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.