Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Faster’s Vengeance Too Forgiving


Modern day film audiences have a tendency to frequently question events happening on screen. What is the significances of the scene in the bank? Why did the main character throw away the gun instead of getting more bullets? The problem with this is that directors often feel the need to jump the gun to provide answers to questions that no one was asking in the first place. A perfect example of this is the revenge film Faster.

The premise of director George Tillman Jr.’s film is simple and straight to the point. After being released from prison, a heist getaway driver (Dwayne Johnson) sets out to gun down the people who double-crossed him and killed his brother.

At the beginning, Faster seems to have all the makings of a great revenge flick. It sets up the story in the first ten minutes, the hero is provide with a cool car and the motivation to exact as much carnage as possible. Yet Faster makes one fatal mistake in its execution, it takes itself far too seriously as Tillman Jr. attempts to make the film deeper than it really should be. Sometimes a revenge flick just needs to be a revenge flick.

Faster is never content with being a simple revenge flick, is strives to be a tale about choices and forgiveness. Every single character in the film is struggling with the notion of pride and doing the right thing. As a result, the script is constantly providing the audience with background information for several characters that they could care less about. For example there is the turbulent relationship between two cops (Billy Bob Thornton and Carla Gugino) who are assigned to track down Johnson. The audience also learns a lot about Thornton’s connection with former flame Marina (Moon Bloodgood), who happens to be the mother of the son who he rarely sees. If that is not enough, Tillman Jr. also brings in the story of the killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) who is hired to dispose of Johnson’s character, but cannot decide whether he should leave the criminal life behind and start a new one with his longtime girlfriend, Lily (Maggie Grace). Throw in Johnson’s own story and the film ends up being far more cluttered than it should be.

Dwayne Johnson has the charisma to carry a film like this, but his character is surprisingly neutered. His driver character should be a stone-cold killer yet, he is nothing more than a inherently good soul trying to be bad. He spends half the film contemplating how to be a righteous man. All of the soul searching in the film really takes the energy out of the picture. What should have been a fast paced action film ends up being an uneventful tale of redemption that takes itself far too seriously.


  1. A really middle-of-the-road movie IMO. Completely forgettable and I was disappointed the action set pieces were so unspectacular. You are right that it takes itself too seriously.

  2. I really liked it. The mixing of bloody violence and high melodrama worked for me. It isn't for everyone in the sense that is can come across as pretty cheesy (and really does feel cheesy at times) but it was a decent revenge flick in my book. One of those films for which the characters are so silly that I was actually curious to see where it was all headed.

    I hadn't paid a visit to your blog in some time. Good stuff, just as always.

  3. @castor - Complete agree that the action sequences were forgettable. At. No point did any of the action feel satisfying.

    @edgar - Thanks for stopping by. I thought the melodrama was way too thick. It never seem to fit with the violent side of the film.

  4. The title of your post immediately drew my attention - it pretty much sums up my feelings towards the movie.

    I think FASTER tried too hard to be gritty. Instead, it ended up being a bit silly. The action was pretty decent though, which was the movie's only saving grace.

    A pleasure reading your reviews as always!

  5. I recently watched and review this, I must admit I thought it was pretty average. Started well, but became pointless and over stated at the end.

    The one liners were not funny, but too cheesy to be serious.

    In fact I found the whole film very confusing, is it camp violence or serious action? Who knows, least of all The Rock.

    Nice write up CS, as always

  6. @Custard – The film really should have gone full camp. Especially since they decided to bring in the whole hitman hired to take out the driver storyline.

  7. Moon Bloodgood's in a movie. I tolerated her in Terminator Salvation.

    The non-cold blooded killer actually interests me a bit. I'll check it out one of these days.

  8. @okinawaassult - Moon Bloodgood is decent in this but is not given much to do. She is far better in the drama Beautiful Boy which should be hitting theatres this year.

  9. Yay! Also, I heard Beautiful Boy was like Rabbit Hole but better. I thought no such thing is possible, but I can't wait to find out either way. :)

  10. @Paolo - I quite enjoyed Beautiful Boy but I still need to watch Rabbit Hole before I can make any claims on which film is better.

  11. I completely agree that they tried to do too much with ancillary characters and should have just stuck to the main point of the movie. They should have used the original ending of the movie, too.

  12. @Chip – The ancillary characters really ruined this film. The premise had so much potential considering all the avenues they could have gone.


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