To address the elephant in the room: film adaptations based on videogames have a less-than-illustrious history — but if we're being completely honest, a lot of them are flat out terrible. In between the two extremes of being a slave to the original property and reimagining it radically differently, Need for Speed falls somewhere in the middle. There are times when the racing sequences evolve out of the narrative, moving with the ebb and flow of the storytelling, but there are also instances where it feels disjoint from the plot. All told, the film doesn't quite carry the dramatic heft that some of the performances are meant to convey, but it's far from being another Super Mario Bros. Even though the script has its cookie-cutter moments, the cast does an admirable job of selling the story with both emotion and humor, thanks to the charming back-and-forth dynamic between leads Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots — which keeps their scenes in the Shelby entertaining, even when they're not engaging in vehicular mayhem on their cross-country road trip — and the comic relief provided by pals Mescudi, Malek and Rodriguez. But ultimately, these are all merely diversions from the film's real focus, which is firmly on the driving. And in this respect, Need for Speed delivers on its promise of authenticity in spades.
3.5 out of 5. Surprise, a videogame adaptation that isn't horrible! The storyline itself has its moments, and the film's leads are charming, but if you come for the cars, the driving and the stunt work, you won't be disappointed.
My full review can be found here.