From the instant the camera opens on Dwayne Johnson in “Faster” it is obvious that this revenge film is going to leave behind a hefty trail of bodies.  The hardened convict, who is introduced only as “Driver,” has been anxiously pacing his prison cell working up a sweat in anticipation for his release. 

Once he steps into the light of day, we follow him on a brisk run from the grounds of the prison to a junk yard where his shiny black Chevelle, a list of names, and a loaded six-shooter are waiting for him. Without wasting any time, Driver guns his car onto the road ready to start his mission.

This violent flick directed by George Tillman Jr. does not feign originality; embracing genre conventions even down to its lack of character names. Because the writers Joe and Tony Gayton are satisfied with telling this revenge tale and nothing further, “Faster” is more respectable than other action movies that burden audiences with overly complex back story. 

In “Faster” the three main characters you need to worry about are Driver (Dwayne Johnson), Cop (Billy Bob Thornton), and Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen).  Driver’s brother was murdered after they were double-crossed during a heist, and now that he is free he wants bloody revenge on those responsible for his loss.  Cop, is a strung out police officer on the verge of retirement forced into one last chase after Driver starts killing people.  The mastermind behind Driver’s betrayal has hired Killer, a hitman with serious insecurities, to take Driver out before he gets too close.

Brothers Joe and Tony Gayton introduce these three characters separately, gradually drawing their stories together, with the hint that they will eventually collide at the film’s climax.  When the three actually do meet however the results are surprising because their allegiances are not as clear cut as they might appear. 

Even though there is an absence of silly one-liners, each of the actors portraying the main characters brings something entertaining to their roles.  As Driver, Dwayne Johnson has a great angry facial expression where his bottom teeth stick out like rabid bulldog.  This expression is hilariously off-putting to his enemies.  Thornton brings a tired, drug addled presence as Cop, laced with his trademark weary sarcasm.  Probably the most amusing character though is Jackson-Cohen’s Killer, because his emotional baggage almost gets in the way of his profession.    

If you are looking for a fresh story about loss and revenge you will not find it with “Faster.”  However if you want a classic tale about brutal payback with car chases, gun fights, and plenty of violence that requires little interpretation you should check out this film.   

My Grade: B