01 June 2011

Movies: Faster

Faster (2010) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1433108/

Revenge / Thriller flick starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Billy "The Bob" Thornton.  You'll also catch a couple small performances from Tom Berenger, Maggie Grace (Shannon on Lost), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Mr. Eko on Lost), Courtney Gains (Malachi of "Outlander we have your woman" fame in Children of the Corn), Jennifer "Dexter's Sister and ex-wife" Carpenter and a couple more recognizables.

Johnson was the driver in a bank heist pulled off by his brother and a couple friends. Another group ambushed Johnson's crew for the cash at their (not so) 'safe house', which left all of them dead but Johnson. Johnson swore to avenge his brother's death right before being shot in the head.
Of course he survived - there wouldn't be a film if that were the case. We first meet Johnson as he's being released from a 10-year prison stay and immediately embarks on his killing spree - to keep the promise he made.  Thornton is one of the cops working the case after the first revenge killing takes place.  There is also a hired assassin in the film, hired to take out Johnson by one of the ambushers before Johnson kills them.

There is an underlying "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" motif going on in the film. The assassin, the Rock, and the Cop (Thornton) are the most likely candidates for the thematic trio. That's about the only reason I can see for the assassin to be in the film in the first place - to complete the triangle.  The assassin's ringtone is the signature "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" theme - which I'm sure is the big wink to make sure the audience draws the parallel. Aside from a 3-way showdown, that's about where the similarity stops. They weren't all on a quest to recover the cash, the Rock was on a quest to do some killin, and the other two were trying to put an end to it.

Yeah - of all the characters in the film the assassin's need to be in the story is somewhat questionable. We get some of the dude's background to understand what makes him tick, but I didn't really care. If he were cut from the film completely it wouldn't change the story any. I suppose his whole purpose was for the "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" theme. 
There's a couple other characters that didn't have much to do with the film's story either, their inclusion simultaneously asking and answering their own questions, and cutting them wouldn't hurt the story a bit. However the movie is good enough despite the bits so I don't hold it against the film.

The film completely surprised me. It had a decent enough plot for a revenge flick, tempered fight scenes and violence only when necessary to the story, and car chase scenes that were reserved and a lot more believable than standard hollywood car-chase-scene fare. I really enjoyed that the production didn't go 'over the top' the way they easily could have done. Instead they told a good story and let that story be what is interesting about the film instead of relying on dazzling the audience with CGI and stuntwork.

The film was cast and acted well. The Rock has been in some cheesy films, some action films, some corny films. I don't think I've ever seen him in such a serious role. Dude got his acting on. And not in a scenery-chewing fashion.

Very entertaining and very surprising it was so low-key. Definitely worth watching on Friday night popcorn night.

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Edit: 8 months later and I barely remember this film, even after re-reading this post. The film didn't leave much of a lasting impression and I'm not much inclined to rewatch the film. I guess I kinda liked it in the end, but it does sound problematic.

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