Fight Film Friday: Faster

Posted: December 3, 2010 in fight film friday
Tags: ,


USA, 2010

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

95 minutes

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as a driven ex-con out on a relentless quest for revenge.

After a long stint doing comedies and family films, Faster marks Dwayne Johnson’s return to serious action on the big screen. Directed by George Tillman, Jr., this film is an incredibly intense and pulse-pounding journey of bloodshed as we follow our nameless hero through his personal hitlist. Set to a fantastic soundtrack and retro-feel graphics, Tillman hearkens back to a genre of serious action we haven’t seen in some time. Michael Grady’s photography is superb in both the quiet and the chaotic scenes. There’s really a sense of scope to the film, both grand and intimate. Also needing mention is the great sound design, particularly for the hero’s car, a gorgeous 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle SS. Everything in the movie feels like it has real weight, adding a great deal of impact to what’s on screen.

The characters all feel larger than life, but are hardly caricatures. All of them have deeply personal flaws, making them feel genuine, despite their extraordinary exploits. Everyone in the cast delivers in the acting department, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and The Rock, in particular. For a former professional wrestler and action hero, Johnson’s performance is surprisingly nuanced and impressive. He really got his chance to stretch his acting chops, and he doesn’t disappoint. Granted, it didn’t seem like an especially sophisticated role, but he breathes life into it where others wouldn’t have. The ending of the movie felt a little hastily put together, and it definitely didn’t need the situation spelled out for the audience the way it had. Still, the revenge story is well told and adds depth to a genre usually known only for blood and a lack of character development.

It should be noted that the title doesn’t refer to the pace of the story. This is not a high-octane joyride through the desert; it’s more like a slow ominous walk down a dark hallway. There’s an immense feeling of tension and energy throughout the film, keeping you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The action industry welcomes Johnson back with open arms, and it shows. While not the same fight-friendly icon we saw in his WWE days and The Rundown, he moves through the movie with purpose and conviction, adding that same energy to the action scenes here. The character is a getaway driver, and it was really played up though the car chases. The stunt driving was absolutely stunning, making up the most intense moments of the film. However, the action, while integral to the story, is not the focus here, so don’t expect some kind of explosion- or gore-fest. Faster is a powerful addition to the revenge film genre, and is well worth the price of admission.

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