Need For Speed (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
July 27, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“Need For Speed” is a film that doesn’t break any new ground. It’s a simple plot of revenge and the elements of the video game of coming in first, beating your rival and avoiding police are a big part of the film. But with that being said, the film probably does a disservice by making viewers think that high speed racing is so cool but there are repercussions for those who take part in this dangerous hobby that can actually hurt and kill someone. But while you have one side who will detest this film because of that, there are those who simply love fast cars, love the video games and love racing and this is who this film was made for. So, if you are the latter and want to experience a race film that looks and sounds incredible on Blu-ray, then “Need For Speed” is recommended for you!
Image courtesy of © 2014 Dreamworks Distribution. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Need For Speed
YEAR OF FILM: 2014
DURATION: 131 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:39:1 aspect ratio, English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
COMPANY: DreamWorks Pictures/Touchstone Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: July 22, 2014
Directed by Scott Waugh
Screenplay by George Gatins
Story by George Gatins and John Gatins
Produced by John Gatins, Patrick O’Brien, Mark Sourian
Executive Producer: Stuart M. Besser, Frank Gibeau, Tim Moore, Scott Waugh
Music by Nathan Furst
Cinematography by Shane Hurlbut
Edited by Paul Rubell, Scott Waugh
Casting by Ronna Kress
Production Design by Jon hutman
Art Direction by Christopher R. DeMuri
Costume Design by Ellen Mirojnick
Aaron Paul as Tobey Marshall
Dominic Cooper as Dino Brewster
Imogen Poots as Julia Maddon
Scott Mescudi as Benny
Rami Malek as Finn
Ramon Rodriguez as Joe Peck
Harrison Gilbertson as Little Pete
Dakota Johnson as Anita
Stevie Ray Dallimore as Bill Ingram
Michael Keaton as Monarch
Based on the most successful racing video game franchise ever with over 140 million copies sold, DreamWorks Pictures’ Need for Speed captures the thrills of the game in a real-world setting. An exciting return to the great car-culture films of the 1960s and ‘70s, when authenticity brought a new level of intensity to the action, Need for Speed taps into what makes the American myth of the open road so enticing.
The story chronicles a near-impossible cross-country race against time — one that begins as a mission for revenge, but proves to be one of redemption. In a last attempt to save his struggling garage, blue-collar mechanic Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) — who with his team skillfully builds and races muscle cars on the side — reluctantly partners with wealthy, arrogant ex-NASCAR driver Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper). Just as a major sale to a car broker Julia Bonet (Imogen Poot) looks like it will save the business, a disastrous, unsanctioned race results in Dino framing Tobey for manslaughter.
Two years later and fresh out of prison, Tobey is set on revenge with plans to take down Dino in the high-stakes De Leon race — the Super Bowl of underground racing. To get there in time, Tobey must run a high-octane, action-packed gauntlet, dodging cops coast-to-coast and dealing with fallout from a dangerous bounty Dino put on his car. With his loyal crew and the surprisingly resourceful Julia as allies, Tobey defies odds at every turn and proves that even in the flashy world of exotic supercars, the underdog can still finish first.
From the filmmaker responsible for the war film “Acts of Valor” comes “Need for Speed”, a film that is based on the popular EA video game racing series.
For anyone who has played the video games, the games are all about racing and taking first place but also having to deal with the police who are often chasing after you. And those elements are included in the film which did fantastic in the box office.
The film would star Aaron Paul (“Mission: Impossible III”, “Breaking Bad”, “The Last House on the Left”), Dominic Cooper (“Captain America: The First Avenger”, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”), Imogen Poots (“That Awkward Moment”, “V for Vendetta”, “28 Weeks”), music star Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi, Ramon Rodriguez (“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, “The Taking of Pelham 123”, “Battle Los Angeles”), Dakota Johnson (“The Social Network”, “21 Jump Street”), Rami Malek, Harrison Gilbertson and Michael Keaton (“Batman”, “Beetlejuice”, “Night Shift”, “Jackie Brown”).
The $66 million film would go on to make over $203 million worldwide and now “Need For Speed” will be released on Blu-ray.
“Need For Speed” revolves around Tobey Marshall (portrayed by Aaron Paul), a former race car driver who now operates an auto garage and tuning performance cars with his friends. The group which include Tobey, their pilot Benny “Maverick” (portrayed by Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi), mechanics Joe Peck (portrayed by Ramon Rodriguez) and Finn (portrayed by Rami Malek) and Little Pete Coleman (portrayed by Harrison Gilbertson).
While the group likes to race at night and love testing out their vehicles, right before a race, his ex-girlfriend and Pete’s older sister Anita (portrayed by Dakota Johnson) is visiting town with her boyfriend, Dino Brewster (portrayed by Dominic Cooper), an entrepreneur and former racer, but also Tobey’s longtime rival.
After Tobey wins the race, Tobey is offered a business deal from Dino that if he can restore a rare Ford Shelby Mustang, he will get 25% of the car’s estimated selling price of $2 million.
Despite his crew warning him to do business with his enemy, knowing that the garage is hurting for money, Tobey agrees.
The car eventually sells for $2.7 million after Tobey shows the car can go over 230 mph. The car is sold to exotic car dealer Julia Maddon (portrayed by Imogen Poots) and after the sale, after Pete brags to Dino about how Tobey can easily beat him in the race, Dino proposes a bet. Using one of his uncle’s three Koenigsegg Agera R’s and racing over Interstate 684, if Dino loses, he will win the entire Mustang deal. If Tobey loses, he will give up his 25%.
