Friday, November 26, 2010

Faster Movie Review

The Setup - Driver (Dwayne Johnson) is released from prison after serving a 10 year sentence for a bank robbery. Upon release he sets about exacting retribution on those that murdered his brother in the aftermath of  the bank heist. On his trail is an expert assassin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and a pair of cops (Carla Gugino and Billy Bob Thornton).

The Review - I have to say I was really surprised by this movie. The trailers don't do it justice. I was expecting a Fast and Furious clone with the Rock and I got something completely different. The film really is three intertwining stories: The Driver story seen in the previews, the hitman's background and domestic life and Billy Bob's story of a near retirement cop with a history of drug abuse. Faster makes good use of the three segments to push the plot forward. You glean character history and motives as the stories develop without being hit over the head with information.

Stylistically, the film is reminiscent of 70's B movies, including a matching soundtrack and great old school muscle cars. To me, Faster seems to pay homage to those films without being overt or mocking. Rather it takes the ground work of B movies to the next level without compromising on feel.

The real highlight of the film is Dwayne Johnson as Driver. His stoic performance is very reminiscent of Arnold in the first Terminator. He's a badass and it exudes from everything he does on the screen. The only real failing of the character and the film is the inevitable emotional revelation Driver undergoes. It's not that it's poorly done or that Johnson doesn't pull it off, it just seems to make the pacing a little clunking towards the end.

The rest of the cast fairs well also. Jackson Cohen as the killer is a rather sympathetic character. A seemingly amazing feat given that he kills people for money. Billy Bob Thornton plays the cop well enough. If you seen him in any movie save Sling Blade, you've seen this character before. Not that this is a bad thing. It just makes him akin to John Wayne or Tommy Lee Jones in that regard - you know what you're going to get. Carla Gugino is decent as Billy Bob's partner. Not a knock on her, she just didn't have that much to do. There's no real character development for her. She mainly functions as a counterpoint to Thornton and she provides the viewer with information.

All in all, Faster is a pretty good movie. I give it a solid three Flaming Midgets.

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