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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » Faster » User review

Revenge is A Dish Best Served Fast!

  • Nov 27, 2010
Rating:
+3
Of all the wrestlers who tried to make the transition from the cameras of the wrestling ring to the cameras of moviemaking, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson seems to have had the most success. Not surprising, since “the Rock” is one of the most charismatic wrestlers since the days of Hulk Hogan and quite honestly the man is not afraid to shed his “tough guy” image in favor of more light-hearted roles. I loved him in “The Rundown” and even his role in “The Scorpion King” wasn’t bad. I was just impressed when he dared to step out of his image and took a chance with comedies such as “The Tooth Fairy” and “The Game Plan”, he even went to the drama route with “Gridiron Gang” in 2006. Like him or not, Dwayne Johnson made his commitment to filmmaking and his movie career may not have taken off as fast as most people expected but it does keep moving forward. Eat your heart out, John Cena.

Well, when I saw the previews of “Faster”, I have to admit I was intrigued. It has been awhile since I saw Dwayne Johnson in a R-rated action film so I decided to give it a shot. The film is a simple revenge flick that somehow exudes some grind house sensibilities and takes on an atmosphere that seemed to have been inspired by Westerns. It is full of testosterone-driven, brooding attitude as directed by George Tillman Jr.. “Faster” is a guy’s movie and you should know exactly what you are getting into when and if you decide to see it.

                     Dwayne Johnson as Driver in "Faster."

                    Dwayne Johnson as Driver in "Faster."

After serving a sentence in prison for a botched bank robbery, Driver (Dwayne Johnson) is hell-bent in finding the people who killed his brother and giving them their due. Armed with a gun and a Chevrolet Chevelle, Driver hits the gas pedal to revenge as he leaves a bloody trail behind him. But Driver is also being pursued by “Killer” (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) who hunts for pleasure and not for profit, under the protests of his new wife (sexy Maggie Grace). As if Driver’s problems were enough, he is also being pursued by a junkie cop (Billy Bob Thornton) and police detective Cicero (Carla Gugino) is hunting Driver to stop his quest for revenge…

“Faster” is a straight-forward revenge action thriller; from the opening scene filled with classic rock music, you just feel its intentions. Once Driver is released from prison, he runs and takes off in his quest for revenge, leaving behind his past in prison as he embarks on an ala- “Kill Bill” list to raise mayhem. We meet the characters in a purely visual sense, we see its ‘grindhouse’ sensibilities, as sweaty stares, machismo-laden attitude and cool posturing are displayed along the trio’s “Driver”, “Cop” and “Killer” titles. The opening tells the viewer exactly what kind of film it is; it isn’t pretentious, it knows its intentions and that is to entertain with violent action.

The film's proceedings happen under a week, it is low on dialogue, filled with a brooding tone and high on violence, blood while it exudes that “Clint Eastwood” attitude. There is a lot of gunfire to be seen in “Faster”, as Dwayne Johnson is so pumped (he must’ve worked out for this role), that he appears like a raging bull and woe unto anyone who dares stand in his way. He storms the small city in hyper-ventilated action, as the film’s main draw would be the showdowns and car chases that just rumbles across the screen. The scenes are simple and quick, it is cold and nasty while the rumbling chases looked natural without the aid of CGI (it was nice to see the classic Chevy Chevelle muscle car take on a more advanced Ferarri). Yes, the film is pure attitude and it could’ve gotten by fine without any excess meat. But writers Tony and Joe Gayton had other ideas…

                      Maggie Grace as Lily and Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Killer in "Faster."

                     Maggie Grace as Lily and Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Killer in "Faster."

I suppose it would make sense to try and make a connection to our trio, and the film does attempt to do so. It isn’t so much as surprising in the manner it handles the script, as our characters all have their baggage to carry; but the script tries to make our trio feel more human to balance out the caricatures brought on by its grindhouse sensibilities. Seems like Driver has a struggle going on within his soul, he knows what he wants to do and yet, he tries to find a better answer inside. Killer was cold and accurate, and once he learns that he has someone he cares about, little by little, he begins to doubt his choices and it affects his edge for thrills. Cop is a man with a past, and in a way, he is looking for answers himself. One common denominator would be that they all have their past catching up to them, and they need to deal with the present as everything stares down at them. Actresses Moon Bloodgood, Maggie Grace and Jennifer Carpenter all have limited screen time, but their roles were significant in the film’s theme of “a woman can change a man’s heart”. Also, the film’s scripture passages define the futility of revenge.

