Need for Speed (2014)

(On Cable TV, February 2015)  I’m not much of a car guy, but I will watch all car movies.  This being said, I’m left nonplussed by Need for Speed, and the way it doesn’t do much with everything it has at its disposal.  You can see some effort put in the film’s props, from exotic cars to practical stunts to bits and pieces of interest thrown in the mix.  And yet, once you take the entire film in, it just becomes an entirely average action film with few distinguishing features.  The film self-congratulates itself on being a car guy’s movie, but fails to draw in anyone who can’t be impressed by the rare cars on display.  Aaron Paul is almost entirely bland as the protagonist, but Michael Keaton is surprisingly hilarious as an off-the-wall millionaire sponsoring an illegal prestige race and having a blast from within his command centre.  The structure of the film is a bit of a mess with an overlong prologue that should have been handled in flashbacks; it doesn’t help that the film struggles with dull characters and a plot with numerous leaps of logic.  There is, simply put, very little fun in Need for Speed, and that (despite attempts to resist comparing) is really what makes it so inferior to the Fast and Furious series.  Somehow, it feels even worse to see so much effort squandered on-screen in the service on nothing much more than a forgettable attempt at a B-movie.  

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