STARRING: Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots, Dominic Cooper, Scott Mescudi, Rami Malek, Ramon Rodriguez, Harrison Gilbertson, Dakota Johnson and Michael Keaton
Fresh from prison, a street racer who was framed by a wealthy business associate joins a cross country race with revenge in mind. His ex-partner, learning of the plan, places a massive bounty on his head as the race begins.
We’re introduced to Tobey Marshall and his crew running a garage in a small town. Michael Keaton’s character DJ Monarch appears to brings us up to speed in the history between Tobey and Dino, how they used to have local races, while Tobey may have been a better driver, Dino went on to the Indy and other professional races, before running his own car dealership.
When Dino is back in town, he wants Tobey and his guys to do some work on a Ford Mustang. When Tobey takes pushes the car to the limit in order to sell it to a buyer, against Dino’s wishes, it leads to a three way race in illegally imported cars between them and Pete, so whoever wins, gets the other persons share of the sell. As Pete stalls Dino from catching Tobey in the race, Dino snaps and tags Pete, who ends up flying and burning down into a ravine. Dino disappears and Tobey takes the rap for the accident and is jailed for two years for manslaughter and comes looking for revenge when he comes out.
I liked the chemistry between Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots as Tobey and Julia, where you see them begin to bond over the films duration as they hit the road to try and get involved in a race organised by Monarch. Another positive is the car chase sequences and the crashes, as none of it is digitalised.
The negatives – the script. Unfortunately beside it being a by the numbers car film, is that outside of Tobey, Julia and Monarch, the other characters just aren’t really that interesting, even with Mescudi providing some laughs as Benny. Even the scene with Finn stripping naked in the office place to get back with the gang is just so out of place. Then there is Dominic Cooper’s Dino. Cooper I like as an actor, but Dino is just so one dimensional of a villain here, just playing a millionaire who gets angry and kills somebody because he’s losing a race? Then puts a bounty on Tobey to destroy him? To me unfortunately besides the script was Cooper’s character.
Paul does well for his big screen lead appearance, Poots does well sharing the screen alongside Paul when he comes out of prison and Keaton cranks up the weird NoS with his wired radio presenting character.
The film doesn’t feel that it could be a franchise player like Fast and Furious franchise, but as a video game to film transition, it’s better than expected.
More like a Gone In 60 Seconds one off film rather than a Fast & Furious type franchise with a weak script and a one dimensional bad guy, the chemistry between Paul and Poots at least keeps things interesting in the middle of the car chase sequences, which happens to be very little. Keaton’s role is a highlight though. 5/10