Do you feel that? The need? The Need for Speed? The full trailer for the adaptation of everyone’s favorite racing game (besides Mario Kart, obviously) has arrived, bringing Aaron Paul out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and back onto the streets for some good ole fashioned car revenge. Much like the first trailer, it remains unclear which crime Paul’s Tobey Marshall has been framed for, but by far, the most important information you’re going to glean from this entire movie is that the man who framed him is named Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper).
In order to stick it to his enemy, Tobey must make it cross country to an insane underground racing competition where they’ll do battle one more time. But clearly, he’s made the mistake of thinking that a guy named Dino is going to let this just happen, as it turns out that the Michael Keaton-narrated death road to the race is the true test of his skills; really, isn’t life all about the journey and not the destination?
It’s a lot of style, but whether or not the film has the substance to match is a question that remains. Each exploding cop car and slo-mo squealing of tires is seeming to suggest that this isn’t just about some silly car chase, but like Bizzaro World Michael Keaton whispered into his Ham Radio, some kind of “high art.” (There is a whole lot of menacing whispering in that trailer — why does everyone in the underground racing world sound like Jack Donaghey?) To find something more in a movie based on an okay video game may prove to be a bit of a stretch, but it’s possible the film could pleasantly surprise us.
And really, that’s just what Aaron Paul needs right now. Fresh off of his Breaking Bad success, the former Jesse Pinkman needs a solid starring role to catapult him out of the sidekick schtick and into a spotlight. Prior to Breaking Bad, Paul didn’t have the name to carry a film, let alone headline one. With his career at such a peak right now, it’s necessary that he jump onto projects that give him leading man status — and cement that status — while everyone is still riding their BB finale high. Need for Speed might be giving us a little bit of a fast Paul, and a little bit of a furious Paul (if you catch my drift), but the film has the potential to turn him into a bonafide action hero if all works out according to plan.
Of course, the best laid video game-to-movie adaptation plans don’t always happen as we’d like, because for some reason they’re just not the best source material. That doesn’t mean the hits won’t keep coming though. If Need for Speed should be one of those unfortunate adaptations, Paul will always have a key supporting role in Ridley Scott’s upcoming Exodus to fall back on. Not too shabby, Pinkman.
Need for Speed is in theaters March 14, 2014.