Faster Review
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It’s been a rough year for the artist formerly known as The Rock—at least as far as starring roles are concerned. For Dwayne Johnson, 2010 opened with the painful family comedy Tooth Fairy—and now, after a few cameos and supporting roles (most notably as a supercop in The Other Guys), he’s closing out the year with the painful crime thriller, Faster.

This time, instead of hamming it up in a pretty pink tutu, he’s scowling and snorting behind the wheel of a muscle car as Driver, an ex-con bent on revenge.

Ten years ago, Driver and his older brother took part in a bank robbery (Driver was—you guessed it—the driver). Everything went according to plan until another gang shot up their safe house and demanded the money. They thought they’d left no witnesses, but Driver survived the bullet wound in his head—and now, after serving 10 years for the crime, he’s determined to kill the men who killed his brother.

  
 
As Driver heads out on his killing spree, though, he’s hunted by a mentally-unstable hired Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and a junkie Cop (Billy Bob Thornton), who’s just trying to get through the last 10 days of his career.

Bogged down by extraneous subplots and distracting crime thriller clichés, Faster definitely could have moved a whole lot faster. Instead, it’s a painfully prolonged and predictable catastrophe.

Though Johnson is generally pretty believable as an action star, he completely overplays Driver. He spends most of the movie snarling, sneering, and stomping around like an angry cartoon villain, while his usual tough guy charm is lost in a haze of bitterness and hatred. Instead of being a likeable—or at least relatable—character, he’s barely even human.

But Driver isn’t the only unlikeable character. In fact, it’s hard to find a character who’s even remotely likeable. Thornton’s deadbeat junkie Cop isn’t exactly a knight in shining armor—and the psychotic Killer is simply irritating (not to mention completely pointless to the plot). As a result, Faster is a film filled with bad and worse guys, leaving the audience with no one to root for—except, perhaps, Carla Gugino’s Detective Cicero (who obviously isn’t a major character, since she was given a name).

The film’s greatest offense, though, is that it takes itself way too seriously. Despite its corny dialogue, weak plot, and over-the-top characters, it still tries to be a serious action movie. Had director George Tillman Jr. had some fun with it—had he taken advantage of Johnson’s goofy, gleaming grin and the sheer insanity of the script—he could have made an amusing guilty pleasure. Instead, it’s just plain guilty.

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