Monday, July 21, 2014

//FLM RVW: Need For Speed- Racing Ethics

The following is a checked list of things it takes for a car flick to be good:

-Auto-porn grade top-of-the-line cars (check)
-Morally-evangelical smart ass behind the wheel of an American Muscle (check)
-Morally-Evangelical smart ass behind the wheel of a Super car(check)
-Auto-porn grade cutie that's dying to jump the Morally-Evangelical smart ass (check)
-Conveniently placed entourage to help when are needed for the plot to progress (check)
-Butthut (yes, like Pizza hut for butts) Dickface to hate for all the bad things that happen in the movie (check)
-Menacing but adorably clumsy authority figure to outmaneuver  (check)
-Society to flip the middle finger to (check)

Hell, this movie goes ahead and throws a handful of cool shit at you: a variety of cool helicopters and cutting-edge technology sort of show up out of nowhere giving the suggestion that this movie might have been funded by Boeing R.S. and Google. You also get the exposition-elder  to give the plot-line a thumbs up and a 'twerking' Kid Cudi to give the movie a little street cred. If none of that is enough, the whole movie is sugarcoated with the compelling natural American landscape that helped make the original video games such eye candy. The whole movie is 'cool' and it doesn't just take the whole cast to constantly shout 'woah' and 'cool!' for you to realise this.

Where a movie franchise like The Fast and The Furious totally loses reality by going off into extremities, a movie like Need For Speed grounds itself with little references nodding to the sub-genre's legacy. How many times have you seen the old chain-to-the-cop car's rear axel prank being pulled off in a movie? You thought we were done with the days where every cool youngin bad boy wore a denim pants, white-tee and leather jacket combo and was there to (literally) carry the chick throughout the movie? Tsk Tsk. All this real life car stunt choreography? The actors doing their own stunts too? Yes, this movie does try (and succeed) at being too cool for school. A driving movie, I'm sure, even Burt Reynolds and Ryan Gosling can agree is cool. Steve McQueen and James Dean are probably getting their popcorn ready to watch it a hundredth time in car-heaven.

But I can't suck this movie's dick forever- we do roll pretty good with villainy here ( as this website's title brilliantly suggests). The movie, at the end of the day fails to completely and truly win my nuts over with its Aryan undertones and pro-Americanism. As you turn it off, you realise you watched a movie where two whites, an American and Brit stick it to a whole host of Southern European cars riding a Swedish super car while arguing over who has bluer eyes. All this to also avenge the death of another white friend (this time clairvoyant) and have the one African-American character be in prison by the rest of the movie. The movie might as well have made Dominic Cooper's 'Dino' an Arab. Yes, this movie is kind of weird that way. And where is the American muscle car for the last race? Oh yes- it couldn't make it because it was trashed by the 'villains' by the time the third act rolled around. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that no real Shelby Ford can actually outrun Europe's top super-cars.

Go 'Merica!

Another weird taste is left in your mouth when you understand that we still can't have cool movies that come without the expense of laughable antagonism and large craters of potholes. Are we really supposed to be okay with this movie's events being justified by the idea that a weeny turdbag greedy rich kid was able to utterly destroy another driver's car and conveniently flee the witness-less crime-scene in the middle of a town? Was there no one with eyes on the busy highway that was trashed 20 minutes into the movie? Or is it common code not to rat out just one of the three Koenigseggs mashing through your area? Oh well, at least the movie has the decency to try and explain why the bad guy still hasn't gotten rid of the evidence tying him to murder: because he's lazy. Sure.

Then there's one last thing to get your throats gagging, no matter how tolerant you are of bad scripts. When the whole deed is done through and through this movie has the audacity to root its foundations on the premise of driving ethics. Aaron Paul's Tobey Marshall is really pissed off about the fact that Dino didn't stop during a race when one of the competitors was hurt and in need of critical help but he and the film sure do cut away quickly when innocent in-universe bystanders and fellow racers have cars flying through their windshields. But it's okay because he sacrifices his escape at the end to pull Dino out of a burning Lambo and give him a good punch to the face. Cool.