No Need for Need for Speed

Movie Review Jackie K Cooper
Need for Speed (Touchstone Pictures)

Need for Speed is a movie based on a videogame of the same name. As such it has a built in audience with it from the start. All others will sign on at their own risk -- of boredom. This is a wannabe Fast & Furious but it falls short on all levels. It doesn't have the acting, the action or the involvement by the audience. Plus it is offensive in the way it puts harmless bystanders in jeopardy.

Recent headlines have screamed about tragedies caused by idiots speeding on our highways or traveling in the wrong lanes against traffic. Yet this movie glorifies that type of action. Speed is the defining word and who it hurts or how insanely it is applied are never factors in this open road hero mentality. And when the violators are caught by the police they get off with barely a slap on the wrist. What message is this movie sending!

The basic plot has Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) traveling cross country from New York to California to take part in an underground race set up by a guy named Monarch (Michael Keaton). Marshall has forty-something hours to get to California in order to participate in the race.

He is accompanied by a woman named Julia (Imogen Poots) and helped out by his buddies Benny, Finn and Joe (Scott Mescudi, Rami Malek and Ramon Rodriguez). Getting across country involves some "exciting" driving by Marshall that puts scores of innocent drivers in danger. This is presented as the best way to get cross country and what the "star" of this film needs, he does.

The acting in the movie is less than captivating. Paul exudes a silent hero persona while Poots is just filler for the "girl" role. There is little chemistry between the two leads. Dominic Cooper has some strength as Dino, the villain of the piece, but Dakota Johnson is unrecognizable and unimpressive as his girlfriend.

With all the car crashes, crazy driving, nudity and profanity this movie still is rated PG-13. How the heck did that happen!

There are sure to be impressionable teens in the audience for this film who will see this as a great introduction for the "need for speed" and will try to emulate some of the driving in this movie. They may not be so lucky when it comes to walking away unscathed AND not hurting anyone else.

There is no need for speed racing of this type and there is no need for this movie.

I scored Need for Speed a needless 3 out of 10.

Jackie K Cooper