Directed by: George Tillman Jr.
Written by:Tony Gayton, Joe Gayton
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Maggie Grace, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Tom Berenger, Carla Gugino
Released: February 3, 2011
Grade: C+

Faster revolves around three nameless characters.  The first is the Driver (Johnson).  Ten years ago, he drove the getaway car in an armed robbery.  It looked like they’d all get away with the crime but they were brought down by a rival gang.  His brother was killed, the money was lost and he ended up spending a decade behind bars.  Having just been released, he has one goal in life – to get revenge.  He’ll stop at nothing to track down and kill those people that destroyed his life.

Two people are trying to stop him.  One of them is the Cop (Thornton).  The body count is piling up and the story is heading the nightly news.  He needs to work out who is next on the Driver’s hit list if he’s any chance of finding him.   His focus isn’t squarely on the case however.  He’s got many personal issues to deal with – most of them self inflicted.

The guy who seems most likely to end the carnage is the Killer (Jackson-Cohen).  He’s been hired by some unknown individual to assassinate the Driver before more people end up dead.  He is the epitome of “cool” but on the inside, he is very insecure.  He doesn’t know what he wants from life and whether he should marry his long time girlfriend (Grace). 

Directed by George Tillman Jr. (Soul Food, Men Of Honour), Faster is trying to be stylish, trying to be a little different.  Going against the mould of traditional action flicks, it makes an attempt to develop its characters.  Instead of just watching them in endless car chases and shoot outs, we learn about their background.  I particularly enjoyed the suave Oliver Jackson-Cohen as the Killer.  He’s like an English version of John Cusack in Grosse Pointe Blank.

Whilst it may sound good on paper, I wasn’t sold on the film’s execution.  Its originality wears off in the later stages and it stumbles home with cheesy dialogue and a predictable ending.  I didn’t think much of Dwayne Johnson either.  I realise he’s playing a character hell-bent on revenge but it’s hard to get enthused about someone with such a lifeless personality.  The screenwriters should have centred the story around Jackson-Cohen’s character instead.  It would have made for a better film.