"Paul brings an intensity to the role of Tobey"
For those who haven't shown much interest in the video game franchises adapted to the screen, it matters little as far as Need For Speed is concerned, which is something of a pleasant surprise, as with a plethora of video games that are adapted to the big screen that don't quite measure up (in some cases are frankly terrible), it's easy to have such preconceptions about this Scott Waugh project - or perhaps imagine this may just be a Fast and Furious rip off. Fortunately, you'd be wrong on both counts.
While it does have some of the elements that has made the Fast and Furious franchise popular, there is more depth to this and Tobey (Aaron Paul) is not just a thief or in it for the adrenaline rush, he has a score to settle and is seeking justice. It is a bizarre concept in a film like this but it works. The film introduces us to Tobey and his Mechanics at Marshall Motors, his Dad has just passed away and he's about to lose his garage. He's given the opportunity to settle all debts with the payoff from a restoration job from Dino (Dominic Cooper), but when things turn competitive between the two, it costs the life of Pete (newcomer Harrison Gilbertson), and Tobey is put away for a crime that he didn't commit. We know it, we saw it happen but the evidence is nowhere to be seen.
As for the cast, they play their roles well, however, Dakota Johnson is severely under utilised, she isn't really given a lot to do, but what she does do, she does well. Paul brings an intensity to the role of Tobey and from watching the film, he's almost reminiscent of a young Beetlejuice, with that gruff voice and crazy look in his eyes, complete with a devilish grin. Talking of Beetlejuice we have the great Michael Keaton back on top form as the mysterious Monarch.
The car stunts are amazing and electrifying, and with Paul doing his own stunts, you can feel the intensity of the picture. However, the film offers so much more than that, as the mechanics bring a good dose of humour to the proceedings, with a stand out scene being where Rami Malek's Finn quits his job and starts stripping off as he leaves. Imogen Poots also impresses as her character Julia Maddon, who is an English girl who the other perceive to be out of he depth, but she proves that she is more than a match for the boys.
So while the majority of stunts are just bonkers and probably wouldn't work in real life the way they do in the film, it is worth pointing out that they are all stunning and you can feel your pulse racing, adding authenticity to that is the fact that the stunts weren't just performed by stunt drivers, but the actors as well and to cap it all there is NO CGI! Need For Speed shouldn't work, but it does, so while we were expecting another sub par video game adaptation, we're instead treated to an unrelenting slice of entertaining cinema.