Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Written by Joe the Revelator

I did not go into this movie with high expectations. To me, the title "Faster" implied a chase movie like The Transporter. It was another action flick after a summer of bad action flicks, barely a blip on my radar, which I nicked from the cheap shelves at the video store.

The lead, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, is charming in a thuggish way, but so many of his films fall flat. They lack the finesse of good gritty action. Doom and The Scorpion King were ridiculous backdrops for the directors to show how many ways The Rock could beat the piss out of dudes, and South Land Tales was plodding and overstuffed with big name stars.

I started the movie with one eye on the screen and the other on a project I was tooling around with. It ended with my project forgotten, shoved aside, as I gave my full attention to the story.

Human force of nature.

The Rock's character is an uncomplicated ball of rage. He's the getaway driver of a bank heist which was thwarted by a rival gang. They took the money and murdered his brother, nearly killing The Rock as well with a bullet to the back of the head. Now the Rock's done his prison time and is looking for revenge, systematically executing the miscreants who have all gone on to lead very different lives in the intervening years.

Driver (The Rock) is unflinching and single-minded with a .454 Ruger in hand. The depth of his character is suprising, perhaps because it's paralelled by a sociopath adrenhalin-junky billionaire assassin, and a not-so-recovered police investigator played by Billy Bob Thorton. Watching them hunt down the avenging protagonist is an exercise in brains and skill going against pure, raw force.

Forgiveness seems to be a big theme, as well as addiction and motivation. And while there are a few chase scenes they remain brief; same as the fight sequences. The emphasis is on the drama that comes before and after a fight, rather than a protracted scene of violence. A good example of this is when The Rock kills a bouncer in the club bathroom and after a fair brawl, is asked by the dying man to call his only son to apologize for his father not coming home. The cellphone is slid across the floor toward The Rock's feet with bloody handprints all over it.

Revenge is a dish best served Bold.

Brevity is the soul of wit, and revenge is the soul of action. I can enthusiastically recommend this movie to almost anyone. It's powerful. It's deeper than 95% of the action coming out of Hollywood these days. And it's fairly unknown as of yet, which means you can brag about being the first to see it to your friends.

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