Need for Speed

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need for speed PHOTO
No Mustangs or Goats were hurt during the filming of this.

It’s not the fact that basing a movie off a video game was such a bad idea. It’s the fact that they’re basing it off of other, previously bad movies. The Fast and the Furious series (Paul Walker is doing donuts in his grave); and the ‘70s Burt Reynolds films comes to mind. At least those movies winked at the audience and the stars had a certain charm. This cast has nothing attractive about them. It was all about the cars. And really, if you’re over the age of 15, who cares? So they have a GTO, Shelby, Bugatti Veyron, Ferraris and more. I’d prefer just one of those cars in a better movie (the filmmakers apparently agree, as they do things like occasionally show clips of films like Bullitt).

Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) is an angry mechanic/race car driver that talks as if he’s been constipated for months. During an illegal street race, his friend (the little brother of an ex-girlfriend) dies. He blames the evil driver, Dino Brewster (played by actor Dominic Cooper, who has done some good slimeballs before on screen). Sure, Dino bumped his car and “raced dirty” but hey – shouldn’t the driver be responsible for getting involved in this crap? It made me think, especially after the death of Paul Walker in real life, that perhaps these aren’t the most responsible movies to be making. Don’t get me wrong, a movies job is to make money and be entertaining. It’s up to parents to decide what their kids watch, and what they might find to be glorified on the big screen.

Anyway, off my soap box and back to the races.

Tobey gets out of the pokey, and he seeks justice the one way he knows how. No, no…not by telling the cops what happened. He’s no snitch. He lures Dino into a million dollar secret racing event. We learn about this event from the narration done by Michael Keaton, who hosts a radio/internet show (that apparently the cops don’t watch), and it gives him a chance to explain what’s happening to the rest of us. Clearly he spent one day filming his scene and then himself driving fast, all the way to the bank.

I’m a little confused as to why we’d root for Marshall. He drives on the wrong side of the road, endangering people that aren’t even involved in the race. We see other cars crashing, some of them even police officers. That may have been funny in Smokey and the Bandit, because we got to meet the snotty cop played by Jackie Gleason. In this, we just get one-dimensional characters, and audiences that lap this garbage up (at the screening I attended, the audience loved this film).

Oh, and you know how the McDonald’s commercials all have racially diverse kids? I got a kick out of the sidekick mechanics/drivers all being different races. Oh, and speaking of commercials – there was one on TV a few minutes ago that showed horses turning into cars. The cars were merely driving, not doing anything all that dangerous. Yet there were words on the bottom of the screen telling us these were professional drivers doing this on a closed track. It makes me wonder why there aren’t warnings for this movie and again, why groups that are so quick to knock violence or nudity in movies, or protagonists that smoke cigarettes – why aren’t we hearing about this movie glorifying street racing?

Oops. I thought I stepped off the soap box earlier.

Anyway, the usually reliable Imogen Poots added nothing. It just lets the script get a few sexist jokes in.

Sibling screenwriters George and John Gatins are responsible for this mess. George gave us Flight, which was a horrible script. In this movie, their attempts at humor are things like a homeless guy walking across the street and having his shopping cart demolished by a fast car.

It’s in 3D, which means you’ll be paying a few dollars more for it. If you saw the commercials and this appealed to you…peel out of your drive way and get there to see it.

Everyone else, you’ll be buying a lemon.

This gets 0 stars out of 5.

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