Review: Faster

Posted: November 24, 2010 in Film Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

Dwayne Johnson in a scene from FasterFaster is a straight up revenge film. A wrong was done and the perpetrators made a dangerous man’s list. Throw a killer-for-hire with “issues” into the mix and you have a ridiculous, but somewhat entertaining movie.

After 10 years in prison, Driver (Dwayne Johnson) has a singular focus – to avenge the murder of his brother after a botched bank robbery that led to his imprisonment.  Now a free man with a deadly to-do list in hand, he’s finally on his mission. But he also has two men on his trail – a veteran cop (Billy Bob Thornton) just days from retirement, and a young, egocentric hit man (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) with a flair for the art of killing and a newfound worthy opponent.  The hunter is also the hunted. It’s a do or die race to the list’s finish as the mystery surrounding his brother’s murder deepens and new details emerge along the way hinting that Driver’s list may be incomplete.

Johnson has come a long way since delivering clothes lines as “The Rock” in the ring of World Wrestling Entertainment. He’s had a variety of acting roles, including gay bodyguard (Be Cool), special operative (Doom) and unexpectant father (The Game Plan). He hasn’t been pigeon-holed as an action star like most wrestlers-turned-actors. He’s even been able to drop the name of his former persona from his own. Here, he widens his range, taking on yet another role that is unlike many of the others he’s played: “The demon that crawled up out hell.” He doesn’t speak much, nor does he have any physical contact with most of his victims – he’s simply a man with a gun. Johnson has truly honed his skill, showcasing his ability to convey his emotions through easy-to-read facial expressions.

Most of the main characters have no actual names, but descriptive labels, such as Driver, Cop, Killer and Warden. This allows for minimal character development, which is really unnecessary anyway because most of the characters are archetypes we’ve seen many times before. The Killer, who is by far the most eccentric but not unique individual, is given a lot of screen time simply because of his personality. Jackson-Cohen gives a standout performance. Notwithstanding his resemblance to Jude Law and Jake Gyllenhaal, he is sure to be a rising star to look for in the near future.

The film has a lot of similarities to later Westerns, in which a stranger rides into town to get his own personal brand of justice on someone that wronged him (i.e. tried to kill him). Clint Eastwood’s Hang’em High comes to mind. A key difference here is the ‘70s style, a great soundtrack and a beautiful Chevelle (mechanical horse power replacing the traditional animal transport).

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