"We're still at war, Plissken. We need him alive."

"I don't give a fuck about your war... or your president."

Why I give a shit about this NEED FOR SPEED

Here’s a trailer for NEED FOR SPEED, a movie coming out next March, apparently based on some video game. They’re smart to make it look all serious and not use any hip hop on the trailer so less people will compare it to THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS.

Of course with that one TV show being so popular, everybody’s focusing on this being an attempt to use Aaron Paul as a leading man. But the reason I’m drawing your attention to this is because it’s from Scott Waugh, the co-director of ACT OF VALOR. He was a stuntman on many fine (SPARTAN, SPEED, LAST OF THE MOHICANS) and not-so-fine (BATMAN FOREVER, SPY HARD) movies. He worked on both BIKER BOYZ and TORQUE. Then he was second unit director, producer and editor of the documentaries STEP INTO LIQUID and DUST TO GLORY, which led him to the weird stunt/reality/fiction/military recruiting film combo of ACT OF VALOR. I hope he can carry through some of the qualities I liked in ACT OF VALOR, this time 100% free of any guilt of enjoying military propaganda. Of course he’s working with actors now, so he won’t have that interesting “this is a real interrogator guy demonstrating how he does his job” thing going, but I’m sure there will be some good stunts.

The script is by George and John Gatins (FLIGHT, REAL STEEL) and George Nolfi (OCEAN’S TWELVE, BOURNE ULTIMATUM, THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU). Michael Keaton is in the cast. My man “Professional” Shane Hurlbut is the cinematographer. Stunt coordinator is Lance Gilbert (TORQUE, STEALTH, VACANCY, PRIEST).

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47 Responses to “Why I give a shit about this NEED FOR SPEED”

  1. I like seeing Aaron Paul in a different role. He is of course amazing on BREAKING BAD, but hopefully doing something else other than playing a deadbeat could elevate him and hopefully not being typecast as a white trash loser. However i have no love for the NEED FOR SPEED videogame.

  2. He’s also (I think) pretty much confirmed to co-star with Christian Bale in Ridley Scott’s Moses movie. So things are looking up for him, as they should.

  3. The movie looks like it could be fun. I know you’re not into reviewing TV shows, but I’d love to get your take on Breaking Bad.

  4. I know I hate on Ridley Scott, but a Ridley Scott Moses movie with Christian Bale sounds like the most pedestrian and boring thing ever. Not sure if Aaron Paul would be well served to be in it.

  5. The movie looks like fun, and I’m really excited to see what the Act of Valor guy can do with a car chase movie, but whoever that guy is doing the voice-over really doesn’t sell it at all. I hope that guy’s shitty performance doesn’t drag the whole movie down.

  6. I think this looks pretty bloody awful to be honest, perhaps amusingly so, although I am aware my perception must be coloured by watching the trailer already aware that what I’m seeing is based on a franchise I chiefly associate with PSPs and 8 year old relatives

  7. Aaron Paul is rightly praised for his performance on you know what, but unfortunately it’s going to take a while for him to climb out from under that show’s shadow and for media commentators to stop hilariously appending “bitch” and “yo” to all his lines.

  8. I have to agree with the “bloody awful” comments. That speech in the trailer was hideous and it just feels like a crappy Dave Batista STD that was lucky enough to score Aaron Paul and a decent budget.

    Although, if they called it The Fast and The Serious: Braking Bad, I may show a bit more interest.

  9. I’m the only person I know that thinks Breaking Bad sucks.

    I hate that it sucks because Bill Burr is on that show and I love that guy.

  10. I think you have to give us a little bit more info, Captain.

  11. The Undefeated Gaul

    September 26th, 2013 at 2:32 am

    The worst thing you could say about Breaking Bad is that there are dull patches in some of the earlier seasons. Saying “IT SUCKS” definitely requires some explanation…

  12. Breaking Bad tended to be a slow burner then and again (I admit they went too far with the “Fly Episode”, but that was ony one minor misstep), but it was always great TV and one of the most memorable shows… ever, really. If you’re not watching, you are missing out big time.

  13. Am I the only one who didn’t mind that fly episode? Okay, looking back at it, it was just a filler (which is true, because they went over budget at this point and needed a bottle show), but I like it.

    But all in all, I think the weakest part of the series was early in season 2, when we had 2 or 3 episodes, where everybody was just yelling at each other for having secrets.

