A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The main thrust of the story is revenge, and the main characters destroy countless amounts of property with no consequences.
Positive 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.
Violence & Scariness
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).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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Language is not very frequent but does include "s--t," "bitch," "ass," and "douchebag."
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Products & Purchases
A female character mentions her prized "Gucci boots." The brand names of cars are mentioned, such as "Ford Mustang."
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters occasionally drink in restaurants or in a background way.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Former stunt man Scott Waugh pays respectful homage to the classic action/car chase movies of the 1960s and 1970s by choosing to use all live stunts, with no computer-generated effects. He also casts an actual actor (Aaron Paul), rather than an action hero, to play the lead, resulting in more meaningful, human moments. So, even though the movie is a fairly routine popcorn entertainment with typical twists, romances, heroes and villains, it feels old-fashioned, organic, and exciting. It's based on a video game, but you'd never know it.
The stunts, especially one involving an Apache helicopter rescuing the escaping Mustang from the edge of a cliff, is tremendous, with far more powerful impact than CG effects could accomplish. It helps that Paul and his co-star, English actor Imogen Poots, are so good and sympathetic together, showing fear and doubt as well as exhilaration. And even though it runs past two hours, the movie is briskly paced; it's a terrific ride.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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