1. Will there ever be a great video game adaptation?
The other day, I read on a film blog that SPLINTER CELL finally grabbed a director (Doug Liman) and lead (Tom Hardy), which gives me hope...but it's really a mind bender that there hasn't ever been a great movie based on a video game. I mean, some video games have incredible stories and cinematic elements, but somehow they just don't transfer well on film. Now, just reading months back that there would be a NEED FOR SPEED film made me roll my eyes, and I wasn't looking at this movie as the 'great hope' for video game to film greatness, but I was hoping that whoever wrote Need for Speed wouldn't treat it's audience like complete morons. I guess it's still better than MORTAL KOMBAT and SUPER MARIO BROTHERS.
2. Aaron Paul elevates whatever material he's given.
If I'm being honest (along with my wife, and probably thousands of others who shelled out their hard earned cash to see NEED FOR SPEED), the only reason I went to see this was because of Aaron Paul. His turn as Jesse Pinkman in BREAKING BAD was one of the most gut wrenching, heart pulling performances of all time, and any time I have the opportunity to see him do his thing on screen, I'm going to be there. He was trying so hard with the material here, and despite the utter crap he had to say on screen, he still manages to pull it off. I have to tip my cap to Aaron Paul. Such a talented actor. He is, however, essentially playing Jesse without meth...so if you were expecting to see more range out of Aaron Paul, you won't get it here. I was fine with it.
3. They let you play with iPads in military prison.
If there's one thing I learned from NEED FOR SPEED, it's that they have spare laptops laying around in hospitals and iPads in the brig. At one point, a character is in a MILITARY PRISON, and casually asks a female guard (who clearly isn't interested) for an iPad to follow his buddy during an illegal race on what must be a cleverly designed app (found easily on the App store, I'm sure) - either that or it's just a website that anyone could hop onto and follow the race (paying attention, cops?). So what does she do? She grabs an iPad from the ol' Army surplus of iPads and connects to the Wi-Fi (again, in military jail) so that he can fist pump while his friend blows through traffic.
4. The racing scenes were awesome.
The plot was so dumb, and makes absolutely no sense. However, if you're going to see NEED FOR SPEED, you're really going for two reasons - Aaron Paul and the car chases, and let me tell you...the racing scenes delivered. The roar of the engine, the skidding of tires, the exotic cars, they all looked beautiful. They were shot amazingly and the lack of CGI really showed. There was a great amount of effort into making the car scenes as cool as they were, and it paid off. And that Mustang...that Mustang...it really made me miss mine.
5. This plot was so dumb, and makes absolutely no sense.
Yeah, this is a car movie, but it's still a movie, right? Up until our hero gets out of prison, I was with this plot. Sure, the dialogue was hokey, and everyone on Aaron Paul's racing team came across as if they wanted to date him, but I was with it. Then, it went completely off the rails. When he gets out of prison, his plan is to enter this super secret race to get revenge against Dominic Cooper's villain character. Exactly how though? At this point, he doesn't even know if Cooper is in said race (and actually, he wasn't at that point). Somewhere in there, the villain also enters the race, because he runs a failing auto dealership and needs a few more cars? Also, can we address the fact that Kid Cudi plays a pilot who can fly anything...and does? He randomly shows up in planes, news helicopters and at one point, an Apache, like he calmly goes to a rent-a-whateveryouneedforthisscene, and there he is, in the sky without difficulty. Or Michael Keaton's character, who apparently puts this race on every year and just broadcasts everything from his living room is never caught...because...why? Is it because he's rich? We never really know. This script really goes the extra 3,000 miles to insult the audience with stupidity.
If you're looking for a movie where you need to check your brain at the door...or completely chuck it out of a McLaren going 200mph, this is the movie for you. My suggestion? Wait until it hits Netflix and fast forward through the garbage that isn't car racing. Could be worse, though. This could be GETAWAY.