Can You Smell What He's Cooking?
Dwayne Johnson is back to his ass-kicking best after venturing into family friendly fare like The Game Plan, Race to Witch Mountain and having a stint at being The Tooth Fairy, so it's a welcome change that he exploits that bulk of muscle of his in getting back to what he does best in WWE - pulverizing opponents without remorse. Here he adopts a no-nonsense approach as the man with no name, whom we know of as Driver, being involved in a heist a decade ago that went wrong because his crew got double-crossed, and now he's back out from jail to take revenge against those who did his team in.
It's like Taken, The Man from Nowhere and even Tarantino's Kill Bill, where the protagonist goes on a no holds barred rampage seeking out those he remembered and striking them off his checklist as he dispatches them one by one. Hot on his heels are Cop (Billy Bob Thornton) on the verge of retirement but taking a keen interest in this case, and what I felt was an unnecessary character called Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) sent by the mysterious ringleader to stop Driver cold in his tracks. What's even more unnecessary is the romantic narrative thread between Killer and his moll Lily (Maggie Grace), if not only to up the female quotient in a testosterone filled movie.
Director George Tillman Jr delivered the action set pieces where they mattered under frantic pacing, and the story by Tony and Joe Gayton kept enough secrets under wraps to pull off some minor surprises especially in the final act, and had enough reserves in the tank when dealing with the dilemma of the Driver having some inherent good in him that waned in his propensity to kill in cold blood, even though they do fall susceptible to old school cliches and at times the audience is required to suspend disbelief for plot convenience.
Still, it's an entertaining action flick in its own right, and fans of Dwayne Johnson should get enough kicks from this before he joins Vin Diesel and Paul Walker for yet another franchise film involving souped up fast cars.
You can read my review of Faster at movieXclusive.com by clicking on the logo below.
and I can't get enough of this earworm - Short Change Hero by The Heavy - which played as the end credits rolled: