News

REVIEW: ‘Need for Speed’ fails to outrun the stupid

REVIEW: ‘Need for Speed’ fails to outrun the stupid

Photo: YouTube

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama | Run Time: 132 min | Rated: PG-13
Director: Scott Waugh | Starring: Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Scott Mescudi

By: George Wolf

I never watched Breaking Bad, but I believe you when you say it is awesome, and that Aaron Paul is awesome as Jesse. I don’t doubt it for one second. Really.

But trust me, Need for Speed isn’t Breaking Bad, it’s just bad.

Paul moves on from Jesse to star as Tobey Marshall, a badass gearhead/street racer who was framed for murder by an old adversary. After serving a prison stint, Tobey rejoins his old garage crew to enter a legendary cross-country race, and hatch a plan that will bring both sweet victory, and sweet revenge.

Even for a film based on a video game, Need for Speed is achingly shallow. Director Scott Waugh‘s biggest error is to give the film the same overly dramatic, utterly heroic tone he brought to Act of Valor. It made sense on Valor, as Waugh was directing active-duty Navy SEALS who had trouble acting, but at least they deserved the treatment.

Here, though, the approach is so over-the-top it results in a cornball mess of high octane ridiculousness. Though it’s hard to tell from the squeaky-clean garages, neatly pressed clothes and perfect fingernails, these are street racers, not world-savers. Lighten up already.
George Gatins’s sophomoric and painfully obvious screenplay doesn’t help, bursting as it is with groan-inducing dialog and plotting fit for coma patients.

I suppose there is something here if you like to see cars going fast, but even those sequences are bland, especially after Waugh makes the mistake of including a snippet from Bullit, one of the greatest car movies ever made. Honestly, you can find more auto-excitica (you’re welcome) in The Town or one of those Jeff Gordon-in-disguise Pepsi commercials.

Even the music is awful, alternating between melodramatic crescendos and tone-deaf remakes of rock classics.

A sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek vibe would have worked wonders on Need for Speed. As it stands, it can’t outrun the stupid, no matter how fast it goes.

Verdict-1-0-Star

Read more movie reviews at MaddWolf.com.

Recent Headlines

12 hours ago in National

Democrats, seeking unity, give Sanders say in party platform

14-overlay-8

The Democratic Party said on Monday it would give U.S. presidential contender Bernie Sanders a prominent say in writing its platform this year, a gesture that could ease tensions between Sanders' camp and party leaders, whom Sanders has accused of favoring rival Hillary Clinton.

13 hours ago in National

Hawaii could be first to put gun owners in federal database

hawaiigunrestrictions16134856688305

Hawaii could become the first state in the nation to enter gun owners into an FBI database that will automatically notify police if an island resident is arrested anywhere else in the country.

13 hours ago in Lifestyle, National

Kicking the habit: Adult smoking rate in U.S. is falling fast

cigarettes16137527645580

The smoking rate among U.S. adults has been falling steadily for decades but the latest survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds the 2015 decline is the biggest in more than 20 years.

13 hours ago in National

States on Zika’s frontline see big gaps in funding, expertise

zikaREUTERS

In Mississippi, a small team of entomologists has begun the first survey of mosquito populations in decades. Experts do not believe the kind of mosquitoes most likely to carry the Zika virus are active in the state, but they cannot know for sure.

13 hours ago in National, World

Obama prods Vietnam on rights, promotes Trans-Pacific Partnership

11-overlay-12

U.S. President Barack Obama chided Vietnam on political freedoms on Tuesday after critics of the communist-run government were prevented from meeting him in Hanoi, a discordant note on a trip otherwise steeped in words of amity between the former foes.