Need For Speed

I rated this film on IMDB as a 4/10 using my new guidelines to rating films, discussed here.

This was a bad film. Let me try and explain my choice of words there. The script was bad, the acting was bad, the racing was comical, the plot was appalling and the geography was bad. The scenery was gorgeous and Michael Keaton was brilliantly over the top. Otherwise, this was in general a bad film. I wanted it to end after about an hour and it didn’t, it kept piling up the turds for another 70 minutes! Yes, this is a long, tedious bad film.

I shall now go into some more detail. Like most things in life we like to focus on the bad things and rant and moan and yet don’t commit the same dedication to the good things. My good reviews on this site are probably pretty short, while the bad ones just let the venom flow.

I fully understand that this movie is based on a game franchise and I have played a version of the game [Carbon I think] which was quite good fun. I’m more of a circuit racer than street racer as I don’t like the unpredictable. It’s why I never really got on with Mario Karts as I hated being in the lead and then some crappy mushroom hitting me and making me last. If it’s a driving game then I like driving and not being t-boned from out of nowhere.

The characters were pretty one-dimensional. There was a successful racer, Dino Brewster, who had left town and raced at Indy but was a bit of a cock. Well, those people exist. The reason he left town was because he was better driver at the time than the main character, Tobey Marshall. There’s a race. There’s a failing company and a last chance at redemption and getting the company going again. It seems that Tobey isn’t very organised or clever. He wins a race. There’s a death. Tobey goes to jail. Tobey gets released and immediately jumps bail to enter a race on the other side of the country. Oh god, it’s bad writing this, making me relive the film. I’ll cut to the chase and keep it simple.

They don’t where seat belts while racing. Now, you can’t get decent feedback from the car unless you are tucked in nice and tight.

Every corner requires oversteer. This isn’t the fastest way to get around a corner. Yes it looks flash but to win you need to go fast and sliding isn’t fast.

Geography. One moment we are in Detroit and then we are in the Grand Canyon [looking remarkably like Pixar’s Cars scenery] and then they are flown by helicopter to the Bonneville Salt Flats a mere 500 miles away. Really? Maybe I’m being too much of a realist?

The cars were quite nice but let down by deliberately jogging the camera while racing to make you think they were going faster than they really were. You know the simple tricks to make you worry about the speed limit:

  • Camera down by the road
  • Shaking
  • Endless gear changes
  • Filming close to increase the pan speed
  • Smoke from spinning wheels
  • Noise

Curiously most of the cars in the final race were European. There was a Saleen and possibly another US car but it seems that we Europeans have the best aesthetic appeal when it comes to cars.

The Ford-Shelby Mustang was interesting but then if you are renovating a car you don’t fit it with a HUD or Recaro seats, you make it like as it was intended to be. Oh, and the JUMP!! The Mustang was clearly heading for a major front axle bend when it landed. It’s like the old Dukes of Hazard when their car would launch and then obviously land at such an angle as to break the car in half and then in the very next shot Luke and Bo (?) would be seen driving normally.

If you have a USA Police Car chasing a Koenigsegg then, let’s face it, the Koenigsegg is going to win and at the same time it will speed away from the police, especially around corners. The film had police cars easily keeping up with the Koenigsegg. That’s not really how it works.

I’ll explain the biggest problem. I didn’t LIKE any of the characters. They were pretty much all arseholes.

It’s interesting now that when I see a film I form sentences that will eventually appear on this website. I try to remember my thoughts as the film develops and then commit them to this website. How did this film go? I remembered a lot and I’ve had to try and stop myself from filling pages about how bad this film was. If you want a car chase watch The Blues Brothers.