Faster Directed by: George Tillman Jr. Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins Rating: R Release Date: November 24, 2010
PLOT: After Driver (Johnson) sees his adopted brother murdered in a heist gone wrong, he vows to hunt down every last person responsible and take them out. In the meantime, he's being tracked by Cop (Thorton) and stalked by Killer (Jackson-Cohen).
WHO'S IT FOR? Anyone who REALLY wants to see a movie and then they get there too late and realize it's already sold-out. Then, because you already used the gas and took the time, you might as well go see Faster.
EXPECTATIONS: I hoped for a fluffy action movie that wouldn't do anything to irritate me. "Please, Action Movie Gods," I prayed, "Let this be pure fun, so I don't have to embarrass myself by nitpicking over the predictable flaws in yet another revenge flick."
Dwayne Johnson as Driver: Dwayne Johnson is a watchable dude and he always gives it his all. Even over-burdened by insane musculature, he still manages to seem sensitive and vulnerable, which can be a bit weird...like watching the Hulk crying over puppies. And if the movie had just stuck with Johnson, it could've met it's full potential of fun. Hey, filmmakers! Driver is the only character we are supposed to care about, so stop jumping back and forth to Cop and Killer. It's annoying! More Rock, less schlock! Score: 7
Billy Bob Thornton as Cop: Thornton always does a good job; he's a good actor. He's also a huge give away in this role. His presence is enough to give you clear insight into any lame twists the movie is planning on thrusting on you, so that when the big "a-ha!" is finally unveiled, you want to yell, "Big duh," at the screen. Score: 5
Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Killer: Who the hell cares about this character? Why are we delving into Killer's psyche? Why is the movie trying to make anyone give a sh*t whether Killer decides to give up his assassin job so he can marry his girlfriend and start a family? Jackson-Cohen is pretty to look at and he'd be great in another movie, but no one wants to see him looking at a picture of himself as a child in leg braces and tearing up again. "I had leg braces," he tells us through his soulful expressions, "and therefore I take lives to prove to myself and God that I'm strong enough." Really? Interesting choice. The lovable psychopath. The Green River Killer at home. Score: 4
TALKING: There are some lines that will make you roll your eyes, again, not because the writing is egregious (which would have at least been something), but because the whole thing feels like it's trying to be a much cooler movie...someone else's movie. When one of the characters says, "I created my own hell," and Johnson growls back, "And I'm the demon who crawled out of it!" you kind of feel like patting the moving on the head in a "at least you tried," kind of way. Score: 4
SIGHTS: At times the direction is fair, and at times it feels like a home movie made from passing the camera around to random strangers at a party. Originality is scarce, there's not enough bravado, and as soon as we stop focusing on Driver the movie feels like it's wandered off. Score: 4
SOUNDS: The soundtrack tries to be tough and cool, but it's too homogenized to pull it off. It was trying for Quentin Tarantino eclectic and it didn't make the cut. Also, since The Big Lebowski you just can't use "Just Dropped In" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds without the rest of us picturing Jeff Bridges dancing around in the fantasy Gutter Balls and renting his golden bowling shoes from Saddam Hussein. Score: 3
BEST SCENE: The scene between Driver and Woman/Nan (Jennifer Carpenter) was very effective, because it hints at a painful past; likewise, the scene between Driver and his adopted mom (Anne Corley) was good, because it too hints at a painful past. And then you realize that there's way too much hinting at painful pasts going on and it starts to get on your nerves.
ENDING: Big duh. Oh, and Killer lives happily ever after! Thank goodness, right? Phew! They had me worried about that one.
QUESTIONS: You know the character we're interested in, because you set it up that way. Why not let us stay with that character?
REWATCHABILITY: Nah. Just rent Taken or some other revenge movie with more of a spine.
It isn't offensively bad and it isn't great. When we're not with Dwayne Johnson, it dithers around, trying to be edgy and secretive and not quite pulling off either. Some of the characters have real names, but the three main characters are only defined by their occupation (Cop, Killer) or this thing they did one time (Driver). And why? Heck if I know. Because it seems like a cool thing to do? It isn't a metaphor for anything. It's just an empty plot device. Oh, and the dramatic counting down of the days - i.e. "Day 1"...."Day 2"...that also serves no purpose, because there's no importance to the number of days. It has no meaning, it's just another seemingly tough, cool thing to do.
Faster feels like a copy of a copy of a copy. You can discern the outlines of a popular formula, but it's all muddled by weak direction and a storyline with ADHD. I could be entertained, because I didn't have to pay to see it. If I'd spent twenty dollars on tickets for me and a friend, plus money on snacks and beverages, I would've been annoyed with the decision. It's a good Netflix movie on a snowy night when there's nothing else to do and you don't feel like being challenged, but I wouldn't go out of my way to see it in the theaters.
FINAL SCORE: 4/10