“Faster” has a decent trailer. I certainly wouldn’t pay $9 to see it in theatres — $6 is even pushing it — but I don’t know if I would bother to go to see it in theatres. When it comes to cable, likely on TNT, since they’ve played practically every movie he’s ever made, I don’t know if I’d watch it unless there was nothing else on. If I were pressed to give it a grade, it’d be a solid C.
Why did I just step on the ending of the piece? Because sometimes it’s best to take a page from the Holy Book of Tarentino and tell a story from the end to really do it right.
One would think the critic’s response to a movie is binary, either they loved it to the point of killing in their favorite director’s name, or they hated it with the heat of a supernova and must trash it. I’m of the belief that the critique is from your own opinion, and at times that leads to not having an opinion at all. “Faster” is one of those movies that doesn’t create an opinion, good or bad.
First, let’s talk plot. Dwayne (“The Rock”) Johnson plays Driver, freshly released from doing a dime upstate after getting caught in a bank robbery gone bad that resulted in his baby brother’s death. He comes out of the joint with a chip on his shoulder and a hit list. Murderous revenge ensues as Driver is being chased by a veteran cop days from retirement (Billy Bob Thornton) and a millionaire hitman (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) who kills for the thrill of it.
Clean and simple, right? That’s part of the problem; it’s too clean. It’s so clean that you can very clearly see the movies it’s emulating, in this case “Payback” with a dash of “A Man Apart,” among others. It doesn’t put its own creative stamp on the plot, but at the same time, it does the job for what it is: a movie meant to kill time and maybe entertain you a little while doing it. Sure, it uses every cliché in the book, from you-killed-my-family-I’m-killing-everybody-for-revenge to veteran-gunslinger-called-back-from-retirement-to-do-one-last-job, but unlike other movies that overload on the clichés (“Battlefield Earth” being the first off the top of my head) “Faster” does right by all of them, at least by current Hollywood standards.
The acting isn’t bad, nor is it career defining either. Dwayne Johnson is clearly channeling Vin Diesel as he looks for vengeance, and comes off about as hard. In fact, I’m willing to say that his previous WWF acting career and subsequent coolness would make him more credible. Billy Bob Thornton should hang it up after this, he’s been typecast too much, he doesn’t have much more in the tank, and he’s not going to go out any higher. He’s taken a “Armageddon” or two for the team, the least we can do for him is let him phone it in.
I say I don’t have opinion about this particular movie because it’s completely average. It’s not good, bad or so-so, it’s just another action movie. And just like all action movies released in this millennium (and arguably more than a few in the last) it was made with money in mind, saving it, and making it. It will make money, that I’m virtually guaranteeing, but at the cost of originality. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a good filler action flick, in fact, I’m watching “Demolition Man” as I write, but a little more killer and a little less filler is all I ask from the industry, not just of this movie.
Also starring Carla Gugino, look for “Faster” to hit theaters Nov. 24.
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