(Dir. George Tillman, Jr., 2010)
On the day of his release from a 10 year prison sentence "The Rock", who a title tells us is "Driver", sits down in front of a sympathetic Warden (Tom Berenger). Berenger in a one scene cameo goes on about rehabilitation and offers a helping hand. "Any questions?" the Warden asks. The Rock: "Where's the exit?"
This is our protagonist's first and only line for a bit into FASTER, which follows the extremely stoical ex con as he follows a list of those involved in the bank robbery that landed him in jail and who murdered his brother.
One informant after another is treated to a bullet to the brain. Meanwhile, a sleazy Billy Bob Thornton, only identified as "Cop", is trailing "Driver" and there's Oliver Jackson-Cohen as a slick high tech assassin labeled only as "Killer" who is also caught up in the chase.
Working from the inside loop with a strong willed police detective (Carla Gugino), Thornton is a divorced druggie - unfortunately a scene devised to enforce his character's messed up mindset is set to the First Edition's "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" which can't help but recall THE BIG LEBOWSKI (Dude! Don't steal from "The Dude"!)
Admiring The Rock's confidence and skills, Jackson-Cohen tells his girlfriend (Maggie Grace from "Lost") that his new worthy adversary is "faster" than he is, in case you were wondering about the film's title.
FASTER is ultra-formulaic and it takes itself way too seriously with only a few feeble attempts at humor to give us much relief. The Rock puts in a refined and solid performance, but it's not a very interesting character. We don't learn anything about him except his single minded mission and the heavily implied love for his brother.
And because he's as unbeatable as always - there's no edge or sense of danger present.
Thornton steals the scenes he's in - he and the brash Jackson-Cohen appear to be having fun with their roles which is good because The Rock sure isn't.
As for the mechanics of the plot there is a bit of a mystery about who pulled the strings in the botched bank job set-up with flashbacks and images on a videotape, but I seriously doubt the target audience for this film will care or be very shocked when the reveal comes. They'll probably just be waiting for the next kill like the preview crowd at the advance screening I saw this at who ate every bit of it up.
I will give credit to the fact that there were no explosions in this movie. For an action movie of this ilk that certainly can be seen as major restraint.
This is a movie for The Rock fans plain and simple. Those who want brains instead of blockbuster bloodlust may want to sit this one out.