Reel Shorts | Faster

24 11 2010

Since director/producer George Tillman debuted in 1997 with the tender family comedy, Soul Food, he has always excelled at telling personal stories. His latest film, Faster, may be his first foray into the action genre, but it really is a throwback western tale that features this century’s Man with No Name, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, bringing hell on the bad guys.

Recently released from jail after serving a 10-year sentence, Driver (Johnson) is a pent-up ball of rage with only one thought: to hunt down and kill those who were responsible for the death of his brother. Armed with a fast car, a loaded gun and list of potential targets, Driver is a man who doesn’t start any trouble but surely doesn’t back down from it either. When word spreads of his one-man vendetta, Driver goes from being the hunter to the hunted with a billionaire assassin, Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), and a heroin-addicted cop (Billy Bob Thornton) hot on his trail.

While the plot may be simple enough, screenwriters Tony and Joe Gayton (who are brothers) create a three-dimensional story and infuse their title character with a larger-than-life presence that possesses humanity and heart. Not simply content to kill his victims, Driver also feels pain and remorse for the lives impacted and left behind by his victims. Described as a righteous man, Driver understands the hold that revenge can have on one’s soul and even warns a potential adversary to be careful before going down that dark alleyway of vengeance.

After years of films seeking to broaden his appeal, Johnson’s role as a one-man killing machine is a welcome return to his roots as an action hero in a Clint Eastwood-esque performance that features an homage to his “Man with No Name” franchise. As Driver gets closer to the truth, the more interesting the story’s twists and turns become as all of the principals are interconnected in this winning adventure.

Breaking with conventional wisdom, Tillman’s story expands the action drama and shows not only a main character’s motivation but also how characters make their own heaven and hell every time they cause pain. All I can say is this week is make way for this “prophet of rage.”

Grade: B-

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One response

14 01 2011
jan niekamp

I will add this movie to see on dvd.

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