Billy Bob Thornton
An ex-con sets out on a rampage of vengeance to find those who killed his brother years earlier, all while being hunted down by a detective and an assassin.
Faster is Dwayne Johnson’s official return to the action genre, and it is an exceptional one. Never has Johnson displayed this much internal anguish or intensity, it is truly something to watch…although some of the movie falls apart around him.
The film is all about attitude. The opening scene shows Driver (Johnson) pacing back-and-forth in his prison cell, waiting to be released. You can immediately feel the pressure this man has built up in him, the 10 years he has waited for this day. As soon as he is released, he sprints (literally) to find his prized possession: a 1971 Chevelle. The first 5-10 minutes of this film can only be described as an unstoppable force. We follow Driver pacing in his cell, sprinting to his car, speeding off to his first target, and walking across four lanes of traffic to complete the task.
The story begins to show its flaws once it shifts its focus to Cop, played by Billy Bob Thornton, and Killer (Jackson-Cohen). While many have noted Killer to be a somewhat pointless character, I found his story to be much more interesting than that of Cop’s. Although they never truly bore the audience, they take our attention away from what is important in the film: Driver. This is truly a fantastic performance by Dwayne Johnson, and I would have loved to see a film that simply focused on his character and his motivations.
The film’s strength is its realism. Instead of depicting a highly stylized shootout or fight scene, Driver takes out his enemies quickly and deliberately. This film isn’t about the action or the vengeance, it’s about Driver’s journey – both emotionally and spiritually. Dwayne Johnson pulls a Michael Clayton here as he displays much of his emotions without speaking a word, and he pulls it off surprisingly well.
Overall, the film was entertaining but flawed. The “action” scenes are effective and tend to serve more of a purpose than simply depicting violence. The film also focused on a few too many characters and threw in a pointless twist at the end. Otherwise, this is Dwayne Johnson’s best performance to date, I loved listening to that Chevelle roar, and the music was great.
Rating: R – for strong violence, some drug use and language
Runtime: 98 Minutes