Faster is not a movie about a car chase, a heist job, or even anything to do with motor sports. Faster comes from Director George Tillman Jr. (Notorious, Men of Honour) and is a tale of a man out on a quest for revenge against the gang that killed his brother after a successful bank heist. The movie has a small core cast comprised of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Fast Five, Doom, The Scorpion King), Billy Bob Thornton (Armageddon, Bad Santa, Monster’s Ball), Carla Gugino (Watchmen, Sucker Punch, Sin City) and English newcomer Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Lark Rise to Candleford (TV), The Raven).
At its heart Faster is a revenge movie with it beginning with the release of Driver (Johnson) from prison, who casually jogs down the road to a junkyard, picks up a Chevelle that has been left for him with a file and a pistol. Driver then drives off into town to the target, casually walks into a crowded marketing office and put a bullet right between the eyes of the target. At this point you have no explanation of why he did this or who these people are. It is only later on in the movie when a few more people are brought into the story, that the plot is explained.
As the local detectives Cicero (Gugino) and “Cop” (Thornton) explain “Driver” was a part of a gang who successfully completed a bank robbery and got away with it after an audacious car chase sequence from the police. However the gang did not have long to celebrate as they were ambushed at their place by another gang who walk in and shoot two members and demand to know where the money is from “Driver” and his brother. After explaining where the money is, the brother of ” Driver” is killed in front of him and “Driver” shot in the head.
After being declared D.O.A (Dead On Arrival) at the hospital, “Driver” suddenly awakes and survives thanks to a metal plate inserted in his skull, but is then sent to jail for 10 years for the robbery. Here is where the tale of revenge takes off as “Driver” now looks to track down the rival gang one by one and take his revenge.
This movie has some great action pieces and really has a good sense of drama when the target take down sequences are being played out on-screen, and are further helped by the presence of a hired gun only known as “Killer” who is set to kill “Driver”. The movie and its action sequences are bolstered by the fact the movie is not very difficult to follow, as demonstrated by the simple names of the characters such as Cop, Driver, and Killer, this allows your mind the time to take in the very stylish shots that are on-screen as well as admire the real world stunts and fight sequences that give this movie a full-blooded shot of testosterone in the arm.
Moving away from what makes this movie good to the rest of it. This is not a good movie at all. You may think so at the beginning but by the end you feel let down and perhaps walk away feeling a little flat, by the whole experience. When the movie starts off it feels very promising with its instant gratification for audience as a result of getting straight into the action, however as the movie begins to unfold the pace soon becomes stuttered and begins to unravel.
For example, as the movie comes to a close and there are only a few of the targets remaining, “Driver” (who so far has been a cold-blooded revenge killer),begins to gain a conscience over the killings that he has made so far as he is asked by one of his victims to break the news to one of his sons about his death. This would in fact be a nice idea to see “Driver” go through some form of redemption or at least turmoil over these killings, however in the scenes that follow we see him execute his victim while on the operating table of the hospital without remorse or even a second guess himself over the killing of people. This snap personality continues to come and go as the movie progresses creating confusion about the character.
Going forward from this misguided theme of redemption whole pieces of the movie become redundant and feel like a waste of time within the movie ( this next paragraph has been made white to hide spoilers).
At the end when the real villain is revealed, in a nice twist within the movie, the character of “Killer” suddenly becomes a waste of time when you look back at the movie. Not only is he not needed with all of his entire back story and clutter within other scenes he is revealed to be nothing but someone who was more of a tool for padding the movie out. His entire purpose within the movie is redundant and even as the movie ends he fails at what he is supposed to be world-class at – Killing
At its heart, Faster is a movie which is aimed purely at guys who like fast cars, action, and perhaps some plot to go with their movie. This was aptly put on the Pants Optional Podcast not too long ago (here), this is a man movie. It has very little plot, its acting (while playing to Johnson’s strengths of physical presence and minimal dialogue) is of a poor level, and it has some big action sequences that are very tightly done making the 98 minutes of movie a little more bearable than other movies out there. It is not a great movie, it is far from this. This movie is a passable movie which you can view while perhaps doing something else, when watching it just don’t be expecting something along the lines of Drive.