Movies

10 Things To Know Before You Rev into ‘Need for Speed’

This weekend sees the release of the high-octane thrill ride that is Need for Speed. Starring Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame, the video game adaptation is sure to leave audiences breathless with a number of thrilling stunts. Here are ten bits of trivia from the film that you may not have known.

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1. Need for Speed is based on the wildly successful video game franchise from EA Entertainment. It has been published in 22 languages in 60 countries and banked more than $4 billion in sales.

2. The film was written by a couple of auto shop owners. Well, sort of. Writers John and George Gatins own an auto shop in Van Nuys, California where they restore classic cars. “What was great about the writing process is that the various iterations of the video game don’t provide a lot of narrative which created an open slate for George and myself to infuse the characters into the world,” John said.

3. John Gatins earned an Oscar-nomination for Flight and has also written Coach Carter, Real Steel and a couple of baseball themed movies – Hardball and Summer Catch.

"Need For Speed" - Fan Screening4. One name kept coming up when DreamWorks and EA were looking for a director – Act of Valor director Scott Waugh. Producer Mark Sourain said, “Scott has a real passion for cars, starting out as a stuntman himself, so we knew he could bring a grit and truth to the film and convey the suspense of the car sequence.”

5. Waugh filmed the stunts without CGI special effects hoping to pay tribute to  great car movies of the ‘60s and ‘70s like Bullitt, The French Connection, Vanishing Point and Grand Prix.

6. Ford actively worked with the production team when they heard that the Saleen Mustang was going to be portrayed as the hero’s car. The frame of the car seen in the movie was altered by celebrated Ford designer Melvin Betancourt and built by Techno Sports in Detroit.

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7. Other cars seen in the movie: ’69 Ford Gran Torino, ’68 Chevy Camaro, ’66 Pontiac GTO. During the climactic race sequence, a number of European super cars are featured. They include a Swedish Koenigsegg Agera R, a Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, a GTA Spano, a Bugatti Veyron and a McLaren P1.

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8. Director Waugh is a veteran stuntman with more than 150 movies to his credit. He comes from a stuntman family. His father Fred Waugh was a renowned stuntman who invented the 35mm helmet camera and an innovative hand-held camera known as the Pogo Cam.

9. Fred is also the original Spider-Man, executing the Marvel superhero’s stunts in a late ’70s TV series.

10. As mentioned above, there is no CGI in this movie. All the stunts are actually being performed by stunt drivers. That includes the insane “Grasshopper” stunt which finds the Shelby Mustang shooting off a ramp and clearing a busy three-lane highway in Detroit.

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You may walk into Need for Speed with very low expectations, especially given the dubious track record of video game movie adaptations. When the characters aren’t racing around (albeit at times quite recklessly), the story is quite bland and uninspired. There’s a troubled good guy, a devious bad guy and a mysterious woman who becomes a love interest about halfway in. Then there’s the supporting cast who are supposed to be there for comic relief, but really aren’t that interesting or fun to watch.

That being said, if you like watching frenetic stunt sequences and enjoy the sound of cars revving loudly, you’ll probably like this movie. Waugh is a talented filmmaker. I’d just like to see someone give this guy a script with an interesting story that he can combine with his excellent action filming technique.

Need for Speed is rated PG-13 for sequences of reckless street racing, disturbing crash scenes, nudity (Rami Malek’s bare butt) and crude language.

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4 thoughts on “10 Things To Know Before You Rev into ‘Need for Speed’

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