Need for Speed 3D review

When his best friend is killed during an illegal street race, brooding mechanic Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) has only one thing on his mind: revenge. So Marshall borrows a retooled Ford Shelby Mustang and sets off across America to get an invite to the exclusive winner-takes-all De Leon race, where he can finally get one over the man responsible, smarmy rival racer Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper).

As you may have guessed, storytelling isn't one of Need for Speed's strengths. Nor does it need to be in a film about racing supercars. Sadly, far too much of the film's ridiculous 130-minute running time is wasted on the trite plot and limp characterisation. Thankfully, the car racing and stunts (all done practically, eschewing CGI) are utterly breathtaking and provide the sort of thrills and excitement so sorely lacking when it's just the actors on screen.

Picture: This release includes two hi-def platters – one containing the 'flat' 2D AVC 2.40:1 1080p version of the film (and the extra features), the other reserved for the MVC-encoded 3D presentation. Both look every bit as sleek and sexy as the movie's over-engineered automobiles.

By utilising a combination of Arri Alexa and Canon C500 digital cameras, depending on the filming conditions, director of photography Shane Hurlbut has conjured up a pin-sharp look. No matter what's happening in shot, the image is always impeccably clean, textured and bursting with some astonishingly vibrant colours.

And while the film was shot in 2D, director Scott Waugh worked closely with Hurlbut to ensure that everything was done with 3D in mind. The result is one of the most impressive stereoscopic conversions we've seen to date, delivering an equally convincing volumetric experience.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: Need for Speed's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack delivers on its hi-octane promise. Engines roar and throb with powerful yet controlled bass; tyres squeal against asphalt as the cars swing wildly through traffic; oncoming vehicles whistle past you or both sides; a crashing Koenigsegg Agera flips over your head from the front to the rear of the soundstage.

Away from all of the vehicular mayhem the multichannel soundmix also impresses with the expansive scale it gives the film's varied locations. Music and dialogue are also flawlessly rendered – although given the quality of the script, you may wish that the latter was obscured by the growl of a V8 twin-turbo engine.

The only downside then is the lack of the lossless 7.1-channel mix that graced the film’s US Blu-ray release.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: Director Scott Waugh is joined by leading man Aaron Paul for a very amiable and informative commentary track that is repeated across both of the hi-def platters.

Further production info can be found in the trio of featurettes about filming the driving sequences (10 minutes), the famous Gilbert family of stuntmen (12 minutes) and a production diary for the shoot (11 minutes). Finishing things off are four deleted scenes, an ad-lib outtakes reel and a Need for Speed: Rivals videogame trailer.
Extras rating: 3/5

We say: This racer serves up serious AV thrills with its razor-sharp 1080p visuals and aggressive 5.1 sonics

Need for Speed 3D, EntertainmentOne, Region B BD, £25 Approx