As far as action movies go, Faster is one of those that felt like a throwaway movie, something used to establish that Dwayne Johnson was transitioning away from the persona of The Rock, as he’d gone by for a while, and into someone that would be far more suited roles that were more dramatic and had more range to them. A lot of people don’t enjoy hearing any criticism of Johnson since in his earliest days when he had a short role in The Mummy Returns and then later on The Scorpion King, he was still fairly rough when it came to his acting and hadn’t established himself in a way that showed he had any type of range. The poor CGI in The Mummy Returns wasn’t his fault obviously, and Johnson did a fair job when it came to his role, but when The Scorpion King came out the expectations were extremely high, and it was a serious letdown that the movie wasn’t quite what people thought it would be. But since those days, Johnson has become an absolute beast on screen and despite being seen as a big tough guy, he’s managed to transform into a serious actor.
Faster is the story of a man that’s been imprisoned for one reason or another that the audience doesn’t get to know right away as he’s being led from his cell. What is obvious is that his fellow prisoners don’t care for him as they’re catcalling and yelling at him as he passes through the halls. Upon being let loose he runs all the way from the prison to an auto yard where he picks up a car that’s been well-cared for and a file on a certain individual, along with a gun, as he sets off on his quest. The picture of him and another man makes it obvious that whatever comes next is going to be personal, and the first killing makes it easy to guess that he has a hit list in mind and that the redhead he executes in the middle of his workplace, in front of a host of witnesses no less, is only the first.
The reason this feels as though it might have deserved a bit more credit is that as far as being a revenge story, it wasn’t overly complicated and the reveal of each character was kept simple and to the point. There was no dancing around the issue since the only role that wasn’t revealed until nearly the end was that of Billy Bob Thornton’s character, and even that was done in a manner that was great since it kept the final card from being flipped even if people were already guessing what the final connection was. It does feel that Carla Gugino was kind of just a placeholder, even though she was an important part of the cast that acted as an anchor to keep things moving along in the manner that was needed. This movie was one of the several that helped to cement Johnson’s place in movie history, as he’s taken on several projects over the years that didn’t get a lot of notice but have managed to build a solid foundation for his career to rest upon as he’s taken on bigger and bigger projects that have gone on to make it clear that he’s a legitimate actor.
The truth is, and many people might not want to admit this, is that pro wrestlers becoming serious actors used to be a huge joke since no matter how much they act in the ring, wrestlers didn’t have a great track record when it came to taking their place in a role that lasted for more than a few minutes at a time. But if we look at Hulk Hogan, the Undertaker, Dwayne Johnson, John Cena, Randy Orton, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and many others that have decided to step away from the squared circle time and time again to try their hand at acting, it’s become obvious that while some are capable of making it work, others might just be tagging along to see if they can snag a little bit of extra glory. The great part is that those that do make it work have managed to take on roles that have expanded their careers and given fans another reason to cheer for them.
Faster isn’t what I would call a blockbuster, but it is a movie that’s entertaining since it’s blunt, to the point, and doesn’t waste a lot of time on needless exposition until it’s time to learn more about the main character. Once that happens it’s easy to accept since it fills in a few blank spots and reminds people that this guy is human, and not just a jacked-up ex-con that is out for blood.
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