By Dirk Sonniksen | November 24, 2010
Director: George Tillman, Jr.
Writer: Tony Gayton, Joe Gayton
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Maggie Grace, Carla Gugino, Oliver Jackson-Cohen
Faster is a film that appeals to the lowest common denominator, and that’s putting it nicely. Saturated with violence, Faster will be a great Thanksgiving holiday film for all those folks who enjoy watching people being shot in the head, chest, neck, or if you prefer your murder with a little panache, there’s even a guy who gets his throat slit; there’s a little something for everyone. Simply put, this is a film that relies almost completely on senseless violence to keep the audience engaged. That anyone could enjoy this garbage is beyond me, but I digress; let’s continue with the review.
We begin with the “Driver” (Dwayne Johnson) during his last day in prison for a crime we are yet to understand. One thing is for sure, the Driver is a bad dude, as evidenced by his hulking physique and his scary tattoos, not to mention his over-eager attitude that borders on comical. Upon leaving prison, he makes a beeline for his nearest victim, a guy that has done him wrong. We soon find there are others that have done him wrong, and he’s going to get them as well. As the film progresses, we learn that the Driver was set up by some bad guys, and wouldn’t you know it, these are the very guys he’s taking out; what we don’t know is the identity of the ring leader of this whole scheme. Will the Driver find him? Will he have his revenge? Will he ever stop killing people?
As mentioned previously, Faster is loaded with murder of all kinds. If that’s not your bag, there are plenty of cars that go really fast, with people that are angry driving them. If you like people looking really manic and carrying firearms—check—this movie is for you. If you like hot chicks that occasionally carry big firearms that like to date hit men with ADHD…you’re golden. If you like cops who have a questionable reputation and shoot up smack, you’ve got that going for you as well. If by chance (and I know this is a stretch) you happen to be one of those rare individuals that likes a good storyline…well…Faster may not be your cup of tea. See, Faster’s storyline is just stupid. It’s basically a guy that gets out of prison, wants revenge because someone killed his brother (yawn), and then he starts killing people—that’s it! Ok, there is other stuff in there, but I basically covered that already. See, now you don’t even have to waste your hard-earned money on this piece of crap.
And that brings us to our cast. I once believed Dwayne Johnson had some promise if he chose his movies carefully. Unfortunately, Mr. Johnson is hopelessly fettered to the B-movie syndicate, from which he is unlikely to escape. In Faster we find Dwayne looking intense—a little too intense, frankly. When his eyes aren’t bugging out, he’s stumbling over horribly written dialogue that goes nowhere. Billy Bob Thornton makes an appearance, and while his performance is probably the best of the bunch, he has no connection with any of the characters, such as Carla Gugino, another worthy actor who is completely wasted in this mess of a movie. We also get Oliver Jackson-Cohen (the Killer) who is dreadful as our hit man and wants to get out of the hit man (no he doesn’t, yes he does) business. His performance only gets worse when paired with Maggie Grace (Lily), whose character is so badly written it’s the biggest laugh of the film.
Faster is probably one of the most forgettable films I have seen in quite some time. Director George Tillman, Jr. may appease those that pine for this kind of thing, but quite honestly, it’s insulting as a moviegoer to have to sit through a movie with such a ridiculously overused premise; non-stop, pointless violence; and an awful script. The cinematography is passable for this kind of fare, but what’s the point when every other aspect of the film is so bad. With so many possibilities available to directors, it is astounding to see guys like Tillman continue to churn out this type of trite nonsense, but with audiences being hypnotized by the gore-factor of films like Faster, it’s likely these directors will continue to bring home a hefty paycheck.
Note: To the woman who brought her five-year-old daughter to this screening: Really? You didn’t think it was wrong after the first guy got shot in the head? And we wonder why we live in such a dumbed-down, violent society.