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The Boston Globe


movie review

‘Need for Speed’

“Need for Speed,” a tricked-up, morally dubious video-game spinoff about driving cars really, really fast while cops and citizens crash into trees behind you, is made possible by three things: the success of the “Fast and Furious” series, the rise of “Breaking Bad” costar Aaron Paul, and a 1971 vroom-vroom classic called “Vanishing Point.”

Last things first. In “Vanishing Point,” the stoic Vietnam vet hero (Barry Newman) had to drive a 1970 Dodge Challenger V8 halfway across the country, chased by the police and egged on by a blind DJ (Cleavon Little) who knew a bid for existential freedom when he (didn’t) see one. In “Need for Speed,” the stoic small-town ex-con Tobey Marshall (Paul) has to drive a Ford Mustang V8 all the way across the country, chased by the police and egged on by Monarch (Michael Keaton), a reclusive racing impresario who broadcasts a live webstream that’s watched by every gearhead on the planet.

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