But those movies were fun, and "Need for Speed" too often proceeds with a grim seriousness, way too interested in a scowling revenge plot that has Paul's character preoccupied with finding retribution, on the road, for a fatal accident that claimed the life of a friend.
His cause doesn't engender much sympathy. The guy makes his living driving the wrong way on interstates at speeds close to 200 mph, leaving a wake of wrecked cars and, one assumes, wrecked bodies.
Director Scott Waugh ("Act of Valor") tries to lighten the load with some comic supporting roles - Imogen Poots as a cute British blonde who rides shotgun, and Scott "Kid Cudi" Mescudi as a wisecracking pilot who is the driver's eye in the sky.
Comedy, though, is not Waugh's thing (we'll always have "Talladega Nights"), nor are performances. His instructions to Paul are to issue periodic howls of spiritual anguish, which Paul can certainly do, having spent all those years working for Walter White.
I wonder about the potential audience for this movie. Young men have deserted the box office in droves. They're at home playing "Need for Speed" on their devices - the things that preoccupy them the way muscle cars did their fathers.
When they talk about a need for speed, they're talking about faster processors. The cars that excite them will be driverless, so they can play car-driving video games while getting from one place to the next.