Inspired by the iconic video game series of the same name, Need for Speed focuses on Mount Kisco mechanic Tobey Marshall (Paul), who – with close mates Little Pete (Gilbertson), Benny (Cudi), Finn (Malek) and Joe (Rodríguez) – builds custom cars by day and street-races by night.
First published in the August 2022 issue of Street Machine
When local-hero racer Dino Brewster (Cooper) returns to town with Tobey’s ex Anita (Johnson) on his arm, Tobey puts personal grievances aside to build Dino a custom silver Shelby Mustang with a promise of a half-million-dollar payday. The Mustang build introduces Tobey to a high-end car buyer, the sassy Julia (Poots), who negotiates the big-dollar purchase on behalf of her boss, Bill Ingram (Dallimore).
When Dino challenges Tobey to a winner-takes-all, multi-million-dollar race for the proceeds of the Mustang sale, the pair – along with Little Pete, who is Anita’s brother – hit the streets for a high-speed road race in a trio of Koenigsegg Ageras.
Dirty tricks by bad sport Dino result in the death of Little Pete, and he does a runner, leaving Tobey to be framed for manslaughter and landing him two years in the slammer.
Upon his release, Tobey returns to Mount Kisco with three unwavering intentions: clear his name; seek revenge on Dino; and win the DeLeon – an underground road race organised by weirdo DJ, Monarch (Keaton). Tobey reconnects with Julia and Ingram to ‘borrow’ the Mustang so he can race in the DeLeon, and he and Julia then haul arse to California, hoping to make the start on time.
Their trip is interrupted by plenty of police attention and unforeseen setbacks, including a bounty being put on their heads by Dino, who doesn’t want Tobey and the ’Stang making it to the startline.
When Dino’s plans backfire, he directs one of his cronies to destroy the Mustang, landing Julia in hospital and Tobey without a ride only hours from the start of the race. Dino’s sly moves come to the attention of Anita, who discovers Dino’s ‘missing’ Koenigsegg in storage and hands it over to Tobey to use for the race.
Said race is cut-throat and tense, with Tobey and Dino both putting it all on the line, but there can be only one winner. And yep, it’s the one with the greatest need for speed.
I’ll be honest – I’ve purposely avoided reviewing Need for Speed for years, based entirely on my own unfamiliarity with the video game franchise, my fear of having to spell ‘Koenigsegg’ and my totally unfounded assumptions about the film’s likely CGI execution. But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The story can be patchy, but there are smatterings of witty dialogue and the car action comes thick and fast, relying very little on computer-generated wizardry. It’s mostly pleasantly raw, real-life stunt action – just like things used to be.
- 2014 Ford Mustang
- 2011 Koenigsegg Agera R
- 1969 Ford Torino, 2010 Bugatti Veyron
- 1968 Chevrolet Camaro
- 1966 Pontiac GTO
- 2010 Lamborghini Elemento
- 2013 McLaren P1
- 2013 GTA Spano
- 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe
- 1958 Dodge M37 B1
- 1966 Ford F100
- 1989 Porsche 944
- Peterbilt 379
- 1977 Pontiac Firebird
- Aaron Paul
- Imogen Poots
- Dominic Cooper
- Michael Keaton
- Kid Cudi
- Rami Malek
- Ramón Rodríguez
- Harrison Gilbertson
- Dakota Johnson
- Stevie Ray Dallimore
Virtually non-stop, tyre-smoking good times with everything from old-school US muscle to high-end Euro supercars, bookended by two exciting, lengthy car chases
Framed for the death of his close friend by a lifelong rival, a young blue-collar mechanic plans to execute his revenge at a high-end supercar race
COOL FLICK FACT:
The supercars in the film were replicas – what would normally be a $4.6 million Koenigsegg was actually built using a $300K bodyshell for the scene where it’s written off in a bridge stunt.