  14. I have sat down and thought about it and have figured out why I don’t like it. There are a number of reasons but chief among them is my inability to relate to the protagonist. He’s a fucking meth dealer that kills people and I am supposed to root for his success?

    “Yeah, Captain, but what about Henry Hill in ‘Goodfellas’? He’s a criminal and you like that movie!”

    True, but watching a 2 hour movie and shaking your head at all of the ruthlessness is a far cry from following a character over multiple seasons. Bluntly, I can handle criminal characters in small doses but I like seeing the bad guy get killed after ninety minutes or so. I definitely don’t like watching bad guys get away with stuff.

    “He’s not really a bad guy, he-”

    Stop. He’s a meth dealer. Fuck whatever else you were going to say.

    Also, I absolutely, positively, unreservedly, and with great rancor HATE white guys that act like Aaron Paul’s character on the show. It can be the most well-made, lauded, heavily awarded show ever made but if one of the main characters is an *ahem* urban white dude I won’t watch it.

    Anyway, I need someone to root for when I watch movies or TV shows. Without a protagonist I can relate to it’s time better spent elsewhere.

  15. Vince Gilligan has said that the point of the show was to take a protagonist from “Mr Chips to Scarface”. He wanted to gradually push the limits of audience identification. You’re supposed to feel uncomfortable about it. It’s fine if you don’t want to go on that journey, but it’s not a failing of the show.

    At the same time, Aaron Paul’s character has become the moral compass of the show, so it’s not really fair to write him off as a wannabe gangster.

  16. Yeah, although many shitheads glorify Heisenberg like all those hip hop kiddy glorify SCARFACE, you are actually NOT supposed to root for him. At least not all through the show. In the beginning, when he was really just trying for a way to feed his family after his death and kills only in self defense, he still is the hero and you want him to succeed or at least redeem himself after everything he did. But at one point he so obviously becomes the villain, I wonder why so many viewers still defend him. I mean (mild spoiler) at one point in the show he starts to psychologically abuse his wife!

    And as CrusteceanHate pointed out, Jesse (Aaron Paul) becomes very quick a MUCH deeper character than “the white kid who tries to be black by saying ‘yo'”.

    One of the great things about the show is its constant shift of the status quo and I usuallly tell new viewers (if they ask me) this: “If you like someone in the beginning, you will most likely start to hate him by season 3, but the people you hated in the beginning will probably become the characters you root for in the end.”

    This is not a show that glorifies gangster lifestyle, it’s a show that is supposed to show the tragedy of a man, who made the wrong decisions, became greedy and ruined his life and the lives of everybody around him. And I don’t know how it’s gonna end on Sunday, but I’m sure it won’t be some magical redemption, that will make him look like someone who was just misunderstood by the world.

  17. I used to really like Breaking Bad. Now I merely like it. It’s okay.

    I get that the creator of the show talks about how you’re not supposed to cheer for Walt, and that Skyler is supposed to be sympathetic and all these other things. He’s just done an awful job of actually getting those points across. Take last week’s episode *SPOILERS* when he’s in the bar and the theme starts playing and he puts the hat on and whatnot. It does everything to make you think Walter White is a badass. And Skyler isn’t sympathetic because she’s been given nothing to do on the show except look sour or annoyed, so sure people hate her. If they remembered to give her some smaller human moments to actually make her a sympathetic person I could buy a lot of the hate against those that yell at Skyler, but as it is I don’t think the show does a good job of making us feel these things.

    But, it’s not a bad show. It’s gone on for at least 10 episodes too long. Everything after *SPOILER* Gus dying has been a lot of wheel spinning. The show never managed to make the jump from one about a man under a lot of pressure and trying to make the best (for his family, at least) of a bad situation to one where he’s fucking Scarface. I get that is what they were going for, but I think it fails on that level. Same with Jesse, we’ve seen the Jesse cycle of street kid to tragic loss to despondent husk to redemption like 4 times now. There was depth for Jesse in season 3, but holy hell as it just gone on too long and retreaded too much of the same ground.

    I think you can compare it a lot to The Shield The main characters in that show are pieces of shit and the show is pretty open about that. But, the show also kind of makes you forget about that and makes you start feeling for them. Then in the last two seasons they pull the rug from underneath you and remind you that they are awful and if you cheered for them it is probably because you’re a racist asshole.

