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The Independent Critic

Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Maggie Grace, Carla Gugino, Tom Berenger, Xander Berkeley, Jennifer Carpenter, Mike Epps, Moon Bloodgood
George Tillman Jr.
Joe Gayton, Tony Gayton
Rated R
98 Mins.
CBS Films


 "Faster" Review 
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After 10 years in prison, Driver (Dwayne Johnson) wants to avenge the murder of his brother during the botched bank robbery attempt that landed him in prison. A soon to be retired cop (Billy Bob Thornton) and a hitman (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) are hot on his trail.

Can you say action flick?

There's something to be said for a film that is so obviously and intentionally devoted to being nothing more than a hyped up, over-active action flick without a moment's thought wasted on such trivial items as dialogue, plot, character development or nuance. With Faster, recent family flick guru Dwayne Johnson sets aside the kid gloves and puts on his big boy pants for this amped up and unapologetic deservedly R-rated action extravaganza.

While most who've met Johnson in real life say that the family film persona is more fitting of the former wrestler's personality, there's something about Jackson as Driver that you just can't help but like. This ain't no Tooth Fairy.

The story here is simple...that's all it needs to be. Driver gets out of prison, picks up his kick ass 1970 Chevelle and peels rubber through the town of Bakersfield, California while knocking off one-by-one those who were responsible for snitching about the botched bank robbery and getting his brother killed. The most interesting character he's after is likely Preacher (Buzz Belmondo), a reformed con who now holds tent revivals. Need I really say that he's gonna' have hell to pay?

Thornton's worn out and weary (Does Thornton play anything else these days?) cop is two weeks from retirement and possesses a bit of a heroin habit that seems to be getting him through his days with his police partner, Cicero (Carla Gugino, who manages to find a shade or two of a character here). Oliver Jackson-Cohen's hitman is an interesting chap, a bit of an upper crust hit man who seems to regard being a hit man as little more than an interesting hobby.

There's not much to be said about a film that is absolutely 100% about the action and nothing else. Director George Tillman Jr. keeps the entire thing completely functional, no bells and whistles to speak of and even the action sequences are rather straightforward without much thought put into originality or coolness. In essence, this is a bit of a throwback to the 70's action flick that found it cool enough to have a central character who drove a cool car and was sympathetic enough that audiences didn't hate the fact that he was going around killing everyone.

It would be almost impossible to completely diss a film that seems to accomplish what it sets out to do, even if what it sets out to do isn't particularly artistic or original. With Dwayne Johnson as its lead, Faster is considerably better than one might think even if it's not a particularly good film.

Who can really hate Dwayne Johnson anyway? 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic