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Film / Need for Speed (2014)
aka: Need For Speed

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The one where NFS went to the silver screen.

Need for Speed is a 2014 action racing film that is based on Electronic Arts' popular action Racing Game franchise of the same name (if the film's name and use of the series' Undercover-introduced typeface haven't tipped you off already) that is directed by Scott Waugh and stars Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots, Dominic Cooper, Michael Keaton, and Kid Cudi (credited by his real name Scott Mescudi in the poster to the right). It is produced by DreamWorks, but distributed by Disney via their Touchstone Pictures label. In the film, Paul plays a mechanic named Tobey Marshall who races across the country after being released from prison for a crime that he was framed-up on in order to avenge the death of a close friend named Pete (Harrison Gilbertson).

One thing that should be noted about the film is that the filmmakers refused to use CGI for the chase sequences, instead using practical effects with actual cars (with CG only being used for enhancements at most). Being based on a game series known for ridiculous stunts, this should be taken with extreme awesome. The actors had to receive several driving lessons to accommodate this, and it shows.


A sequel was slated in the works, this time backed by Chinese Movie Channel, Jiaflix and, which were the same Chinese companies who supported Transformers: Age of Extinction. However, no word has come out of this development since, likely suggesting that the sequel's been cancelled.

Tropes appearing in this film adaptation include:

  • Adaptation Distillation: While Nitrous has a prominent appearance throughout the game series, the film conspicuously omitted this.
  • Big "NO!": Tobey's reaction when Pete is killed in a car crash during a race.
  • Bond One-Liner: Everything out of Benny's mouth. He's a freaking Shout-Out machine!
  • Cool Cars: It's based on the Need for Speed video game franchise for crying out loud. Of course it has cool cars!
    • The lead character's car is a silver modified 2014 Ford Mustang GT with blue stripes. Said car made its NFS game appearance in the 2013 game, Rivals, complete with livery. However, the original design dates back to the original Most Wanted, which was the central car.
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    • Cool vs. Awesome: The final race has a combined worth of ~$10 million in 6 cars, all of which their makers had less than ten of each made. Now that is what you call exotic cars.
    • Koenigsegg vs. Lamborghini. Which is faster?
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Tobey and Julia are like this to each other.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: At one point, there is a Hummer with a lot of upgrades. Julia, being the person she is, notices this as a sign of an "inferiority complex" (she even raises her left pinkie to drive the point further.) The Hummer also dodges first when playing chicken, hits the side of the canyon, and rolls over.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Not to the extremes of some movies, but cars still burst into flames mid-crash.
  • Insistent Terminology: Benny really wants his buddies to call him "Maverick", to which he succeeds in the latter part of the movie.
  • Jerkass/Big Bad: Dino
  • Lemming Cops: Similar to the game franchise, it's subverted a little considering each cop car makes its own attempt to stop Tobey, though played straight a couple of times.
  • McGuffin: While the remodeled Ford Mustang is the key car here, the red Koenisegg Agera R is the actual focus.
  • Mythology Gag: The poster on the top is closely based on the cover art of Need for Speed: The Run.
    • Several parts in the movie use the Shift cockpit camera and the edge of the camera. At one point, the camera zooms way out, much like how the game zooms out. There was even a moment where the recording was even via split-screen.
    • The HUD in the Ford Mustang was based on the games' own HUDs.
    • The losers in the De Leon give their cars to the winner, much like the pink slip system in the original Most Wanted and High Stakes.
    • Now you know how the aerial footage is provided in these underground races.
    • The crew of Marshall Performance Shop were playing ProStreet in split-screen mode.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Many of the crashes except Pete.
  • Practical Effects: No CGI was used for any of the driving. For some scenes, the cars were going so fast that the crew had to soup up the camera car just to keep up. Additionally, replicas were only used for crashes and the McLaren P1; otherwise, all of the cars used are real.
  • Product Placement: There are moments when the movie feels like a commercial for the Ford Mustang.
  • Refuge in Audacity: In order to get the attention of Finn, who is working in a cubicle, Tobey decides to rev his car in broad daylight in the front of the building to get the attention of a police car and then get into a cop chase in the entire city block on camera. The refuge happens when Rami decides to take off his clothes, kiss a pretty colleague (with a guy cheering in the background), and proceed down the entire building with the camera following just above his waistline because he wants to leave the place with a big statement.
    Finn (in an elevator): Does this feel awkward?
    Office woman: Yes.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Tobey does this behind the wheel, as his entire motivation is to exact vengeance on Dino for indirectly murdering Pete. The fact that he didn't even attempt to help him is what really set him off.
  • Say My Name: Happens when Benny shows up in a Sea King helicopter to rescue Tobey and Julia. Before he'll save them from flying off the cliff they're being chased towards he makes them admit that he can pilot an Apache and then tells them he wants to hear them call him by his handle, "Maverick".
  • Scenery Porn: In the style of the Hot Pursuit games' vaguely northwestern California settings, much of the on-location shooting is in beautiful Mendocino County.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The drive-in movie showing the chase from Bullitt.
    • Some of the shots in the final race also recall shots from Le Mans.
    • Tobey prevents a cop car from following him out of a parking lot by chaining its rear wheels to the ground in a reference to American Graffiti.
    • The film's tagline, "Feel the Need" combine with the title of the whole freaking franchise to refer to Top Gun. Even Benny wants a piece of the shouting-out action - he insists on being addressed as "Maverick".
  • Smug Snake: Dino.
  • Take the Wheel: Initially averts the usual scenario. Julia drives because Tobey needs to sleep. However, they are soon intercepted by some bad guys.
  • Universal Driver's License: Benny. Seems to be referenced in the film with the running gag being that other characters don't believe he had flown Apache gunship helicopters.
  • Wrongful Accusation Insurance: Downplayed. Although Tobey still goes to jail at the end, he only spends six months behind bars for his parole violation and illegal street racing. It's likely he had the two years he spent in jail for the false manslaughter charge counted as time served for the crimes he actually did commit.

Alternative Title(s): Need For Speed