    Speaking of racism, one thing that really stops Breaking Bad from being more than good (to me, at least) is that it’s 2013 and boy does that show have some really big problems with race. It’s really awful and bad when it comes to race and it should be a bigger deal that gets brought up.

  18. Wait, wait. Who’s racist?

  19. I feel bad saying this, because I love Breaking Bad (even the fly episode) and I think Aaron Paul is a good guy, but I don’t think he’s a good actor at all. He’s been lucky enough to have great material to work with, but I don’t see him having too memorable of a career once the show ends. Sure, he’s going to get a few roles from the BB momentum, but I don’t see that lasting more than a year or two. As far as this one goes, I’ll be shocked if it manages to make even a ripple or is considered more than a FF rip off. Also, who’s the jack ass who thought it would be worthwhile to license a driving game? It’s like paying millions of dollars so that you can call your football film MADDEN: THE MOVIE.

  20. Casey: I agree about the race and gender issues. At times Albuquerque seems to be populated by about eight white people, and whenever a non-white person shows up it’s often a scary racial stereotype. Sklyer is, like the “put-upon wife” in most antihero dramas, often written as a passive-aggressive roadblock. Also I don’t think that Anna Gun is a great actor, so that hasn’t helped when they’ve tried to evolve her character. But I do think that Gilligan’s grasp of tone is better than you’re giving him credit for. When White puts on his Heisenberg hat, I think you’re supposed to think he’s badass. It’s not Gilligan’s fault that a bunch of dumbasses take it at face value. I think Walter White is plenty villainous at this stage, I don’t think there’d be any value in turning him into a cartoon drug kingpin like Scarface. It’s not that kind of show.

    Dtroyt: I think it was Aaron Paul’s speech at the narcotics anonymous group in season 3(?) that convinced me he was a real acting talent. I don’t know though, I’m a terrible judge of acting quality.

  21. “It’s fine if you don’t want to go on that journey, but it’s not a failing of the show.”

    For me it is a definite failing of the show. If the mood/premise/tone of a show is overwhelmingly negative to the point that I don’t want to view it then it is, by definition, a failure insofar as it relates to me. Also, to make the excuse that Walter was ‘only’ cooking meth to help his family after he was dead is simply that: an excuse. Plenty of broke people in the world have families and they don’t resort to basically killing other people for money (people that use meth don’t live long).

    I’m not trying to be a dick or anything, btw. I understand people love this show and it is technically well-made but the fact that it is so popular is yet another sad commentary on the world today.

  22. Captain: The show is way more morally complex than you’re making it out to be. Of course you’re not supposed to think that White cooking meth is the right or moral thing to do. It’s all about how he starts out doing shitty things for the “right” reasons but ends up on a slow descent of moral compromise, making rationalisations for his terrible actions that become increasingly disconnected from reality. Nobody is buying his bullshit about doing things “for his family” anymore, not even him. He’s purely driven by ego and greed, qualities that have been there from the very beginning. The depth is there, it’s not Gilligan’s fault if people fail to acknowledge it.

    Hey, if you’d said “the premise of this show isn’t appealing to me” then fine, but you said “it sucks”. And painting the popularity of this (or any) TV show as a sign of moral decay is for weiners.

  23. BREAKING BAD SPOILERS, BITCH

    Aaron has done his best to make Jesse a pretty three-dimensional character. The show has succeeded in changing our perceptions of at least three characters during the length of the series. Primary being Walt of course. The gradual nature of his turn has gone from episode to episode, making it seem all the more real. Which is one reason why I think of it so highly, it’s been a snowball that keeps growing and growing.

    It’s fair to say that the perception of Jesse has changed, but I’m not so sure how the character itself has changed. If you think back to who he could have been as a young man before being introduced to the world he’s become entrenched in (his abilities as an artist particularly, and how that clicked with the Jane character), the sympathetic character we see now is only a fraction of that.

    Last of all, the Hank character went from someone who was this boisterous and obnoxious brother-in-law, to ultimately a more tragic figure in my eyes. Through him becoming closer to Walt as the cancer starts, and him getting nearly killed and coming back from that, provided the perfect arc to change that initial perception. The reaction to the revelation of the book seemed wholly appropriate to the situation. All families have secrets but one that big would be a doozy for anyone to figure out. I really thought he was going to play it cool and continue on as if nothing happened…until that garage door came down. That punch lasted for all of a few seconds but it felt like half a minute watching it at the time.

