You hear the term “Movie based on a video game” and you instantly shudder with fear as to what will come out on the big screen. The cross over from games to the Hollywood big screen is rarely a process that does justice to the original source. So take a racing franchise which has very little story, mix in high octane Hollywood races and crashes and what do you get? Actually a pretty good movie. Of course it could be a good movie without having Need for Speed branding on it too.
The film follows the story of a racer, Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad) who happens to own a garage left to him by his father and can’t afford to keep it (think Fast and the Furious original films and you will be close already). Asked by his high school nemesis to fix up the car that Ford and Shelby were working on when Shelby died and you have the car star, a Ford Shelby Mustang which gets a good airing during the movie and occasionally feels like a Ford Mustang advert as they explain the engine, top speed (234mph even though in reality it has a top speed of 190mph) and put it through its paces by drifting, jumping and racing it across country.
That is where Need for Speed games come into it. Part of the film is loosely based around the coast to coast racing of Need for Speed The Run (dismal game I know but don’t let that put you off the film). Aaron on co-star, British actress Imogen Poots, have to get from the garage in New York to San Francisco in California in 48 hours to take part in the race of races, 6 cars, winner takes all arranged by a mysterious man known as the Monarch, played by
Batman Michael Keaton.
The film is of course filled with high speed driving and exotica cars that get a little less screen time than the Mustang including a host of briefly seen American muscle cars. All the high speed is of course just a warm up for the the final race which has an impressive line of cars: McLaren P1, Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, Koenigsegg Agera R, Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, Saleen S7 and GTA Spano. As is always the way with Hollywood, top speed has no relation to what happens on screen with slower cars keeping pace with the straight line speed monsters.
The racing and high speed driving is well filmed with nods to the video game effects that make the game stand out including windscreen HUD’s and time bending slow motion as cars accelerate under the most exciting of moments. The high speed driving fills up the majority of the film which is great for anyone who wants to see a good old car racing movie. If you are into story line and plot then maybe sit this one out as it is pretty standard formula of “Mechanic drives cars fast, meets woman, falls in love, has vendetta to uphold etc.” There are a few laugh out loud moments and even an appearance of Need for Speed on PlayStation 3 makes its big screen debut as fellow mechanics race it out in their down time.
Is it worth going to the cinema to watch? Sure if you enjoy going to the cinema. Is it worth buying when it comes to Blu-Ray/DVD/Download? Yes. Is it worth renting/Netflix? Definitely.