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FILM FANS: Divided over ‘Need for Speed’ plot, Film Fans agree it delivers fast-paced action

EDITOR’S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: “Need for Speed.” Want to be a Film Fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

2 out of four stars

You wouldn’t think a movie named “Need for Speed” would feel so slow, but it does. When you go to a car movie, you want a simple story upon which you can hang a bit of character development and a swift pace with car chase after car chase where each is more impressive than the last. Stuntman-turned-director Scott Waugh does deliver on his fast-paced and adrenaline-inducing driving sequences thanks to an old school stunt work approach without added CGI effects. However, what it lacks is a story with spark and memorable characters. It takes more than fast cars and cool crashes to be a winner.

— Lindsey Hodges, Loganville

2 1/2 out of 4 stars

I really had a lot of fun watching this movie. I have always been a fan of racing and fast cars, especially American muscle cars, so this movie was right up my alley. I have infused this passion on most of my family, so it was a logical decision to bring my grandson Seth to watch the movie with me. He has played the video game the movie is based on A LOT, and knows the cars in the movie better than I do because he has “driven” most of them. He was my technical advisor.

The story is actually quite simple and fits very nicely in between the amazing racing scenes and crash-and-bash chase scenes that are the foundation of the movie. There are a lot of similarities to several other movies of the same type, such as “Vanishing Point,” “Gumball Rally” and “Cannonball Run.” The hot rod gear head hero here is Tobey Marshall, played by Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”), who manages to get his hands on the prototype 50th anniversary edition Ford Mustang GT500 (worked on by Carroll Shelby himself before his death) after an exciting introduction to the car running the circuit at our very own Road Atlanta. In that car, he and a friend (actually the owner) take a “Smokey and the Bandit” ride from New York to California to enter an outlaw street race known as the DeLeon to avenge the death of his lifelong sidekick killed in an earlier race and to also get his revenge on the man that caused his death.

Lots and lots of eye candy for car lovers are in the race, including these six cars: A 960HP Koenigsegg, a Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, a Bugatti Veyron Vitesse, a McLaren P1, a Saleen S7 twin turbo and a V10 GTA Spano, all of which are rare limited production cars collectively worth well over $7 million and all as real as can be.

If you are not a car lover or racing fan, there really isn’t much here for you, but if you love this kind of thing like I do, it’s a really fun ride with lots of really well-done racing scenes and a huge collection of gorgeous cars to admire.

— Steve Kalberg, Lawrenceville

2 out of 4 stars

It’s fast, loud and dumb. Of course to be fair, you don’t go to see “Need for Speed” in the hopes you might see an Oscar-nominated film. The film, featuring “Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul, is a movie based on the popular video game of the same name.

It starts out with a street car race through an oddly empty city after barely giving exposition about Anita, an apparent ex-girlfriend who chose a professional racer over protagonist Tobey Marshall. Dino, the professional driver in question then offers Tobey a chance to rebuild a rare Mustang in return for part of the profits, thereby saving his failing shop. Unfortunately Anita’s brother is killed during a race with Dino and Tobey, and Tobey is framed for the crime. Once released from prison, he sets out on a cross-country race against time to enter into a race to clear his name. It’s pretty much a pointless reason to crash cars and run from cops.

While the action is well-choreographed, the script is poorly written. The backstory of the ex-girlfriend is pointless and the whole thing feels contrived. Aaron Paul gives it his all but it’s just not enough.

Ron Adams, Athens