    There are shorter instances of this as well. The “Half Measures” speech made Mike instantly someone to watch instead of taking him for granted as a stock “professional” guy. And Odenkirk made quite the transition from sleazy lawyer to voice of reason by these last few episodes. Saul’s the perfect character for any kind of spin-off, and I’m hoping what they’re saying is true that it’s going for a more lighter and comedic feel to it.

  24. Guys, I hope I’m wrong and that Paul’s career just continues to grow. I do think he deserves to keep getting work. Maybe if I see him playing a different character, I’ll become more impressed with his acting chops. But, as Channing Tatum has shown, you can be a shitty actor but still be a star. I’m worried that he is the person most likely to get stuck in typecasting after BB. Ok, Hollywood. Prove me wrong. Please.

  25. You know, nobody is going to have high expectations of this, except maybe you Vern (but I doubt that’ll affect your opinion in the end) – and I think it could be a nice surprise action movie. Some of those stunts do look pretty great.

    The best thing about the games (only played earlier iterations) was the flow of racing around the track and the cinematics of taking shortcuts, doing jumps and stunts with some amazing visuals. If the film capitalises on that, it should at least provide an entertaining thrill ride.

    On Aaron Paul though – I don’t see him breaking the box office. He’ll fall into the same category as Jeremy Renner – big break moment, people try to capitalise, but isn’t going to be star drawing power (for too long anyway). Hopefully he proves he’s got the chops to carry something big but starting with the Need For Speed movie, isn’t any indication of future success really.

  26. CrustaceanHate:

    “Hey, if you’d said “the premise of this show isn’t appealing to me” then fine, but you said “it sucks”.”

    Well, I thought my subsequent, explanatory post clarified my comment. I’m sorry you are still stuck on ‘it sucks’.

    As far as the weiners comment: BIG raised middle finger to you.

  27. The Undefeated Gaul

    September 27th, 2013 at 1:08 am

    I think the popularity of Breaking Bad is a good sign: it means there are still a lot of people craving and appreciating complex, quality storytelling. That makes me very happy, because it means we will likely get more of it.

    Also, I think Aaron Paul can not in a million years be called a shitty actor. There have been so many scenes in the series where he managed to convey emotion just by a look, the guy plays “suffering” like an absolute champ, I’ve had tears in my eyes many times watching that shit. I will admit that I’m not sure how suited he is for other types of roles (can’t really see him doing the action/badass thing), but I have some faith in the guy.

  28. Even when he was just an unknown, starring in Nu-Metal videos during the early 00s, he was already a pretty good actor.

    http://youtu.be/xVPvzX-AeSM

  29. Not to mention BIG LOVE, where he played Bill Paxton’s son-in-law in a brilliant way.

  30. Paul’s a really good actor, but nothing about him screams action star to me. But maybe that’s what could end up making this interesting.

  31. The problem I have with Aaron Paul’s acting (confirmed by watching a few episodes of the Br Ba marathon last night) is that I am always very aware that he’s acting. I never get lost in the character with him the way I do with most of the other folks on the show. Maybe I’m being unfair. After all, the show is full of incredible actors. Perhaps his chops will show more when he’s in something else. For example, I thought Timothy Olyphant was crap on Deadwood, but Justified has since convinced me. And like I’ve said, I’m rooting for the guy so I hope a few years from now I’m laughing at the naïve 2013 opinions I had.

  32. Mouth shares Vern’s enthusiasm here. Some of those Need For Speed games were pretty fun, as I recall. I had a friend who had one of those mock steering wheel & gearshift thingies that you can use in lieu of a standard Playstation controller, and I really wanted one myself so I could go head to head with him like a fucking dork (a dork who knew how to have fun)
    but I didn’t have the money (or I couldn’t justify the expense) until one day a friend of mine who happened to work at a nearby video game store “hooked me up” in the alley behind his store late at night with a “spare” from the inventory. As payment, I let him mooch off my weed supply for a couple weeks, and he wrote off the missing merch as a warehouse shelving fluke. Sometimes shoplifting gets complicated. It was worth it. We were living in a pedestrian-centric urban area at the time, so simulation-driving for recreation on the PlayStation made sense; there was no commuting everyday to make the activity seem monotonous.
    Girls would come over to my apartment and we’d let them be in charge of the manual transmission with their left hand while they drank with their right while we controlled the wheel with our right hand and drank with our left; everyone made hilarious, sometimes sexually suggestive jokes & puns about racing “for pink slips” and such and it was a blast.

