Reel Freak

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Reel Review – Need For Speed (2014)


Need for Speed is a full-throttle thrill ride that almost never loses its pace.  Based on the video game franchise of the same name, the movie keeps you on the edge of your seat while sporting an entertaining cast of Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Michael Keaton (RoboCop), Imogen Poots, Scott Mescudi and Rami Malek.  The movie was filmed using no CGI; all of the car chases and crashes were stunts, which is very respectable for a modern-day blockbuster.

The story follows Tobey Marshall (Paul) who owns a garage with some of his pals in upstate New York.  When his ex-partner Dino (Cooper) shows up and offers him a job to build a Mustang worth millions, Tobey accepts.  When tragedy strikes and one of his friends is purposely killed in a racing accident, Tobey is framed for manslaughter and is sent to prison for two years.  Upon his release, Tobey decides to attempt to join in on a secret-invite race in California, led by a whacky man named Monarch (Keaton).  He travels cross-country while on parole, with the assistance of his friends, in order to track down his rival Dino and win the race.


Need for Speed is Aaron Paul’s first big project since his award-winning (and one of my favorite) series Breaking Bad ended its run on air back in September.  He proves that he can hold his own in a lead role, and uses it to his advantage.  The rest of the cast is just as entertaining, especially the legendary Michael Keaton’s character.

Like I said, this film has no CGI at all.  Director Scott Waugh said that he didn’t want to fool fans by using green screen and animation for all of the cars and crashes.  The result was tons of amazingly-shot action sequences that really make you appreciate the movie more if you knew that going in.  Probably the highlight of Need for Speed is its constant, thrilling action.


The story is a bit hit-or-miss, a story that is easy to guess and often has very few surprises.  However, one of the best qualities of this movie is how well it is adapted from the video games.  Cops are always on the move chasing the racers, just like in the games, and it has a very game-like feel to it overall.  As far as video game-to-film adaptations go, Need for Speed is probably one of the better ones so far.

What also caught my eye was the fact that Need for Speed deals strictly with cars and racing, which, in comparison, is something a film series like Fast & Furious has strayed from in the past couple of films.  Fast & Furious has become more action-oriented, with gun fights and drama between characters.  Need for Speed is just the opposite, and is always running at top-speed.


Overall, here’s what I took from Need for Speed:


  • Amazing action sequences using all stunts and no CGI
  • Solid and entertaining acting from the cast
  • Great adaptation from the NFS video game series


  • Had a forgettable plot
  • Choppy dialogue and interactions between characters
  • Logging in at 2hr 10min, the film felt a tad bit long, but it did not lose its pace

If you’re looking for an action-packed, fast-paced thriller, go see Need for Speed, now in theaters.

My Rating: 7.0/10

Written by Josh Sazin on 3/15/14


3 comments on “Reel Review – Need For Speed (2014)

  1. Dustin
    March 15, 2014

    Nice article!

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