…Just Not Feeling It.
DIRECTOR: SCOTT WAUGH/2014
Need for Speed is garbage. It is repugnant, irredeemable, reprehensible trash, ineptly thrown together in a near-incomprehensible clusterfrack of inanity. It has all the artistic value of poorly-made pornography but with none of the sensual appeal. It is hollow, boring, unfunny, and grating bull-shite. It is agonizing to sit through.
Need for Speed is the type of movie that treats logic and reason as foreign concepts. It’s the type of movie that features a shucking and jiving black best buddy as comic relief. It’s the type of movie that thinks sexual assault is funny. It’s the kind of movie that asks you to root for sociopaths because they happen to be pitted against psychopaths. I have no idea how we’re supposed to get behind a character who willfully and carelessly puts innocent people in danger (and probably in the hospital—and possibly in the morgue) for no reason whatsoever. I never thought I’d say anything positive about the abomination that was last year’s Getaway, but at least Ethan Hawke’s character in that movie was forced to wreak vehicular havoc because Jon Voight had a gun to his wife’s head. Aaron Paul in Need for Speed does it because…racing? To honour his friend who was killed in a car crash?!
I have never come so close to walking out of a movie I was reviewing as I did during this one. Never have I been so disgusted, offended, or repulsed by such cinematic anathema.
I thought that I had scraped the bottom of the barrel with the aforementioned Getaway, but how woefully wrong I was. Rock Bottom is a relative term, it seems, because Need for Speed makes Getaway look like The Fast and the Furious. It makes The Fast and the Furious look like Ben Hur. As a video game adaptation, it makes Super Mario Bros. look like The Brothers Karamazov. In an age where cinematic action is more and more influenced on video game storytelling, there is no excuse for a movie that is actually based on a video game to demonstrate absolutely no sense of mise-en-scène, geography of action, or character stakes. But Need for Speed wallows in its inexcusability, like a nameless eldritch horror; a thing that should not be; a shambling revenant that consumes your soul from the inside out at leaves you a hollow, gibbering lunatic.
One of my favourite movie quotes is from the movie Halloween (1978). Doctor Samuel Loomis (Donald Pleasance) is describing the daemonic evil of the iconic slasher, Michael Myers—but if he were alive today and reviewing movies, I think he’d say something very similar about Need For Speed: “There was nothing left…no reason, no conscience, no understanding [of] even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong…I realized that what was living behind that [movie] was purely and simply…evil.”