    Doubt this film will be as much fun.

    But the Waugh factor makes it a must-see for me. Loved ACT OF VALOR. Fucking great action throughout that thing. Just amazing on many levels. An utterly unique film experience, a historical piece of cinema.

    And I still shake my head whenever I see the “pro-US military propaganda” charge leveled at a movie in which the Americans are forced to fall in with Mexican commandos in order to catch & kill the bad guys and SPOILER, like, 75% of the uniformed cast gets mutilated and/or killed.

  33. So is this the de facto place to discuss Breaking Bad here? I’m late to the bandwagon, but through the magic of Netflix and the AMC marathon, I managed to watch the entire series in two weeks. And it’s great. There’s definitely some slow and frustrating parts, (the entire 3rd and 4th seasons get dangerously close to Reindeer Games/Trespass “you need me so you can’t kill me but i’m going to keep trying to escape/mess with your plan!” territory.) But the strength of the writing, the acting, the character development, etc.. make it a classic. It’s actually good to know that a show can still capture America with good old-fashioned strong storytelling, not gimmicky mystery boxes and whatnot (though there is a fair bit of that)

    SPOILERY THOUGHTS: I know alot of people feel this show jumped the shark after Season 4 (I would have been perfectly fine if it ended there to be honest) and I can see where they’re coming from. The later seasons where it all comes crashing down is of course not as “fun” as his rise, as any rockstar biopic will tell you. The villains he faces at the end are nowhere near as interesting or as memorable as Gus Fring- fighting a bunch of one-dimensional Neo-Nazis does seem like a giant step down. But I guess they were going for a Beowulf/Wild Bill/Carlito’s Way type thing where it’s not your greatest enemy that takes you down, but the shitty random enemy you didn’t see coming.

    And of course, there’s that whole Dark Knight parallel where Walter lives long enough to stop being the hero and becomes the villain – it’s fascinating to some, a turnoff and a deal-breaker for others. But for those who can stomach rooting for the villain, the finale was great – plot points were resolved, plans set in motion long ago come to fruition, and sweet, sweet justice was served.

    Speaking of which, one of my pet peeves about the show was that it became a “someone gets shot in the head in the middle of a sentence” type show. It’s effective, sure. It makes scenes unbearably tense. But it’s also cheap and overused and one step removed from a jump scare with a cat or someone appearing in the bathroom mirror. Yet when it happens again in the finale, I loved the hell out of it.

  34. Re: the race problem on this show – I think considering almost every character is a “bad guy” in some way or another, you can’t fault it for having negative portrayals of minorities. Pretty much every white person, from Jessie to Skylar to Lydia to Mike to Jane is either a criminal or an asshole. Even the “good” ones like Hank and Marie are also written to be dicks or annoying most of the time. Not to mention the minority villain, Gus, was written about 100 times better than the Neo-Nazi cartoon villains of the last season.

    In fact I’d say the only three 100% good and likable characters on the entire show are Hank’s Hispanic partner, the Hispanic high school principal (the girl from Urban Justice!) and the Black cancer doctor. Oh and Brock, the Hispanic kid.

  35. To that I would add Brock’s mother (played by Emily Rios, someone who did fantastic work on both BB and the new FX show THE BRIDGE).

  36. Yep, definitely Andrea belongs on that list of good people. I guess I left her off because one could argue she’s still a negative minority stereotype because she’s a recovering drug addict. I usually don’t watch much TV, but after watching so much Breaking Bad in such a short amount of time, I feel like I may need to start another show ASAP, perhaps The Bridge is worth a look? I hear that Mad Men is definitely not a show meant for binge-watching, so I may have to start that later.

  37. She’s never shown as relapsing (unlike the very white Jane) so she escapes that stereotype a bit. THE BRIDGE would be a good place to start if you’re looking for something new. Diane Kruger is a bit of a revelation here as previously I thought she was just a pretty face, honestly. But she shows some real depth in this part, and has a good chemistry with Bichir who’s also a bit of a discovery for me too.

