections to Hank Williams, died Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. He was 87.

Ray Price's widow refused to leave her house for four months in the aftermath of her husband's death.

in Entertainment

Chris Pratt thought ‘Guardians’ would be a box office flop

Guardians Of The Galaxy

The "Parks and Rec" star was very, very wrong.