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Byron Shire
March 2, 2021

Need for Speed

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We all have our favourite types of movies, as well as those we dislike.

For mine, the screaming engines and screeching tyres of the car flick are infinitely more tiresome than the gunfire and explosions of the action adventure.

But if you exercise a modicum of open-mindedness, you can be persuaded to overcome your prejudice, as I was by Ron Howard’s outstanding Rush.

Unfortunately, Need for Speed never breaks free of the formulaic and, in what threatens to be a never-ending series, it’s also the offshoot of a popular video game franchise, about which I know zilch.

Also, in a weird way, existing in a parallel universe, it fills the same slot for testosterone pumped young blokes who are drawn to mindless tooling around in souped-up autos that the equally vacuous Vampire Academy does for chicks.

If you’re not a member of one of these groups, there is not much to say for either movie, other than they are meticulously cliched and long enough to keep the kids out of trouble for a couple of hours.

Tobey (Aaron Paul from ‘Breaking Bad’) is just out of the slammer – he was framed, of course, and he’s going to get even. It takes no time at all to identify who the bad guy is (he’s the one dressed in black throughout) and who is the girl he’ll get when he wins the challenge.

It’s not in the same league as Fast and Furious, notwithstanding its non-stop rev-head revelry – the same polish is not quite there and, most obvious, the guys just don’t have the screen-filling, gargantuan egos of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson.

What is impressive is that it appears to have been accomplished without the now standard daubs of CGI, ie, all the stunts look real and much of the driving is done by Paul himself. Which is hardly a reason to dash out and see it, but, compared to its more flash seniors, it has a backyard enthusiasm and gear crunching earnestness that makes it bearable – almost.

~ John Campbell


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