Need for Speed (Movie)

I saw this film earlier in the year minus the sound on a holiday flight. It’s much better with the sound.

I had earplugs but the audio socket on my chair didn’t work properly, also having watched about an hour I decided to look away and not watch any more. The reason was that even without the sound I could see that the film was pretty damn awesome and I didn’t want to spoil the end because I knew I’d be watching it again when it came out for rental.

All the car crashes, tumbles and flips that you see on the movie were done for real ‘in camera’. Okay so they’ve digitally removed cables and puffs of smoke from air cannons and carefully edited together multiple ‘gags’ but there is nothing quite as pleasing to the eye as a Koenigsegg barrel-rolling in flames off the side of a bridge and knowing that they did it for real instead of collecting together loads of zeroes and ones and making it look real.

The cars are the stars and this is as it should be. The cast is great especially Aaron Paul despite his alarmingly widening face and Michael Keaton in real Hunter S Thompson form, but this is all about the machines – hulking American muscle cars to fibreglass spaceships on wheels. The makers have gone all out to worshipfully treat the essence of the game giving a fan a lot of nods and winks to the much-loved franchise while quietly pissing all over the oftentimes physics-defying Fast and Furious in terms of making a car film. Road layouts, computer screens and key fobs seem to be lifted from the game and so too do some of the action ‘set pieces’ such as police car takedowns (I’m thinking ‘Hot Pursuit’), multiple hyper car racing (‘Rivals’ and almost any other game in the franchise) and the grasshopper jump. The action is made even more visceral by numerous POV shots from over the top of the steering wheel and profile shots of the various drivers grinding their teeth as they fly along at ridiculous speeds.

I am a massive fan of the game franchise (especially once Criterion got their mitts on it) and also a big fan of Fast and Furious and so it is pleasing to see that Hollywood may have found a worthy replacement for Paul Walker RIP.

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