Tobey agrees and the three race. As Tobey is about to win the race, Dino clips Pete’s car and Pete’s car flips over the overpass. Distraught, Tobey stops the car to check on his friend and runs towards the wreckage, while Dino doesn’t stop and continues the race and wins the bet.
Tobey is arrested by police and Dino claims that his uncle’s two Koenigsegg Agera R’s were stolen. Tobey tries to tell the authorities that he and Pete were racing Dino but with no witness to a third car and no proof there was a third Koenigsegg Agera R, Tobey goes to prison for two years for involuntary manslaughter and loses his garage.
Fastforward two years later and Tobey assembles his group of friends and wants revenge on Dino Brewster by racing him in the dangerous race known as the De Leon organized by DJ Monarch (portrayed by Michael Keaton).
Desperate for a car, as the group needs to reach San Francisco in two days, he calls up Julia Maddon to borrow the Ford Shelby Mustang, the crew plan their trip to San Francisco. But unaware that Dino has put a bounty on Tobey and will do anything to prevent him from racing in the De Leon.
Will Tobey get to the race in time? And will he get his revenge on his rival Dino Brewster?
“Need for Speed” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio). Picture quality for the film is absolutely fantastic as colors are vibrant, reds pop, black levels are nice and deep, skin tones are natural with closeups featuring excellent detail, the cars look so fantastic in HD and I saw no problems with artifacts, banding or any negative issues.
“Need For Speed” looks absolutely fantastic!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for audio, “Need For Speed” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HDMA and English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks.
The film sounds absolutely awesome thanks to the immersive soundtrack. If there was one thing that director Scott Waugh wanted is that people feel that they were in the car, so sound engineers utilized the 7.1 lossless soundtrack to make you hear the car engine, tires screeching, cars hitting each other and literally hearing and feeling the cars around you.
Because the amount of car action featured in the film, the lossless soundtrack is active with all channels being utilized and also fantastic LFE. Definitely one of the best lossless soundracks on Blu-ray that I have listened to in 2014!
Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
“Need for Speed” comes with the following special features:
- Capturing Speed: Making an Authentic Car Movie – (9:45) A featurette about making an authentic racing film and the cars utilized for the film.
- Ties That Bind – (11:56) A featurette about the Mickey Gilbert and the Gilbert family who worked as stuntmen in the business1 and working on “Need For Speed”.
- The Circus is in Town – (10:49) Working with the crew how it’s like a traveling circus and moving around the United States to film “Need For Speed”.
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director Scott Waugh and actor Aaron Paul.
- Monarch and Maverick Outtakes – (1:35) Outtakes from the ad libs used by Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi and Michael Keaton.
- Deleted Scenes – (5:06) Featuring four deleted scenes with intro by director Scott Waugh.
- The Sound of Need for Speed – (9:22) A featurette on capturing the sounds of the cars and making the audience feel that they are driving in the car, using 7.1 soundscape and also creating the music for the film.
- Need for Speed Rivals Trailer – (1:25) Trailer for the “Need for Speed Rivals” video game.
“Need for Speed” comes with a slipcover and a Digital HD Digital Copy code.
For anyone who has played the “Need For Speed” video games or those who have an interest in street racing, will find Scott Waugh’s live action film to be exciting thanks to the decision to forego CG and use real cars, but also to utilize sound in which the viewer is immersed in the surroundings of the actual vehicle and race and making you feel you are right there.
It was a goal of Scott Waugh and crew to have people feel like you were in the vehicle but also to make sure the racing felt real and natural and watching this film, you can’t help but marvel at the cars featured but how much that went into the actual racing aspect of the film.
Yes, it’s based on the video game which was all about beating your rivals in a race and avoiding the police but the film was able to taking things up a notch by cool characters and the whole racing storyline bent on revenge but also the unexpected situations that are featured in the film.
The plot may not break new ground but what breaks new ground is how vehicles were utilized, the filming of the vehicles in the race and capturing the sounds from the vehicles. It’s not easy to explain if you are not a car enthusiast but the sounds of the engine and the actual race are part of why I enjoyed the film. And the fact that Scott Waugh and crew wanted to try something different in terms of how cars are utilized in a film is a major plus
Aaron Paul did a good job of playing the calm and collected protagonist, while Dominic Cooper did a good job of playing the jerk antagonist. I also enjoyed Imogen Poots as the luxury car specialist who joins Paul’s character in the cross country drive to California.
But the film is far from perfect. While filmmakers pushed to do something different and new with the vehicles, there are scenes that just don’t work well. For example, Kid Cudi’s character, Maverick asking his guard to borrow an iPad while he’s locked up? Like that is ever going to happen. Maverick using a military helicopter to transport the Mustang also is farfetched.
But as I have enjoyed the video game series that the film is based on, there is no way I will promote or advocate street racing. If you want to race, you can take your vehicle on the track, no need to endanger other lives by high speed racing.
I know that there are young people who may be inspired to emulate what they see on the big screen and I hope that people realize that there are repercussions for irresponsible driving, especially if someone is killed.
As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is fantastic, the 7.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack is immersive and magnificent and you also get a good number of special features included.
Overall, “Need For Speed” is a film that doesn’t break any new ground. It’s a simple plot of revenge and the elements of the video game of coming in first, beating your rival and avoiding police are a big part of the film.
But with that being said, the film probably does a disservice by making viewers think that high speed racing is so cool but there are repercussions for those who take part in this dangerous hobby that can actually hurt and kill someone.
But while you have one side who will detest this film because of that, there are those who simply love fast cars, love the video games and love racing and this is who this film was made for. So, if you are the latter and want to experience a race film that looks and sounds incredible on Blu-ray, then “Need For Speed” is recommended for you!
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