God can’t save you from me!
When an action film is called Faster you go in expecting a few things. One thought is a tagline that manages to feebly contextualise its title in some way (slow justice is no justice).
Another would imagine the film had some reference to driving and you’d be partially correct. On this basis, you may even expect something tense and exciting, that hurtles across the screen at breakneck speed. What you won’t expect is a very anaemic offering.
Faster is not a complete trainwreck. It knows what it wants to be but it doesn’t convince in its attempts. Dwayne Johnson is Driver, an ex-con released from prison who is out to avenge the death of his big brother after their gang was double-crossed.
He’s tracked by a cop who’s called Cop (Billy Bob Thornton) and an assassin named Killer (Oliver Jackson Cohen), each out to stop Driver for their own reasons not revealed at the start. The point of swapping their names for monikers is probably a reference to The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, although it serves to prove how hollow and derivative these characters are.
While the theme of the toll revenge takes on the soul is one that the film works its way towards, the characters are rarely interesting. Things happen. Menacing words are voiced. People are killed. The end.
While Johnson embodies a man who’s a whirling dervish of violence, the film itself veers from dour to erratic and boring.
Thornton’s is suitably grim as a cop who’s a burnt out addict on his way to retirement, but Cohen as the Killer exists in a completely different film. His character is a neurotic, egotistical but driven assassin but he and the storyline is distracting and uninvolving.
Ultimately what sinks Faster are pretensions of seriousness. It’s not trash, but it’s not exciting either, plodding along and never gelling as a complete experience. If you’re still thinking about that title, think tortoise rather than hare to get an idea of what to expect.
Also available to read at MouthLondon