This review is for all you folks that have an appreciation for car chase films that were made in the pre-CGI era:
Gone in 60 Seconds (original)
Dirty Mary Crazy Larry
The French Connection
The Gumball Rally
When Steven Spielberg was getting ready to film the dinosaur movie Jurassic Park, he was planning to use models of the dinosaurs and stop action techniques for much of the film. An underling in the tech department (who went by the nickname "Spaz," IIRC), on his own initiative, created a 10 second CGI clip of a T-Rex in action, and when Spielberg saw it he was blown away. All plans for using models were immediately scrapped.
Ever since that moment in movie history, action movies have relied more and more on computer-generated imaging, and less on doing actual stunts and capturing them on film. Sometimes this works pretty well, and sometimes it's embarrassingly awful, but a knowledgeable viewer can almost always tell when something has actually been performed and captured on film, or when it's been created with a mouse and keyboard.
Here's the description for NEED FOR SPEED: "Fresh from prison, a street racer who was framed by a wealthy business associate joins a cross country race with revenge in mind. His ex-partner, learning of the plan, places a massive bounty on his head as the race begins."
NFS is based on a video game of the same name. It has an immensely long credits section, listing dozens of people and entities with "computer" in their job descriptions for their work on this film.
Given these facts, any fool could predict going in that NFS would be a "me too" CGI effort to cash in on the Fast & Furious franchise.
I'll say right now that in this gearhead's opinion, NFS, made in 2014, is the most pulse-pounding, most relentless, and BEST live-action car chase movie EVER filmed as of this date, August 2019.
There is MINIMAL use of CGI in this film--I'd say less than 5% of the action sequences. The rest is "Holy ****, they actually DID that!" stuff that would make the late Bill Hickman stand up and salute.
This can be attributed to two things: Director Scott Waugh's vision, and a person he hired whose name is conspicuously absent from the lengthy credits section, Fran Hall. Fran is the owner of (and driving force behind) Race Car Replicas and Superlite Cars in Fraser, Michigan.
The movie features ultra-high-end supercars, costing upwards of $2 million each, racing (and crashing) on public roads. They needed cars that looked like the real thing, but weren't as expensive. Fran was called in to build functional duplicates of the exotic cars used in the film.
When he learned of the director's vision to use as little CGI as possible, Fran started showing him how almost every one of the stunts could be done live by using the proper equipment. For example, Fran built a camera car that had the front end of a Bugatti Veyron, with a perch for the cameraman 5 feet above where the car's roof would be. When you see drone's-eye-views of the Bugatti jockeying for position at speed with another car, those are real drivers in real cars on real roads at real triple digit speeds, with a cameraman sitting 8 feet in the air atop the overtaking vehicle, getting it all on film.
I believe Fran built a total of 14 replica and camera cars for the film. Most were crashed at one point or another, some multiple times.
There's a scene where the lead actor returns to the spot where his friend has just been run off the road and flipped. He slides his car sideways right up to the camera, which captures the concern on his face as he jumps out of the car and races on foot to where his friend has just been killed.
Filming this scene, actor Aaron Paul kept sliding the car to a stop 15 feet short of his mark, as he didn't want to hit the director. The director told him to hit the camera on the next take. He tied a rope around his own waist and instructed the crew to yank him back when the car hit the camera. Paul slid the car to within several inches of the camera without hitting it on the next attempt. They got the scene, and it's stunning.
As car chase movies go, it doesn't get any better than NEED FOR SPEED.