  38. I don’t think the issue of race has to do so much with whether or not a white character is a good person or not, or whatever. It’s about two things for me: first, the central conceit of the show is that a white collar college educated white dude can succeed in an illegal activity that is predominantly run by non-whites. The second is that the deaths of characters is treated very differently for white characters and non-white characters. White characters are treated with gravity and seriousness when they die, their bodies are not shot or shown to be a prop to some sight gag. When non-white characters die it is to be shocking, to the punchline of a joke, and / or their bodies are treated as a gag. Not to mention the death of a non-white character is only concerning for its impact on the white character, not for the sake of the person that died.

    I’m not a big fan of the last season of Breaking Bad. It feels like it retreads ground, characters stagnate, and there just isn’t as much story or character development to fit 16 episodes so it really stretches. A lot of those episodes end on needless cliff hangers and it just drags. It’s not terrible, but it’s not nearly as good as the seasons 2 and 3. Or the first half of 4 (although they stretched out the whole Gus thing way too long as well).

    Not a bad show, though. Scott Pilgrim has lots of racial and other problems, but I still dig the movie.

    Neal, I’m not a fan of Mad Men. It’s pretty and can be decently entertaining, I’m just not sure there’s any “there” there.

  39. I saw the trailer for this behind OUT OF THE FURNACE (which I’d love to read Vern’s thoughts on, mine are pretty mixed right now) today. It could be a case of everything good was put into those two minutes, because I kind of hope the film succeeds where I didn’t care much before. Primarily, I would love to see Aaron continue his success from the show into movies or even into another show that utilizes his talent. Plus, DreamWorks needs a hit bad obviously.

  40. Why isn’t anybody talking about this movie? It’s actually pretty awesome. The car stunts are great and clearly all practical, no shakycam or CGI sweetening in evidence. Aaron Paul makes for an interesting leading man, somehow seeming badass even though he looks like he’s on the verge of tears for most of the movie. He never actually has to fight, so his somewhat diminutive stature is not a drawback. He’s got some good chemistry with Imogen Poots as the almost-literally-shoehorned-in love interest, and I like his crew of not-as-funny-as-they-think-they-are sidekicks, especially the guy who has the magical ability to commandeer any aircraft he wants at a moment’s notice. (Are we sure this isn’t actually a GRAND THEFT AUTO adaptation?) The villain is instantly hatable as soon as he shows up wearing a turtleneck to a drive-in theater showing BULLIT, displaying absolutely no respect for the one white man who can actually get away with that look. Michael Keaton steals the show as your onscreen exposition distributor, throwing out ad-libs and high-octane aphorisms whenever the drama starts to get too heavy. The plot is enjoyably ludicrous, never making any sense at any point (as near as I could tell, there’s no way for anybody involved in this race to make any money off it) but it’s treated with the straightest of all possible faces. If anybody involved in this film noticed that it was ridiculous, they kept it to themselves, which is the way it should be.

    I highly recommend this very silly and oddly sweet car-racing picture, which is possibly the best video game movie since, I don’t know, STREET FIGHTER.

  41. Mr. M – that’s great to hear. I didn’t bother with it because too many people told me it dragged like a dog with worms.

    But I might check this out because of you, pardner.

    (Then again I have no excuse. I saw the new Muppets movie tonight, instead. Fuck that DIVERGENT stuff. And fuck critics who are applauding themselves for being clever by joke re-titling it DIREVATIVE. Haha that’s….3rd grade humor. Good job guys! I bet Richard Roeper will steal that gag.)

  42. It does seem like a lot of people who aren’t sophisticates like ourselves can only accept action movies in either the “grim and gritty like a BOURNE movie” or “risible bullshit I only watch for the splosions its not supposed to be Shakespeare lol” modes. They lack the clear eyes and open heart it requires to love a movie that tries to split the difference, that sees no problem with treating its one-dimensional characters with sympathy and love while also expecting them to do physics-defying stunts, endure awesome-enabling but believability-shattering plot developments, and spew ridiculous tough-guy dialogue. This is where the F&F series lives, but a lot of people still see those movies as guilty pleasures, just some dumb crap to laugh at for a few hours before giving it backhanded compliments on the internet. We know that these are great works of filmic art that accomplish all of their creative goals with style and spirit, but most motherfuckers are not as evolved as us. It’s no surprise that a not-afraid-to-be-cheesy-if-that’s-what-it-takes-to-be-great action melodrama like NEED FOR SPEED wouldn’t connect with them. They might like the genre, but they don’t believe in it the way we do.

