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Need for Speed Review Critics


Dave White Profile

My 2001 Mazda Protege is cooler. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 20

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Do not attempt to see this film, derived loosely from the videogame of the same name, unless you're prepared for wobbly writing, lead-footed direction and acting that must have been boosted by nitrous-oxide injectors, plus a starring performance that could have used a boost and didn't get one.

    Read Full Review

  • 38

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Ostensibly meant to be light entertainment. If light is synonymous with preposterous, frenetic and noisy, it qualifies.

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  • 40

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Need For Speed is a flat, sexless movie that seems not to understand why people like to sit in the driver’s seat and rev that big engine: Because of the transgressive rumble in your nethers.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Keith Staskiewicz

    A moderately popular racing series that the powers that be have tried to turn into a turbo-boosted stunt-car extravaganza of the same make and model as the "Fast & Furious" franchise.

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  • 60

    out of 100

    Variety Scott Foundas

    Paul plays the part with the flinty, tightly wound charisma of a small man who makes up in moxie what he lacks in stature. There’s something of the young James Cagney in him, and he’s by far the best thing Need for Speed has going for it.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Bill Zwecker

    The best parts of Need for Speed are the actual racing and chasing sequences — a true thrill ride for the audience as the story unfolds.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    When the actors are in cars, the movie's fun. When they get out to argue, or seethe, it's uh-oh time. Happily, director Scott Waugh comes out of the stunt world himself, and there's a refreshing emphasis on actual, theoretically dangerous stunt driving over digital absurdities.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 13 & under

Fast-paced stunts, dangerous driving will thrill teens.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Need for Speed is an action movie, based on a video game, and centers around car racing (and car crashing). Teens will be attracted to the movie thanks to its star Aaron Paul in his first lead role after the hit TV series Breaking Bad. Expect plenty of car chases, stunts, and crashes, and characters die, though only a little blood is shown. Infrequent language includes a few uses of "s--t" and "bitch." In some scenes, women are shown as sexual objects, a man strips naked (only his bottom is shown), and the main character and the leading lady fall in love and nearly kiss. Parents of driving-age teens should be aware that the very fast stunt driving in the movie was done by both stuntmen and actors after intensive training, and they might want to remind them that this kind of driving in real life is extremely dangerous.

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence and car racing. What would be the cost of all this violence and wild driving in real life? Does the movie reflect the true consequences of the way the characters drive their cars?
  • Could you tell that the movie is shot without computer-generated effects and used all real stunts? What is the difference?
  • What positive qualities does the main character have? Is he a good role model? What would make him a better role model?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The main thrust of the story is revenge, and the main characters destroy countless amounts of property with no consequences.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Aside from wreaking untold destruction and going out for revenge, the main character is a good team player, and has a sense of right and wrong. In two cases, he stops during a race to check on fellow racers after crashes, even though he risks his lead. (The bad guy does not show this same tendency.) Some female characters are treated as sex objects in skimpy outfits.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: The movie includes many car chases and crashes, and filmed without the aid of CG effects, the impact of these stunt sequences is quite strong. Characters die in car crashes. We see some guns and shooting, and some punching, but only a little blood is shown (mostly injuries after crashes).

  • sex false3

    Sex: A male character quits his office job by stripping down to nothing. It's a long sequence as he walks through the building and outside, interacting with his friends, though only his naked bottom is shown. The main character and the lead female character share an almost-kiss.

  • language false3

    Language: Language is not very frequent but does include "s--t," "bitch," "ass," and "douchebag."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: A female character mentions her prized "Gucci boots." The brand names of cars are mentioned, such as "Ford Mustang."

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters occasionally drink in restaurants or in a background way.