NEED FOR SPEED
MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Aaron Paul as TOBEY MARSHALL
Dominic Cooper as DINO BREWSTER
Imogen Poots as JULIA MADDON
Scott Mescudi as BENNY
Rami Malek as FINN
Ramon Rodriguez as JOE PECK
Michael Keaton as MONARCH
Directed by: Scott Waugh
BY KEVIN CARR
From the time I saw “Need for Speed” in theaters, I was conflicted. On one hand, there are some spectacular elements of the film. First and foremost, the look is gorgeous. It’s shot like a competent Michael Bay movie with rich colors and a glossy finish. It also excels by using a host of practical effects rather than too much CGI, which can be a problem (not just to watch the movie now but in years to come when age gives those CGI effects trouble holding up).
However, on the other hand, there’s some serious problems with the movie. Those problems don’t fade away when it comes to watching the film on home video. There’s only so much that can be forgiven with a home video release, but poor casting and weak characters isn’t it.
The story follows a road racer and mechanic named Tobey (Aaron Paul) as he sets out to compete in a maverick race for a huge prize. However, Tobey’s goal isn’t just to beat the other competitors for the monetary gain. He’s also out for revenge against the reckless professional driver who is responsible for the death of his brother.
Ultimately, “Need for Speed” is a sleek-looking car with a bum engine. Between the two-dimensional characters that have been carbon copied from the “Fast and Furious” movies and the bloated 130-minute running time, “Need for Speed” never gets into gear.
Aaron Paul is part of the problem, too. I’m sure he was fantastic on “Breaking Bad,” and I have no doubt that he can play the badass. However, his delivery as Tobey seems out of his depth. It might be the look they gave him for the film (which I like to describe as preppy Hobbit), or it might be his Eastwood-whisper delivery. Either way, he never quite sells the character, and as an actor he just seems to fit better on the smaller screen.
While the movie “Need for Speed” has some pretty significant problems to it, like the cars in the pictures, the nuts and bolts of the Blu-ray are still impressive. First, the transfer looks pretty solid, which is probably the best thing about the movie. In a era when films over-saturate or blow out the colors, the look of “Need for Speed” is slick and vivid.
The special features menu comes with some basic elements, including an audio commentary with director Scott Waugh and star Aaron Paul, as well as several deleted scenes and a trailer for the new “Need for Speed: Rivals” video game.
Other bonus material under the hood include the featurettes “Capturing Speed: Making an Authentic Car Movie” for basic behind-the-scenes information, “Ties That Bind” about the family legacy of the stunt work behind the movie, and “The Circus Is in Town” about the traveling road show to support the film. There’s also an outtake reel with Michael Keaton and Scott Mescudi improvising. Finally, things are rounded out with “The Sound of Need for Speed,” which looks at the sound design and sound mix of the film.