“Need for Speed” is the latest big-screen adaptation of a video-game franchise. While the filmmakers don’t veer too heavily into the world of the “Need for Speed” games, outside of the basic premise, they do understand that taking on a beloved franchise comes with certain responsibilities.
They certainly didn’t disappoint on that front, littering the movie with a bunch of fun Easter eggs for fans of the video games and other cool inside jokes. Here are six of the best ones in the movie:
1. The “DeLeon”
The movie’s climactic race is called The DeLeon. The name is never explained, but to “Need for Speed” aficionados, it doesn’t have to be. They’ll know that it’s the last name of Cesar DeLeon, a character in “Need for Speed: The Run,” released in 2011. Clearly, Cesar’s done well for himself, so much that he has the biggest underground race in the world named after him.
2. Super Mario Brothers
During the film’s opening sequence, the camera pans over a bunch of old collectibles that let you know about Tobey Marshall’s (Aaron Paul) family and early life. But sprinkled in with pictures of him with his dad and him with cars is a shot of action figures that should be very familiar to any video game fan: Mario and Luigi. The two brothers appeared in the first-ever video game movie adaptation (for better or for worse), and it’s a great callback to this movie’s roots.
3. The Ford Mustang’s Dashboard
One of the most recognizable trademarks of “Need for Speed” is its innovative circular dashboard and speedometer. Noting its distinctive design, the filmmakers wisely ported the dashboard from the games over to be the dashboard of Tobey’s super-futuristic and ridiculously cool Ford Mustang, which he drives for most of the movie. Gamers will get a kick out of the first-person scenes of Tobey driving: it’ll make you feel like the video games you played really are coming to life.
4. “You’ve Completed a Checkpoint”
In “Need for Speed,” as well as tons of other video games, your character is expected to complete checkpoints throughout the game in order to enter certain harder races. Tobey does just this, literally checking in at a hotel for the big final race. After he checks in, his computer console shows him a screen telling him he’s completed the checkpoint, a screen which looks suspiciously like something out the video games.
5. “Call Me Maverick” and Other Car Chase Movie References
“Need for Speed” isn’t just a video game adaptation: It’s also a tribute to the many action films that came before it. Director Scott Waugh litters the movie with meta-references, some more obvious than others.
The obvious: Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi’s character, who spends most of the movie in planes or helicopters, repeatedly tells other characters that his call sign is “Maverick,” (Tom Cruise’s character in “Top Gun”) and at one point says to Tobey Marshall, “It looks like a scene out of ‘Speed’ down there,” about one of the movie’s best chase sequences, telling Tobey, “Hard left at three, Keanu,” to really drive it home.
Less obvious: The “Speed” references aren’t just out of a common word in the title: Waugh actually worked on “Speed” as a stuntman 20 years ago. Also, the drive-in at the beginning of the movie is showing “Bullitt,” one of the first, legendary car chase movies, starring Steve McQueen. And what car does McQueen drive in that movie? A Ford Mustang, of course.
6. Rebels Without a Cause
In any movie about young, attractive people driving fast cars, there will be the inevitable comparison to James Dean. “Need for Speed” doesn’t just realize this, it invites it. Tobey Marshall wears Dean’s classic combo of black leather jacket over a white T-shirt (while the bad guy wears a black leather jacket with a black T-shirt, just in case you weren’t positive he was evil).
Even more than that, Tobey’s best friend Pete has the same hairstyle as Dean.
What other fun Easter eggs could you find? Let us know!