                      

I suppose for an intended “pure action junk film”; the exploration of its characterizations and the exposition of emotions made the movie slow down a bit, while I appreciated those things, it was merely an attempt to add minor intricacies to its simple plot and the movie could’ve survived without those elements. The film’s conclusion leave a lot to be desired, as it settles down to some odd spiritual theme and it opens up a huge plot misstep. All revenge movies have one strong theme going for them; after all is said and done, revenge leaves you naught but an empty shell and just where do you go from there? The best revenge is to live your life in a positive manner after all. The themes are there and while I appreciated the effort, it seems unnecessary for the style it had established. I guess The Rock’s “millions and millions” of fans would just be happy to see him return to the art of ass-kickery, no need for any preaching on moralities.

Timid Recommendation. [3- Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "Faster"  Poster art for "Faster"

                          
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenge is A Dish Served Very Fast! Revenge is A Dish Served Very Fast!

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December 04, 2010
After the success of THE LIVE I always thought that Roddy Piper was going to have a really big career, but it was pretty much straight-to-video junk for him.
December 04, 2010
I liked THEY LIVE--that fight scene was a classic! But I hear yah, sometimes no matter how good it is, it just can't break pass its restrictions when it feels like a cult film.
December 04, 2010
On the commentary track Carpenter says he thinks he just let that fight go on too long and I tend to agree with him. He could have lost a minute or two of that and not hurt anything.
December 05, 2010
what's your fave Carpenter movie?
December 05, 2010
Probably THE THING, followed by (in no particular order) THEY LIVE, IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, and DARK STAR. Et vous?
 
November 29, 2010
Is it just my imagination or does Dwayne Johnson always seem to play the same character in action films?
November 29, 2010
well...yes and no. I admit that he has the same acting style, but the man is trying....moreso than other wrestlers in movies. After all, he had the guts to try and play THE TOOTH FAIRY. LOL!
November 29, 2010
Still, he needs to change his look or something because he still looks like The Rock. Maybe a wig would help. LOL!
November 29, 2010
Have you seen "Be Cool"? He plays a homosexual bodyguard and he sports a weird hairdo LOL!
November 30, 2010
Nope.
November 30, 2010
It had Travolta and Thurman in it too; its the sequel to GET SHORTY. Not too good, but I tolerated it.
November 30, 2010
I heard of it, but I was one of the few who didn't like "Get Shorty" so I skipped "Be Cool". Gangsters making movies about gangsters just seems too contrived.
December 03, 2010
I can see that. I liked Get Shorty but Be Cool was lacking....
 
November 27, 2010
"the art of ass-kickery" oh man what a way to end another excellent review from Sir Woo, great job. I do want to see this one of course, gonna try to see it 2morrow if I can get every one together.
November 29, 2010
so..did you see it?
 
November 27, 2010
Excellent review!! I will admit after I saw the trailer for this film I became interested in it for two main reasons 1.) I wanted to see Dwayne Johnson whack a bunch of guys and 2.) I am just interested in revenge thrillers and this one looked like it might actually be worth my time. Thanks for the heads up.
November 27, 2010
Thanks for the read, Lopez. I take it you're also a fan of Johnson's. I used to really enjoy his antics in WWE.
 
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More Faster reviews
review by . July 24, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****     "Faster", with both its cast and its attached filmmaker, could have made for a wild, thoroughly entertaining action-thriller. It doesn't have an interesting or original premise, but it's one that could have been made to work. Some people have things within them which allow them to make films differently; although never make actual different films. It's called recycling, and if "Faster" could have made use of such a thing, I imagine that even I could have enjoyed …
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A stint in prison usually has one of two effects on a man – it either breaks him down or makes him stronger. For Driver (Dwayne Johnson), a 10-year sentence proved the latter. His strength was not just fueled by time, but also by a hunger to avenge the murder of his brother during the botched bank robbery that led to his own imprisonment. Untouchable on the 'inside,' he made plenty of enemies in prison - men who were counting the days until his release so they could exact their own revenge on the outside. Now, on the day of his release, he is hell-bent on reaping vengeance upon the four men responsible for his brother's murder. With a list of names and addresses in hand, he sprints out of the prison gates and is immediately on his mission.

No regard for witnesses. No finesse to the acts. One down. Check. Within hours of Driver eliminating the first name on the list, two men are on his trail – Cop (Billy Bob Thornton), a veteran police officer just days from retirement, and Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), a young egocentric hitman with a flair for the art of killing. The hunter is now also the hunted.

Without hesitation, Driver methodically continues down his list while the mystery deepens surrounding his brother's murder and who might have tipped off those responsible to their robbery plans. With each killing, Driver finds himself face to face with Cop or Killer and he evades them every time. Killer wants Driver now more than ever – ...
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Director: George Tillman Jr.
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: Nov. 24, 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Screen Writer: Joe Gayton
Studio: CBS FILMS
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