  43. Also, this blending of hardcore stunt-heavy action and a real, earnest attempt at character drama seems to be a trademark of this Scott Waugh guy’s work. He had the same ability to humanize badasses through humor and compassion while still giving them lots and lots of over-the-top action to do in ACT OF VALOR. I like him. He makes full-throated badass cinema, not timid genre workouts or soulless pastiches. He’s the kind of guy who might actually make a good EXPENDABLES movie. This motherfucker directed a squad of actual professional hunter-killers, you think he’s gonna be intimidated by a bunch of fucking movie stars?

  44. Scott Waugh has indeed earned my ticket money and my heightened expectations. ACT OF VALOR *stays* in my blu ray rotation, not to mention that I saw it 2x in theatres.

    Thanks to Majestyk for championing this thing. I regret only that I have but one afternoon to give for this film.

  45. I didn’t love it, but at the same time it’s legit a difficult movie to dislike. It reminded me a little of BATTLESHIP, in that they’re both too good-natured for you to really hold their shortcomings against them. It also reminded me of MIAMI CONNECTION, except less entertaining.

    Things I dug: its naked affection for its characters, the fact that it ends up being a road trip movie in disguise, and (SPOILER) Aaron Paul going back to save the bad guy. He just wants to crush the guy in a race and expose him to law enforcement, he’s not a cold-blooded asshole. This isn’t a mean-spirited movie.

    Waugh has great respect for the stunt driving and it’s a nicely shot movie, just aesthetically and from the standpoint of having cleanly staged and shot action that isn’t chopped up in the edit. I wasn’t exactly on the edge of my seat for most of the movie though. My favorite sequence was the moving refuel, because it looked like the actors were really dangling off the side of their cars and it had good tension while maintaining the film’s fun, freewheelin’ tone.

    It made me do some thinking about what makes a car chase ‘work’ or not work for me, because obviously these are some pretty accomplished action scenes. I think it came down to a lack of suspense. Car chases can be an impersonal spectacle, especially when the stunt driving is *so good* that they make it look easy, and Aaron Paul’s guy is such a self-assured smoothie and his opponents so relatively faceless for the most part, that I was never in suspense about the outcome.

    Speaking of Paul – heck of an actor but the movie leaves him hanging. He plays what he has with conviction and intensity but his character doesn’t even have the meat that Dom or Brian did in F&F1.

    PS. the recent 3 DAYS TO KILL had a pretty cool and nicely shot car chase through Paris.

  46. I just watched this and its like my new favorite video game adaptation. The best Need for Speed games we’re the ones with the hot pursuit mode and this movie is basically hot pursuit the movie. All it needed was my buddies some beers and some pizza to take it back to my late teens and early twenties when we used to play these games like mad.

  47. Seriously this Scott Waugh dude really got my attention now. I was not expecting this movie to be what it was. Honestly figured it was going to be a cash in and all the people that were negative towards it maybe had a point. But I’m glad I took the chance. The filmatism was off the chain.

    From the clarity of the geography in the chases and races to the actual vehicle stunts which were creative as fuck. They even had some dashboard cam for people who used to play the games with the first person view like me. Hell they even have the bird’s eye view and replay camera mode many times too. Also like that he put on the younger people who may have seen this movie to a genuine classic (BULLIT) by having the characters watch it at the drive in.

    This guy did what you need to do if you’re adapting a video game. He didn’t look down on it you could tell the people behind this movie embrace the concept and did their research. From the perspective of somebody who often played these games I had a big smile.

    Now I regularly played this series until the 4th game. By the time it hit PS2 I wasn’t as loyal but still familiar enough with the newer games to recognize their concepts in this movie. The movie starts with a little NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERGROUND and then throws some NEED FOR SPEED: RIVALS & NEED FOR SPEED: HIGH STAKES in there to mix things up.

    Then after that it goes on into NEED FOR SPEED: MOST WANTED & NEED FOR SPEED: HOT PURSUIT territory. Then it blends them around before ending in HOT PURSUIT mode. In other words this is no Better SUPER MARIO BROS. or DOUBLE DRAGON. It’s more of a SILENT HILL but superior because it felt even more like a genuine extension of the franchise then that one did.

    When the video game adaptation formula is finally fully cracked and exploited on a greater level like what happened to superhero movies this will be looked back on as one of the early classics of the sub genre for sure. You’ll see.

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