Slated for a November 24th release is the CBS film “Faster” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, and Carla Gugino. The film is typical of Hollywood’s run-of-the-mill productions, but done badly. This feature was plagued with more problems than Egypt during the time of Moses. Shall we begin?
After 10 years in prison for bank robbery, Driver (Dwayne Johnson) has a somewhat singular focus to avenge the murder of his brother. (Don’t they all!) Apparently, after the robbery, another crew of crooks double-crossed the gang and took their loot. The initial crew suffered tragedy when Driver’s brother had his throat slit while Driver himself suffers a near fatal shot to the back of his head. So after his decade long stint, Driver is a free man who heads out to kill the people responsible.
He arrives at a local junkyard where a large caliber handgun and a car await him. The customized 70’s Chevy Chevelle roars to life as Driver gets behind the wheel to begin his mission. His first target is a man working as a telemarketer (Courtney Gains.) Driver brazenly walks into the business, locates the man, and executes him with a shot to the forehead in front of a copious amount of witnesses, which includes a video surveillance camera.
Police are called in to investigate the homicide. An ambitious female detective (Carla Gugino) is in charge of the case. She is investigating the crime scene when Cop (Billy Bob Thornton) arrives to assist. He is a burned-out soon-to-be retired veteran detective with a slight heroin addiction. (The line, “I’m getting too old for this job!” would have fit into this scene perfectly.) The two squabble about the finer points of detective work and decide to follow up their own leads.
Meanwhile, Driver arrives at a bail bonds office late into the night. He asks the bondsman for the rest of the “list.” The bondsman informs him the price has gone up. Driver insists the price has gone down. The bondsman calls to his resident enforcer for assistance. The thug sees Driver’s formidable tattoos, which spook him so badly he flees the establishment. Persuaded by what he has witnessed, the bondsman eagerly gives the list to Driver free of charge.
Next, the film switches over to a new character, Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohn.) Killer is an adrenaline junkie who accepts and works on missions of a deadly nature. He physically and mentally pushes himself to become better than the average human being. He is driven by the fact that at a very young age he was unable to walk and he suffered through a series of painful leg surgeries to correct his disability. He is trained in the ways of the gun. He knows his weapons and takes pride in using them. Killer and his girlfriend (Maggie Grace) who shares an interest in his bounty hunting skills are deeply in love.
The stage is set for all of the characters to take their rightful and predictable places. The cops chase Driver. Driver kills his way through his list of baddies. Cop is found to be dirty. (Remember, he was shooting up China White earlier.) Killer is on his heels and has more than one shootout with Driver, who always manages to slip away.
Faster has a powerful and promising beginning but the plotline goes straight for the boring and routine. At some points, it’s unintentionally laughable. For example, he shoots a bouncer and drives away without confirming the kill. Later on, the victim is reported to be alive. Hearing the news on the radio, Driver heads to the hospital to finish off the Bouncer while he is undergoing surgery. He just walks in and shoots the man while he is under the knife, then hastily exits. There are no guards or police officers posted at the operating room door to protect the man.
Then, there is the reformed criminal turned Big Tent Evangelist (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) who is confronted by Driver and pleads to be spared from his death sentence. (He has children don’t you know.) Here’s the spoiler for you! Driver is swayed by the Evangelist’s cries for mercy, and he lets the man go. This is contrary to the fact that Driver has been hunting down all of the people responsible for his beloved brother’s death since the beginning of the film.
Finally, there is a ridiculous finale between Driver and Killer reminiscent of an automobile jousting tournament. In the end, all the characters get their just rewards, and yes, there is room left for an unnecessary sequel. (Which I won’t waste my time looking forward to!)
Faster is rated R for strong violence, language, and some drug use.