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Feb 01

First Thoughts – Faster (2010)

For the last few years Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has been languishing in family film hell. The former wrestler was once the great hope for action fans and had starred in “The Rundown” (2003) (AKA “Welcome to the Jungle” in Australia), “The Scorpion King” (2002) and “Doom” (2005). In 2005 he proved he had great comic timing when he starred in “Be Cool” as a gay bodyguard. Over the last few years, tough man ‘The Rock’ gave way to gentle Dwayne as he starred in “Get Smart” (2008), “Race to Witch Mountain” (2009) and “The Tooth Fairy” (2010). Each time though, he played a parody of the tough guy we actually wanted to see. His last film, “The Other Guys” (2010) he did it again.

So, finally we get to see the ass kicking action star back in “Faster” directed by George Tillman Jr. But was it worth the wait? Damn straight! The Rock is back and he is meaner and tougher than ever as a wronged ex-con out for revenge. And he is the best thing in this dumb movie.

Yep, you heard me, this is a dumb movie. A house brick could work out the plot to this film even without the constant repeating exposition. Sylvester Stallone’s “The Expendables” (2010) is like a Christopher Nolan film next to this thing.

In a nutshell, Driver (Johnson) gets released from prison after 10 years. He was the getaway driver for a bank robbery. They got away with it but then somebody betrayed them and his crew, including his brother, were killed. In fact, Driver also died in the betrayal but he got better and now 10 years later he is going after everyone who betrayed him and his brother. A junkie cop (Billy Bob Thornton) his partner Cicero (Carla Gugino) are in pursuit. Also in pursuit is an assassin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) who has been hired by some mysterious person to kill Driver. That’s it really, for the next 98 minutes we have fast cars, exposition, a killing, exposition, fast cars, more guns, exposition, a knife fight, a little more exposition (just in case you haven’t understood what is happing) and more fast cars and, well… you get the idea.

That’s not to say it is all bad, in fact I quite enjoyed watching Johnson be a bad ass, he does it very well. The first 20 minutes is actually pretty solid. It is the second half of the film where you find yourself wondering what else you could be doing with your time. Billy Bob Thornton does what he does, Carla Gugino is wasted and, believe it or not, there isn’t quite enough revenge in the film. After the first two killings, it all goes a little soft and the end credits can’t come fast enough.

If you feel like seeing Dwayne Johnson kick ass you are better off watching “The Rundown”. If you must see this film, wait for DVD.

Originally Published on My Year With Movies