Review by Jack Foley
DWAYNE Johnson’s return to more adult-orientated action films proves to be a hit-and-miss affair – but a welcome comeback nonetheless.
Faster, directed by George Tillman Jr, is the sort of film that begins brightly but eventually loses its way. It’s a violent revenge drama whose initially intriguing characters become less and less interesting the more you find out about them.
Johnson stars as an ex-con known only as Driver who comes out of prison hell-bent on avenging the death of his brother, who was cold-bloodedly slain when the pair were double-crossed during a heist.
With a hit-list of people to kill and a hot car to get him places, Driver sets about his task with a cold, ruthless efficiency, while a drug addicted cop (Billy Bob Thornton) and a slick, Ferrari-driving assassin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) pick up his trail.
To be fair, Faster starts out like a deliciously lean and mean thriller that clearly harks back to the ’70s style of thrillers like The Driver and the Westerns of Clint Eastwood (High Plains Drifter, especially) with a little Tarantino (circa Kill Bill) thrown in for good measure.
Johnson is on particularly monosyllabic form, while the pounding music that accompanies each set piece gives the film an energy that’s impossible not to become swept along by.
But as Johnson’s journey moves increasingly towards becoming a tale of personal redemption and forgiveness rather than plain old-fashioned revenge, the tone of the story becomes increasingly erratic.
The supporting players, too, become more thinly sketched with each passing revelation so that not even a couple of decent twists can prevent the story from lumbering towards its underwhelming finish.
Had Johnson and Tillman Jr stuck to their early guns, Faster may have lasted longer in the memory and been a more satisfying experience. As things stand, it’s worth checking out to see Johnson reflex those action pecs and some solidly constructed set pieces.
Running time: 98mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: August 1, 2011