out of Five
Running time: 98
Fast-paced and tightly written, this is an entertaining revenge thriller with strong performances, exciting action sequences and an impressively stripped down aesthetic that works well.
What's it all about?
Directed by George Tillman Jr, Faster stars Dwayne Johnson as a getaway driver who gets out of prison after a ten year stretch and immediately embarks on a violent revenge mission against a group of criminals who left him for dead and killed his brother. Since he's not bothered about covering his tracks, it isn't long before the driver is pursued by the police, including a no-nonsense detective (Carla Gugino) and a scruffy cop (Billy Bob Thornton) who has problems of his own.
At the same time, a handsome billionaire-turned-hitman (Oliver
Jackson-Cohen) is hired to track down and take care of the driver before he completes his mission, but he's distracted by both his sexy girlfriend (Maggie Grace) and his constant phone conversations with his therapist.
Johnson is terrific as the vengeance-obsessed man of few words (he has hardly any dialogue throughout), cutting a convincingly bad-ass dash in the fight scenes and action sequences but also nailing the more emotional moments, such as the inevitable visit to his mother. Thornton is on equally good form as the messed-up cop on his tail and there's strong support from the always-excellent Gugino, while Jackson-Cohen adds intriguing layers to his character, even if it occasionally seems as if the character is only really there to flesh out the riffs on The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (the characters are introduced with onscreen captions reading Driver, Cop and Killer and the killer's ringtone is Sergio Leone's classic theme music).
The action sequences (well, the driving and fighting scenes) are impressively orchestrated and there's a stripped down aesthetic (heightened by Johnson's lack of dialogue) that works extremely well. There's also a superb soundtrack from Clint Mansell, if you like that sort of thing.
Perhaps the strangest element of Faster is its weird compulsion to pay homage to seemingly random films – apart from the obvious The Good, The Bad and The Ugly nods, there's a sequence set to the most famous track from The Big Lebowski, Thornton's relationship with his chubby kid recalls both Bad Santa and The Bad News Bears, and the killer's headset-based therapist is straight out of Grosse Pointe Blank.
Faster is an enjoyable, well made and fast-paced thriller with decent action sequences and superb performances from a terrific cast. Recommended.