Director: George Tillman Jr.
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Maggie Grace, and Carla Gugino
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes
Tapping the vein of genre standards like High Plains Drifter, Death Wish, and Kill Bill (the latter being borrowed from quite freely), the otherwise blandly titled revenge flick Faster is lean and mean in its focus.
An archetypal man with no name (Dwayne Johnson) leaves prison after a serving a stint for bank robbery, hops into his muscle car, and sets about exacting retribution against those responsible for shooting him in the head and slitting his brother’s throat ten years ago. Armed with a revolver, a metal plate in this head, and a dispassionate glower, this angel of death power walks with impunity into an office building, hospital, and even a tent revival seeking his violent vengeance.
Hot on his trail is a weather-beaten, drug-addicted cop (Billy Bob Thornton), along with a dotcom millionaire-turned-hitman (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) whose presence and relationship with his newlywed wife (Maggie Grace) ends up superfluous to the storyline.
No matter: with gunfights and car chases galore – and enough character back-stories to flesh them out beyond cardboard cutouts – Faster is gritty, minimalist stuff, highlighted by the best role and performance in Johnson’s still-nascent film career.