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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Need for Speed - C+

Rated PG-13, 130 minutes

Familiar but fast-paced "Need for Speed" doesn't lack in thrills

Aaron Paul and Dominic Cooper
Honestly, movies based on video games runs into tenuous filmmaking even with big name movie stars (The Rock in "Doom" and Mark Wahlberg in "Max Payne") but every so often one comes along that sticks, and the racing thriller "Need for Speed," based on the Electronic Arts (EA) game of the same name is one of those that works. With stock characters and predictable plotting that treads familiar territory, the overlong "Need for Speed" is also thrilling and fun, with its action sequences the clear highlight of the film. After being released from prison for a crime that he didn't commit, street racer Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) is set to race cross-country in a highly secretive car race to avenge the death of a close pal. Directed by Scott Waugh ("Act of Valor"), "Need for Speed" is slick, fast-paced and often ridiculous, mindless fun that will fly by quickly. It's too long for its own good and tries too hard to please with its memorable "Fast and Furious"-style antics but also nice that it doesn't rely heavily on CGI, allowing the sweet cars to speak for themselves (the Shelby Mustang featured prominently in most of the film is my favorite). As well, it's good to see "Breaking Bad's" Emmy-winner Paul get his own movie, and while he's an unusual choice for something mainsteam like this, he grounds the film with a little offbeat humor, making for a nice couple with charming breakout star Imogen Poots ("That Awkward Moment") who should be a huge star by year's end, not to mention bad guy Cooper, who should also be a recognizable face thanks to the "Captain America" films. The often preposterous but entertaining "Need for Speed" should please those needing another mindless racing flick, and could give that other racing movie series a run for its money.

Wes's Grade: C+

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