Until recently, The Fast & Furious films were the closest thing to a big screen adaptation of EA’s popular racing simulator and after becoming one of Hollywood’s biggest franchises it was only a matter of time before someone caught on. Having secured the naming rights DreamWorks developed an official movie tie in to share a claim of its illegitimate counterpart’s spoils and while the Need For Speed name has proven enough to earn a quick buck, the film is neither fast nor furious enough to stand out from the crowd.
The original video game series is hardly renowned for its storytelling, in fact it barely has a plot at all, but this narrative deficiency provides director Scott Waugh and writing brothers John and George Gatins a unique opportunity to create a wholly original piece of cinema. Sadly, they neglect the blank canvas in favour of imitating others and the result is a film that never establishes an identity of its own.
The simple, clichéd narrative is little more than a vehicle for another action spectacle and certainly allows Need For Speed to deliver on the promise of bringing the few things that characterise the games to the big screen. The problem is that its fast cars, high speed chases and spectacular crashes are nothing new and remain second best to what Fast & Furious has consistently offered over six films.
Need For Speed is almost entirely forgettable and the only lingering thought is how a film with terrific potential never attempts to tread new ground, yet still stumbles over an inconceivably ridiculous narrative and fails already low expectations.