Faster (2010) Movie Review

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While there are parts of “Faster” that are wonderful, there is so much unfulfilled potential that the film ultimately fails to deliver. The set up is so promising—a convict known only as Driver (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, again proving himself to be a competent movie badass) gets out of prison after ten years, accompanied by one of the best theme songs of all time, “Good-bye My Friend” by Guido and Maurizio De Angeles (the song is the main theme from “Street Law”, a 70s Italian crime starring Franco Nero). He picks up a sweet muscle car, a big gun with big bullets, and a list of names of people to kill. Immediately, he walks into a building and blasts a hole in the head of that ginger guy who played a Crip in “Colors” (Courtney Gaines). Billy Bob Thornton is the grizzled, beaten down, ten-days-from-retirement cop who, along with Carla Gugino, tries to track down and stop Driver.

Who doesn’t want to watch that movie? Sure it has a silly name, and sure, there are some tough guy lines, like “God can’t save you from me”, that will illicit a theater wide chuckle, but if director George Tillman Jr., and screenwriters Joe and Tony Gayton, had stuck with this main set up, “Faster” would have been one of the best action movies in recent memory. Think “Death Wish” got drunk and had a baby with “Vanishing Point”—revenge and fast cars. It wouldn’t have broken any new ground, but it would have been exactly what you want a throwback action/revenge movie to be.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. Instead of staying with the core of the film, The Rock scowling and unleashing an angry stream of white hot vengeance, there are a number poorly executed subplots. Apparently being a corrupt, junkie cop isn’t enough, as Billy Bob also has an estranged ex-wife (Moon Bloodgood), an ex-junkie herself, that he is trying to reconcile with, and a chubby son who sucks at baseball (this dynamic is an awkward recreation of his role in “Bad Santa”). And that’s not all. If that was it, you could deal with it, and “Faster” would still rule. But it doesn’t stop there. There’s also the story of a neurotic killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), known only as Killer, and his girlfriend (Maggie Grace). Killer is an adrenalin junkie who kills for the thrill not the money, and brags about things like “conquering” yoga. Some shadowy mystery voice on the other end of the phone hires him to stop Driver.

These asides completely derail the momentum of the film. When “Faster” remains with The Rock, it is a magnificent mix of gunplay, car chases, and a nice ice-pick fight in a stripclub bathroom. You get a few glimpses into Driver’s past, moments that could have added some emotional weight to his actions and his quest for revenge, but instead time is squandered on listening to Killer talk to his therapist on his Blue Tooth, or Billy Bob telling his son that he sucks at baseball, too. You think the filmmakers are setting these three men on a collision course, but that, also, fails to deliver, and the entire movie unravels at the end.

The people involved with “Faster” are obviously fans of the genre, and set out to create a badass homage to 70s revenge and action films, but there is too much wasted time wasted on unnecessary subplots that just don’t fit or add anything to the movie. The frustrating thing is that this movie is so close to being incredible in many ways, though ultimately there are too many misspent opportunities for “Faster” to achieve it’s full potential.

George Tillman Jr. (director)/Tony Gayton (writer)/Joe Gayton (writer)
CAST: Dwayne Johnson … Driver
Billy Bob Thornton … Cop
Oliver Jackson-Cohen … Killer
Carla Gugino … Cicero
Maggie Grace … Lily
Moon Bloodgood … Marina


Buy Faster on DVD

Author: Brent McKnight

Brent McKnight lives in Seattle with his dogs. He likes beards, movies where things explode, and overcast skies. His three favorite movies are "Rubin and Ed", "A Bittersweet Life", and "Out for Justice". He wishes his knees didn't hurt. On Twitter @BrentMMcKnight
  • http://twitter.com/Terminator2366 Bad Zack

    ill be seeing this wed regardless of reviews and ” if it sucks it sucks ” — Ill keep what i kill from it

  • Arthur

    Sounds promising. The Rock is best when he sticks to hardcore action like in “The Rundown”. The guy was obviously born to be an action star. Besides new age Asian action stars like Tony Jaa, Wu Jing and Jija Yanin Vismistananda and French actor Cyril Raffaelli and American actor Ray Park (who was awesome as Darth Maul), someone has to take over for Bruce Willis, Sly, Arnold, Jet Li and Van Damme. Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Steve Austin, Nathan Jones (awesome in “Tom Yum Goong”, “Fearless”, “The Condemned” and “Troy” with his threatening screen presence), Wesley Snipes (who wrongfully has to do 3 years in the can) and Vinnie Jones are great “newer” action stars too; hell, Tyrese Gibson is not half bad either. Can’t wait to see The Rock and Vin Diesel together in the upcoming 5th installment of the Fast & Furious franchise.

    • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

      You’ve listed some decent action guys in the business but I have to say a few things. Vinnie Jones isn’t exactly a “newer” action guy, he’s bene playing villains and heavies for a bit. Austin is good in the direct to DVD market and when given a decent role is good on the big screen (“Expendables”). Nathan Jones needs to find a speaking part (Unless his voice sounds like Pee Wee Herman or something) cause otherwise he’ll just be that muscledbound dude that shows up to get killed. I think Statham, Johnson, and Diesel are the front runners for Sly, Arnie And Bruces thrones. Michael jai White is fianlly making a name for himself, and I think Scott Adkins is decent too (“Undisuted 3,” “Ninja”). I’d also like for Donnie Yen to make the impact here in hollywood that Jet Li made 10 years ago, veen though they’ve been at it almost the same amount of time.

    • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

      You’ve listed some decent action guys in the business but I have to say a few things. Vinnie Jones isn’t exactly a “newer” action guy, he’s bene playing villains and heavies for a bit. Austin is good in the direct to DVD market and when given a decent role is good on the big screen (“Expendables”). Nathan Jones needs to find a speaking part (Unless his voice sounds like Pee Wee Herman or something) cause otherwise he’ll just be that muscledbound dude that shows up to get killed. I think Statham, Johnson, and Diesel are the front runners for Sly, Arnie And Bruces thrones. Michael jai White is fianlly making a name for himself, and I think Scott Adkins is decent too (“Undisuted 3,” “Ninja”). I’d also like for Donnie Yen to make the impact here in hollywood that Jet Li made 10 years ago, veen though they’ve been at it almost the same amount of time.

      • Brent

        I agree with everything you just said. While Statham, Johnson, and Diesel may be the new Sly, Arnie, and Willis, I would also add that White, Adkins, and Austin may be the new Seagal, Van Damme, and Snipes.
        Nathan Jones can be a good supporting toughguy, but I doesn’t have the acting chops to carry a movie. He’s the protagonist of “Somtum”, a Thai action/comedy, and he is just really hammy. He does sound a little like Pee Wee Herman.

        • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

          I heard bput that movie. And he does? Really? Lmao. I just picked the weirdest voice I could think of. And good analogies with my backup pics. I’d really like to see Adkins and White do bigger things, as they both have potential. Add Mark Dacascos to the list and we got the b-list expendables. Lol.

          • Brent

            It’s not quite Pee Wee Herman, but Jones’ is one of those giant, menacing, beast-men, who when he talks for the first time you have to do a double take. There are some good fight scenes in Somtum, though. The young female lead is some sort of national junior muay Thai champion (she was in Power Kids, too), and kicks major ass.

          • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

            Nice. Now I gotta go home n watch the Protector. LoL

  • Cristoff

    Ermm, Ray park is British…

  • Cristoff

    Ermm, Ray park is British…

    • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

      Yeah that’s why the dubbed him over in Episode 1

    • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

      Yeah that’s why the dubbed him over in Episode 1

  • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

    I’ll be seeing this regardless. But Brent is this as bad as the missed potential of X-men: Last Stand and Spiderman 3? Or was this still a decent movie with people trying to cram too much in?

  • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

    I’ll be seeing this regardless. But Brent is this as bad as the missed potential of X-men: Last Stand and Spiderman 3? Or was this still a decent movie with people trying to cram too much in?

  • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

    I’ll be seeing this regardless. But Brent is this as bad as the missed potential of X-men: Last Stand and Spiderman 3? Or was this still a decent movie with people trying to cram too much in?

  • Wes

    Yep, you guys got it. When The Rock, er, Dwayne is on screen, the movie kicks ass. And when he’s not on screen, some stupid subplot always gets in the way. Funny thing about Dwayne Johnson playing a badass like this is he doesn’t talk much, yet he is arguably THE greatest mic guy in the history of pro wrestling. Anyone who has seen clips of crowds chanting his name at his command knows what I’m talking about. He was (is) amazing. I just wish he’d still let us call him The Rock….