Saturday, February 5, 2011

Review - Faster (2010)

“God can't save you from me!”

Director: George Tillman Jr
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen
Screenplay: Tony Gayton, Joe Gayton

Well as it happens I watched both this and Black Swan in the span of two days. Now Black Swan was truly awesome and deserving the praise that it’s getting, but it’s also a film that got a massive amount of attention and has many reviews. After watching Faster I think that this movie deserves a little bit of attention. It’s not the best movie ever but there is an atmosphere, themes and some decent acting that should be given a little bit of praise. Also I’m a Dwayne Johnson fan and so I want him to make more movies like this.

So it’s a simple tale of revenge. We have Driver (Johnson) hunting down the men who killed his brother, Cop (Thornton) who is a um, cop on Drivers case, and Killer (Jackson-Cohen) who is a well, a hired killer payed to kill Driver. Sure there is a little bit more to the plot but in a stroke of sheer brilliance, a movie decides to keep a revenge story simple. THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT PUNISHER MOVIES!

Anyway the acting in this is pretty decent. Thornton manages to bring a very interesting character to the screen. A lot of visual tics and clues to how the man operates which is good considering how difficult a character like Cop is to play. Also on form is Dwayne Johnson. Now let’s get this out of the way, Mr Johnson will never win an oscar but he’s a very capable actor. The reason why it was such a joy to see him head back to the action, is that he is one of the better action stars out there at the moment. To me the holy trinity is Dwayne, Statham and Diesel with Dwayne being the best out of the three in my opinion. In this movie he isn’t called to do much but you can just sense the rage, and thirst for vengeance this character has, and this is a great thing as it creates such a tense atmosphere. Also in the quiet, sadder scenes you can see Mr Johnson actually put on a really good show. Some may say he didn’t seem that sad, but to me it was more restrained sadness, something the character doesn’t want to be, as rage is his fuel. The reason why I’m going on about this particular performance is to me this is proof of Dwayne’s importance to the action genre.

Now moving on. The look of the movie is very gritty and sweaty. You feel unclean from just being in this world. And this is a good thing as the look of the movie really hammers home the main theme. Hell is something that we create for ourselves. Our demons are our own making. Each of the three main characters is living in torment thanks to deeds of the past and is trying hard to overcome them. Honestly watching this movie I felt like I should watch High Plains Drifter afterwards as I was getting that same vibe. The action is also well shot but most importantly doesn’t glorify it. It’s quick and dirty just like any revenge film should be. Driver is on a mission to kill people and he’s not messing about with grand schemes.

Now onto the main weakness of this movie and unfortunately it’s a biggy in my opinion. Everything to do with the third main character Killer just sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s not fair to lump it all on the actor as in this case the idea for the character is just not well formed and see’s out of place in this movie. Sure the same damaged, personal hell themes exist but I keep thinking a character like Killer would be better in Smokin Aces. Maybe it would have been better to cut out the Killer character all together as I don’t think the movie would of lost much except some action beats that could have been quickly covered up. Also it must be stressed I used the term action a few times but honestly it’s not balls to the wall, and as such some people might be turned off. There is an actual story taking place and it’s doesn’t always involve action, more the tension being built to the next hit.

As you can tell I really enjoyed this movie. It was a pleasant surprise and it was great to see Dwayne Johnson doing his thing. If only there wasn’t that Killer character this would have been great. But still two thirds good is better than all crap. If you’re after a decent revenge flick I say pay Faster a visit. You may be pleasantly surprised like me.

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