Need For Speed, based off the video game of the same name, brings the action-packed universe to the real world with Aaron Paul as protagonist Tobey Marshall.

Along with a series of high stakes racing sequences, Need for Speed has a plot. Tobey, a struggling mechanic, endeavors to win a cross-country race with the help of ex NASCAR driver Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper). Before the race is underway, Dino frames Tobey for manslaughter, for which he serves a couple of years behind bars. Once he’s out, it’s time for some revenge.

The Scott Waugh-directed picture has largely been ripped apart by critics, who’ve felt underwhelmed by the narrative – and the action – in the adaptation of the successful video game franchise. While Paul, who proved himself as a talented actor in AMC’s Breaking Bad, isn’t terrible, it’s a common consensus that he wasn’t given much to work with.

Critics Review 'Need For Speed'

"Not sure there's a burning need for Need for Speed – a cross-country, road-racing, revenge-taking, stunt-driving cannonball of a movie – but now that it's here, braking into spins and spinning in slo-mo and fast-mo from Mount Kisco, N.Y., to the Mendocino Highway, you'd have to be a true carmudgeon (sorry) to want it to stop. […]Paul pulls a few Jesse Pinkman facial tics and eyebrow arches out of his bag, but he's all conviction behind the wheel, and the rapport between the actor and Poots goes a long way – even when the dialogue doesn't." – Steven Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"With so many alternate realities to please, it's no wonder Scott Waugh's moronic flick has multiple personalities — it's the Sybil of street racing, with a script that doesn't feel so much typed as button-mashed. Like porn, another art form where characters are blank audience surrogates, the video game version of Need for Speed emphasized action over individuality. The hero was called, simply, the Player. Now Aaron Paul steps into the void. He's at least given a name, Tobey Marshall, but not much else.” – Amy Nicholoson, LA Weekly

The action drama Need for Speed is like a great-looking roadster with a junky engine. This movie is so dumb for most of its running time, you walk away wishing there was less plot and pointless posing and more of the fuel-injected coolness that brought you to the multiplex in the first place. […] There is one classic thing Need for Speed does well that deserves a shout-out, which is the use of actual cars and effects instead of CGI. – Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News

Car movies are always about adolescent indulgence, existing in a world without rules where the hero – and the film around him — can do anything and everything he wants to because he is just that good. He wants the girl? He gets the girl? He wants to ignore every speed limit? Done, no matter how much consequence-free destruction is left in his wake. But Need For Speed is a flat, sexless movie that seems not to understand why people like to sit in the driver’s seat and rev that big engine: Because of the transgressive rumble in your nethers. – Marc Bernardin, The Hollywood Reporter

Need for Speed, rated PG-13, is currently in wide release.

– Chelsea Regan

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