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Movie Review | Need for Speed


I thought that Need for Speed was going to a poor man’s Fast and the Furious, but it actually ended up surpassing that franchise in terms of enjoyment level, which really surprised me. The story is a bit cheesy/heavy-handed at times, but if you’re in the theater for the story itself, you’re at the wrong movie. There were also a few Detroit-filmed scenes which I didn’t know about beforehand, and it was fun to see a city I live near on the big screen.

Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) and his friend Pete (Harrison Gilbertson) love illegal racing, but when they decide to race an enemy of theirs, Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper), one day, and only one of them gets out alive; Tobey is framed for manslaughter and is sent to prison for two years. When he gets out, Tobey needs to get to California within 48 hours in order to enter the De Leon (an exclusive race), and he also needs to get an invite from the Monarch (Michael Keaton), the man who puts together the race; to do this, he shows off on the way there, while in Detroit, and him and his team email the Monarch the footage. He’s also looking to avenge Pete and pit himself against his enemy, Dino, yet again; however, him and his cross-country partner, Julia (Imogen Poots), run into a few complications along the way.

I saw this movie in 3D and was sort of thinking, “why is 3D necessary for this film?” – however, it was fantastic in 3D. The movie is based on the video game series of the same name, and the director really tries to put the audience in the driver’s seat. There’s definitely a few “extreme” scenes too that are done very well; in one scene, a car is dangling over a canyon/river, and we see the view of the river from a passenger’s point-of-view.

Yes, see this movie, and see it in 3D. The acting is fine, for the most part, and Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots have good chemistry together. Kid Cudi (Scott Mescudi) plays one of Paul’s friends, too, and Dakota Johnson (soon to be of Fifty Shades fame) plays Anita, Pete’s sister who later marries Dino before she knows what a jerk he is. Michael Keaton is also great as the eccentric Monarch, who does a podcast/radio-type show that all the car fanatics follow, as well as playing host of the De Leon. I was impressed by how awesome the car scenes were in this film, and they were all real, as well – no fake stunts for this film.

Need for Speed is in theaters today, March 14th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 130 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.

Liz is our regular movie reviewer and writes for her film blog (Yes/No Films) and book blog (Books I Think You Should Read), as well as Examiner.com and CBS Detroit. You can follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.