DVD Review: Dwayne Johnson Wastes Talent on Dull ‘Faster’

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CHICAGO – After his underrated breakthrough from wrestling into acting, “The Rundown,” we all expected Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to be the next macho action stars like the icons we grew up with — Sly, Ahnuld, Bruce Willis, and more. But the action market shifted to more average-looking heroes (like Nic Cage & Shia LaBeouf) and The Rock took a left turn into family fare like “The Tooth Fairy” and “Race to Witch Mountain.” “Faster” looked like a return to the genre in which he would have been a mega-star in 1988. Sadly, the result is a dull, boring affair that’s nowhere near as much fun as its title or premise might suggest.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 2.0/5.0
DVD Rating: 2.0/5.0

Johnson stars as an unnamed character known solely as “Driver,” a man who was double-crossed years earlier and watched his brother killed in front of his eyes. It’s time for vengeance. As Driver tracks down the men responsible for ruining his life, a drug-addicted cop (Billy Bob Thornton) and a playboy killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) track him. Of course, it all ends in a series of revelations and bloodbaths.

Faster was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on March 1st, 2011
Faster was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on March 1st, 2011
Photo credit: Sony

With its simple premise — two men chase our hero while he chases the enemies of his past — “Faster” had the potential to be a grindhouse-era thrill ride but director George Tillman Jr. (“Notorious,” “Soul Food”) takes his plot way too seriously. Johnson is stone-faced, Thornton is miscast, and Jackson-Cohen is simply bad. Scenes between the suave killer and his girlfriend (Maggie Grace) are shockingly dull and unnecessary.

Tillman intercuts shots of the interpersonal connections of Driver, Killer, and Cop in a way meant to add weight to the proceedings but it just drags it down instead. This is a film that should be an action, B-movie thriller that wants to be something deeper and fails in the attempt. Rarely has a B-movie been played with such pretentious intensity as in the scenes that try to add depth to the hired killer role but just come off over-written. “Faster” should be fun, but it slows down way too often to get there.

Special Features:
o Alternate Ending
o Deleted Scenes

“Faster” stars Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Carla Gugino, and Maggie Grace. It was written by Tony & Joe Gayton and directed by George Tillman Jr. It is rated R and was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 1st, 2011.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

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