Dwayne Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton star in Faster
‘That’s some pea-shooter you’ve got there,’ comments one of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s victims in director George Tillman Jr’s tough but clichéd melodrama. Since The Scorpion King made him a bankable star, Johnson has struggled to find a decent action premise to suit his hulking wrestler’s physique, and Faster only exemplifies the problem.
Identified only as Driver, Johnson’s character is an ex-con who sets out to avenge his brother’s death by tracking down those responsible. As he crosses off his murderous missions on a Kill Bill-style notepad, Driver is pursued by both a policeman known as Cop (Billy Bob Thornton) and a professional killer called Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen).
The decision to avoid any names recalls Walter Hill’s seminal cop-and-con thriller The Driver, but Faster never picks up that much speed, with a plotline that spends too much time with minor characters and delivers action scenes somewhat parsimoniously. So often genial and warm, Johnson attempts to expand his range to tough-guy minimalism, but Tillman Jr never gives him anything worth chewing on. Throwing in several references to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly doesn’t help; re-inventing the hitman/revenge genre clearly needed more of a Tarantino touch.
General release, Fri 25 Mar.