NEED FOR SPEED – A Review by John Strange



By: John ’Doc’ Strange

Directed by: Scott Waugh

Cast: Aaron Paul, Chillie Mo, Dominic Cooper, Dakota Johnson, Michael Keaton

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sequences of reckless street racing, disturbing crash scenes, nudity and crude language)

Selig Rating: FULL PRICE

Runtime: 130 Min.

Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) is a small town boy who grew up in his father’s auto repair garage working with engines and driving cars like nobody’s business in street races.  These guys take street racing to a whole new level by using a light plane to watch not only for the law but potential dangers like traffic and pedestrians.  The tightly choreographed race action is fast and exciting from start to finish.

Tobey’s nemesis, ex-NASCAR driver Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) doesn’t stoop to enter the street race but following the race makes Tobey and offer he can’t refuse; complete the build-out of Carroll Shelby’s last Mustang and he can get enough money save the garage.  Dino is also the person who frames Tobey for the death of Little Pete (Harrison Gilbertson),during a road race with three matched non-US legal sports cars which resulted in a fatal crash. 

As part of the plan for revenge for having to serve two years for a crime he didn’t commit, Tobey and the team convince the new owner of the Shelby Mustang to allow them use the car to qualify for and run in the De Leon road rally.  The run cross country to the race starting point while being harassed by bounty hunters instigated by Dino is a ride I have only seen duplicated in a Steve McQueen movie.  The stunts are outrageous.

The cars in this film are just as important to the plot as the people.  Tobey’s Ford Torino in the first race scene is hot.  The Ford Mustang is even hotter!  Plus all of the cars used for the De Leon road rallly, a HIGHLY unauthorized, illegal road rally where you have to beat not only the other cars but the combined police forces of the jurisdictions along the route, are amazing.

Scott Waugh, director of Need for Speed, told all of us in a Dallas preview audience that very little CGI was used.  I think it gives the film an amazing look that computer graphics simply cannot duplicate.  Outstanding performances from Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots (Tobey’s love interest/co-driver/rep for the Mustang’s owner Julia Maddon), and Michael Keaton (Monarch, the “owner” of the De Leon) and hot, hot, hot cars make Need for Speed a movie worth watching.

Movie Site:

The Selig Rating Scale:

FULL PRICE – Excellent movie, well worth the price
MATINEE – Good movie
DOLLAR – OK movie
CABLE – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
FREEBIE – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
COMMERCIAL TV – Commercials and cutting to the allotted time will not hurt this one.
FORGET IT! – Bad. If you see this one, do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.
GET YOUR TORCHES – BAD! – Burn the script, the writer, the director and maybe even the actors!

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