* out of ****
An outlaw street racer (Aaron Paul) competes in an underground race to avenge the death of a friend. Somehow this gets inflated to 130 minutes in Need for Speed, the latest bad video game to film adaptation.
The film takes an eternity to get started - about 35 minutes before Paul's friend dies, even though the character is so obviously doomed he may as well have been wearing a sign around his neck labeled "dead man walking." After the overlong first act, the movie settles into a dull routine of car chase, followed by painfully unfunny comic relief supplied by Paul's sidekicks, then lifeless romantic banter between Paul and his passenger (Imogen Poots), and then repeat ad nauseam.
Even the action scenes are handled poorly. A sequence climaxing in Paul's car dangling over a canyon by cable from a helicopter could have made masterful use of 3D to induce vertigo in the audience. James Cameron would have knocked that scene out of the park. In Need for Speed, there's a brief shot of the canyon below, then interior shots of the car.
If you want to watch a racing movie, rent Rush instead.