‘Need for Speed’: Stupid Car Movie Or Love Letter to the Car Enthusiast?
“Gran Turismo” confirmed a market for video games-turned-movies in the current cinema landscape. However, the true story of “Gran Turismo” is far from the first. “Need for Speed” injected a bit of whimsy into the long list of car movies. From classic Chevrolet Camaros to high-horsepower Shelby Mustangs to matching Koenigsegg Ageras, the movie is tooled to the tastes of car fans. However, the game franchise movie also has a commendable claim to fame beyond the tough guy acting of Aaron Paul: epic stunt work.
Director Scott Waugh and the production team set out to make a car movie without gratuitous CGI
The 2014 movie “Need for Speed” pitted Aaron Paul (Tobey Marshall) and crew against Dominic Cooper (Dino Brewster) and a mountain of opposition. In the film, Marshall sets out on a mission of revenge and redemption after Brewster frames Marshall for the death of a close friend.
Still, viewers, especially those with car enthusiasm at heart, will have difficulty paying attention to anything other than the cars. Like the “Need for Speed” video games, the movie features fabulous automotive diversity. In the early sequences, the town of Mount Kisco, New York hosted a tire-squealing street race between a handful of stunning classics. For instance, Aaron Paul’s Tobey Marshall drives a 1969 Ford Gran Torino against a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, a 1966 Pontiac GTO, and a 1970 E9 BMW 2800 CS, to name a few.
However, the movie is more than a revenge story fraught with sloppy gun choreography and computer-generated Dodge Chargers sailing through the air. Looking at you, “Fast” franchise. No, a look beyond the predictable storyline reveals a gem that reminds fans of dangerous stuntwork in classics like “Vanishing Point” and “Bullitt.”
See, Scott Waugh, famous for the “Act of Valor” movie featuring active duty Navy SEALs and SWCC personnel, wanted to get back to the roots of stunt driving and realistic driving scenes. To achieve such a task, the production team commissioned kit cars to drive and wreck in the film’s many kinetic collisions. Hell, just 34 minutes into the movie, a pneumatic cannon launches a Koenigsegg Agera kit car into the air.
‘Need for Speed’ might have pleased car fans, but critics tore it a new one
Car enthusiasts may have enjoyed watching stunt drivers slide a high-horsepower S197 Shelby Mustang around corners, but critics didn’t pull any punches. Rotten Tomatoes, a popular review website, gave “Need for Speed” just 23% out of a possible 100. IMDb, a motion picture database, scored the film a 6.4 out of 10.0. Scathing reviews, indeed.
However, if you’re on the lookout for a film that puts stunts and classic car movie appeal in the front seat, you might want to check this one out.