After several years of misguided leading roles in children’s movies (Tooth Fairy, The Game Plan) or lighthearted comedies (The Other Guys, Get Smart), Dwayne Johnson finally broke back into what he does best in Faster, a fast-paced action movie that one would expect a former WWE wrestler to thrive in.
Johnson, formerly known as “The Rock,” plays a merciless ex-con, known only as “the driver.” He looks to avenge his brother’s death which resulted from a bank heist gone awry. After serving ten years in prison for the robbery, “the driver” embarks on a mission to slay his brother’s murderer and his accomplices, as well as to uncover the informant that gave away the location of the gang’s safe house.
However, he must outfox “the cop” (Billy Bob Thornton, Mr. Woodcock) attempting to apprehend him and “the killer,” (Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Going the Distance) a cocky hit-man hired to ensure that “the driver” is unable to accomplish his task. While “the driver” is the main protagonist, the movie depicts the point of view from all three characters, resulting in the viewer siding with different individuals at different times.
The storyline can be predictable at times and the amount of actual action in the movie may disappoint some, as the movie is much darker than the fast-paced trailers lead one to believe.
The largest flaw in Faster is the implausibility of many of the fight scenes. Throughout the movie, several characters suffer what should be fatal injuries but ultimately survive the damage. At other times “the driver” carries out his jobs so directly and apparently that the viewer is left wondering how he escaped the crime scene so easily. On a few occasions, these scenes even elicited a bit of laughter from the audience due to their improbability.
While his role required little actual dialogue, Johnson’s countless coldhearted expressions and ruthless stares cause his character to have a commanding presence in the film. The movie takes a surprisingly deep look into his character’s background and family relationships that help shape his character’s introverted personality.
Johnson’s performance confirms what both he and Hollywood should have realized several years ago: the renowned tough guy is fitter to play a butt-kicking, law-breaking action hero than the protagonist in a cheerful Disney movie.
While it will never win any accolades for superior cinematography or storyline, or be remembered as one of the decade’s most groundbreaking films, Faster is suitable for moviegoers seeking thrills and a fun action flick. Johnson’s triumphant return to the action genre and Thornton’s solid performance make up for the movie’s minor downfalls, resulting in a straightforward yet enjoyable movie.