Faster surprises with its mix of heavy drama and action, yet takes itself to darn seriously.
While its marketing suggests a Fast and the Furious knock off, Faster is more in the vein of a Sergio Leone three way death play, with a trio of gun slinging men intertwined in a circle of revenge and redemption.
Unfortunately, only two of the three are watchable.
Faster opens on The Driver (Dwayne Johnson), an ex-con hell bent on avenging the murder of his brother (Xander Berkeley). With a hit list of targets in hand, he goes about doing so with extreme vengeance, drawing the attention of The Cop, a sleazy homicide detective weeks from retirement, played with an understated brilliance by the always entertaining Billy Bob Thornton.
Then comes The Killer, a millionaire turned hitman hired to kill The Driver. Played by Oliver-Jackson Cohen, the character is easily the most irritable of the bunch, with his endless musing on beating challenges (we are reminding throughout of his many achievements), making him neither likeable nor interesting.
Regardless, it is a different type of character, and that’s something which Faster does well, with director George Tillman Jr. going against the weight of expectation, hitting and missing his targets at the same rate.
With its trio of emotionally messed characters, Faster interestingly skewers character types and slowly reveals layers which many wouldn’t expect in a film about fast cars, big muscles, and hot tempers.
Drama a-plenty is featured throughout, mostly concerning morality and forgiveness within the cold, dark world of revenge. But don’t fret action fans. There is plenty of action as well, and it is of a very violent variety, mostly instigated by Johnson who not only handles those moments with ease, but also delivers in the drama stakes.
Yet for all its welcome difference, Faster often finds itself drowning in the weight of its seriousness. Some good ol’ humour in choice spots would have made this a smoother ride. As it stands, Faster is an action vehicle with plenty of features, yet is bogged down by a heavy load.