Monday, April 04, 2011


It seems perfectly natural to assume that a movie about a convict being released from jail who goes on a vengeful killing spree is going to be dumb and painfully unoriginal. Especially when the filmmakers double down and cast Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in the lead role.  Well color me surprised.  Faster has everything you might expect in the action/revenge genre -- a lot of guns, cool cars, shooting while driving fast in cool cars, and violent retribution enforced by a muscle-bound protagonist.

What I wasn't expecting is how thoughtful and well-crafted the movie is.  Director George Tillman Jr. really takes the time to explore the price of revenge, the consequences of doing evil, and the possibility of redemption.  And none of it comes across as preachy or sentimental.  Moreover, the film is full of interesting characters. Johnson is excellent, exhibiting controlled rage as he methodically executes one creep after another.  He doesn't talk much, letting his eyes and facial expression tell his story. Billy Bob Thornton plays a drug-addicted, loser cop trying to track down Johnson's character while keeping his crumbling family from falling apart.  There's an interesting villain, a hitman sent to stop the killing spree.  He's a complicated, ultra-disciplined, narcissistic adrenaline junkie with a host of psychological issues.

The profound contrast with the blunt, single-mindedness of Johnson is entertaining. As the film nears its climax, each of these characters is forced to make a choice that determines his fate.   Solid movie all the way around.  I can't remember the last time an action movie made me sympathize (at least a little) with the guys I wanted dead.

1 comment:

Gunslinger said...

And that .460 Ruger Alaskan pistol that he shoots people in the face with is fantastic!

I honestly enjoyed every second of this film.

I wish the Rock would stick to making movies like this, as opposed to the tooth fairy or whatever it was.