The Heap Reviews: Faster

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s expected return to the action genre hit theaters Wednesday, as he finally escapes the clutches of fluffy Disney scripts. Faster anoints Johnson’s character, only known as Driver, as an arbiter of vengeful fate, as he attempts to avenge the murder of his brother.

The movie begins with Driver in a prison cell, where the audience finds out that he has been in for 1o years. Driver is pacing back and forth like a caged animal, anxious to get out.

What ensues is 90 minutes of moderately packed action with subtle moments of humor. Faster does not try to be anything but what it is advertised as, a revenge rampage. There are no distractions (to the movie at least) by scantily clad women, or unnecessary sex scenes. There is no exasperating attempt to construct a dark, complex character. The plot is very linear, and the line is going downhill. There is no stopping fate, now that Driver has become the deliverer of fate to the murderers of his brother.

That’s not to suggest that the plot does not get a bit complex. Vigilante justice is often met with police resistance, as is the case in this movie. Billy Bob Thornton does a spectacular job doing what he does best- playing a slimeball. It’s a race to see if the police can catch up with Driver before he doles out punishment to all offenders, and who ultimately completes their mission.

There is also an assassin sent to eliminate Driver before he gets to kill all of his brother’s murderers. This wildcard of a figure adds to the overall suspense and thrill as the pursuer is being pursued twofold.

The prevalent themes of the movie were of forgiveness as well as pushing the limits. There are many clues that reveal Driver as a symbolic supernatural force, particularly one of righteous punishment. He’s referred to as a ghost and demon numerous times, not to mention the many times he survives in the movie. He makes quick work of the murderers, often killing them immediately with a shot to the head. He wasn’t interested in suffering, only delivering a death sentence of retribution. Ultimately without spoiling the movie, Driver may not ultimately forgive, but he is able to regain some semblance of  humanity through compassion and reflection.

I particularly enjoyed how the movie parallels the assassin, the Cop (Billy Bob Thornton’s character), and Driver as going through the same ordeal. Cop is addicted to dope, and the movie deals with how much is he willing to do to satiate with addiction. The Assassin is a killer for sport and ego, and his motives are in question as he pushes himself to the limit to see if he can get the job done. And obviously, Driver pushes his need to avenge to the limits of humanity. Like the title implies, when does one reach the limit? Or do you go faster until oblivion?

Overall, I thought the film was awesome. It is enthralling, dark, and entertaining. It is emotionally engaging, and it certainly sparks up one’s imagination for it one were in the same situation. Would you spare the murderers? Or shoot them all in the name of vengeance? I appreciated how tasteful it was. It was not overly grotesque nor saturated in gratuitous “nudie shots.” And of course, any movie that showcases a Chevelle SS and a GTO is ok in my book.

The movie was strictly business, just like Johnson’s character. It got the job done. As long as you don’t go in expecting an Best Film Oscar contender, you should leave feeling satisfied.

7.5 / 10 Bags

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

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