Faster (UK - BD)
Our Marcus watches Dwayne Johnson play a tearful terminator in Faster on BD
With his first steps out of prison turning into a run, the Driver (Dwayne Johnson) is immediately on a mission of revenge against his brother’s killers. On his tail is the Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) a hitman hired to stop the Driver and the Cop (Billy Bob Thornton) who’s washed out on drugs, days away from retirement and wants to put an end to this case before he’s done.
Faster is a bad title for this movie. Sure the movie has a pace to it but there’s nothing about it that warrants the 'Faster' tag. If anything it should have been called the Driver but that doesn't matter too much right? What’s the movie like? It’s okay.
It's great in places, good in others but really it brings nothing all that special to the revenge movie arena and just has the players doing their thing to expected results.
For Dwayne Johnson fans, this is about as close as he’s been to playing a Terminator, albeit a very emotional one (seriously he tears up over his actions all the time). His relentless approach to his killings reek of Cameron’s cyborg killer and it sits well on his huge shoulders. Despite his pretty mediocre career to date Johnson is an action star I can’t help but like, mainly due to his comedic roles and the ability he has to make fun of his own big screen personality, but there’s no denying he can do the action star stuff well too, even if he doesn’t bring anything all that memorable to his actioners.
As for the Killer and the Cop, these are really the elements that are a little tiresome with their very clichéd depictions and for a long time it feels like two short stories that have been woven in to fit with the Driver‘s story just to make up the runtime. Sure Billy Bob Thornton does his usual downtrodden guy act as well as ever but again it’s nothing that feels all that different and Oliver Jackson-Cohen’s Killer has glimmers of something deeper but it never really goes anywhere.
Fasteris really just a series of good little moments which are sewn together with a pretty routine plot. Dwayne Johnson carries a lot of it in the old school minimal dialogue way, which works and the individual revenge killings are low key and gritty enough to keep the drama feeling realistic. The twist is pretty expected and it plays out relatively well but something about the Driver’s character feels unresolved to me as the credits rolled and because of that this left the rest of the movie feeling a little thin but it was fun enough ride while it lasted.
Faster has that greenish dingy look that most thrillers or action flicks have of late. It still has a golden glow to it with the lighting but the deep blacks (which are great but there’s the odd scene where they feel a bit washy) make everything feel a lot more broody.
The image is pretty much grain free, has fantastic texture and detail especially in the Rock’s stubble, Billy Bob’s wrinkled face and Carla Gugino’s freckled face and some of the exterior shots have some nice depth to the visuals which really makes the lo-fi action sequences come to life. This is a pretty great transfer overall even if it looks like a load of other movies out there.
Getting the boring bits out of the way first the track has strong dialogue throughout and small atmospheric tricks with busy streets and hospital wards make this sound full and realistic.
Moving onto the good stuff, the action scenes here are aggressive and out to grab you by the balls. You name it and Faster does them well. Roaring car engines, gunfire, cop cars, skids, bullets ricocheting; everything sounds great and dotted around the speakers to fill the room with loud! All of these elements sweep through speakers to create larger feeling sequences and even the smaller moments, like simple fights or single bullet executions really bring the track to life and hammer home the desired feeling of excitement.
It's also worth noting Clint Mansell provides the score here and while it's not all that noticeable for the most part, towards the end there's plenty of Fountain-esq beats that sound great in the mix.
'The Alternate Ending' (12:42 HD) has an optional director's introduction and offers an ending that both improved and dragged out the finale in equal measure. It faces the outstanding question I had with The Driver (can’t say what though – spoilers) and it offers up a sequel possibility via Maggie Grace (who was actually pretty good in her tiny role). It also offers up a big action moment which I’m surprised they opted to cut but it least it shows director George Tillman Jr had the guts to change a lot of things up for the sake of the story I guess.
‘Criminals and Cops: The Cast of Faster’ (12:12 HD): is a straight forward making of and is too short to offer up anything much past quite nuggets of information and ‘Weapons and Wheels: The Guns, Cars, and Stunts of Faster’ (11:54 HD) looks at the guns, cars, and stunts from the movie.
Last up are the deleted scenes (10:50 HD) and animatics (12:22 HD), a trailer for other BD titles, movieIQ and BD-Live.
Faster is typical stuff but thoroughly enjoyable while it’s going through its motions. I liked its old school feel but even that wasn’t enough to say I’ll remember this movie in six month's time. It’s a great Saturday night filler so a rental for anyone with a passing interest is probably a good idea. As for those going for the purchase, the disc looks and sounds great so that’s a positive but the extras are a little thin so don’t expect to spend too much time on those.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 1st August 2011
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1 Catalan, Dolby Digital 5.1 Thai, English HOH
Subtitles: English, English HOH, Dannish, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai
Extras: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Alternate Ending, Animatics, Trailer, BD Live, Movie IQ
Easter Egg: No
Director: George Tillman, Jr
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Bilyl Bob Thornton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Carla Gugino
Genre: Action, Drama and Thriller
Length: 97 minutes
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