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Faster Review

Simon’s Rating: 7/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 5.5/10
(2 reviews total)

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is the type of authoritarian screen presence that grabs your attention whether you like it or not. No matter the role, whether in kid-fare like The Tooth Fairy or an action comedy such as The Rundown, the former wrestler oozes charisma and is akin to a charging bull with diplomatic papers in Faster.

As far as “non-actor” actors are concerned, The Rock is one of the very best (although his time in WWE certainly would have provided him with skills in the performance arts). Rightly hailed as the next big action star after his trio of testosterone cannons, The Scorpion King, the aforementioned The Rundown and Walking Tall, he took an unexpectedly early diversion into children’s films much to the chagrin of action-seekers everywhere. Even though he carried the same dazzle into that genre (especially in the overlooked Race to Witch Mountain), Mr. Johnson seemed strangely out of his element. But after that four-year hiatus, he’s back, and the ripped and roided name-taker is coming for you.

In Faster, Johnson is Driver (and only Driver) who upon his release from prison following a decade-long stint for bank robbery, immediately sets off to avenge the death of his brother. As he works toward his ultimate task of eradicating everyone involved, “Cop” (Billy Bob Thorton) and detective “Cicero” (Carla Cugino) are hot on his trail, as is a “Killer” played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen (does everyone in this movie have more than two names?). Unlike what the trailer suggests, this is almost a multi-thread narrative more than a “one man on a mission” film. The increased focus on character development works most of the time (though clearly the cliché of “Cop” being on his last weeks of the job could not be avoided) although it dips towards extraneous at some points and inherently draws focus away from the action.

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The action is far more in the vein of Death Wish than Shoot ‘Em Up; brutality over kineticism and exhilaration. Faster is relentless and often dark and the Rock sells his character with a passion. He is the reason people will venture to multiplexes this fall season and the man never disappoints. When the pace speeds up, it is done so in a gritty and realistic fashion rarely going over the top and always seems to put those involved in believable peril. This is not the type of film where bullets never find their mark — Driver’s and Killer’s (remember these are characters) rounds find their desired targets. This film is rated R for good reason and it is always refreshing to see real blood and guts in a sea of PG-13 neutering.

This is director George Tillman Jr.’s first foray into the action genre (his resume includes the Notorious B.I.G. biopic and 2000’s historically-set inspiring-weepy Men of Honour) and he does an admirable job — no shaky cam and plenty of pizzazz. Have we seen this all before? More or less. But the cast makes it watchable and the mature tone makes it moody and angry. Looking at The Rock’s upcoming films it is clear that he is not fully submerged back into the genre which gave him his start, but anytime we get to see him blast away bad guys is a welcome sight.

Rating: 7/10

Faster
Directed by: George Tillman Jr.
Written by: Tony Gayton and Joe Gayton
Starring: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Billy Bob Thorton, Carla Cugino, Oliver Jackson-Cohen

Other Player Affinity Reviews

Dinah thought: “Don’t call it a comeback. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wasted his time making Faster, an awkward revenge film. Johnson walks about wide eyed and confused from start to finish. That look may have worked in the ring, but on film it’s out of place. What’s more peculiar are the thrown-in characters that have no place in the picture. “The Killer” as he’s dubbed is a plot device wholly unnecessary and poorly edited in. Faster is a mess; I hope Johnson puts more effort into Fast Five.” Rating: 4/10

Player Affinity Composite Rating: 5.5/10 

 

Rating
5.5

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