2010-12-24 / Entertainment/Lifestyles

MovieScope

‘Faster’ – Solid Action From The Rock
By Robert Snyder

Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) has changed his tune since he played the titular role in “The Tooth Fairy.” He’s turned in baby food for bullets in the high-speed action thriller, “Faster.”

As Driver, he does not do much talking, but is almost as good at speeding a car in reverse against oncoming traffic as blowing bad guys’ brains out.

Directed by George Tillman, Jr., (“Notorious”) from a Tony and Joe Gayton script, “Faster” is better-thanaverage revenge shoot ‘em up. It keeps the excitement coming, yet manages to bring some dimension to what could have been cartoon characters.

In addition to Driver, “Faster” features other one-name roles: Cop (Billy Bob Thornton), the drug-addicted lawman counting the days until his retirement; and Killer (Oliver Jackson- Cohen), the British psycho sophisticate playing hit-man for the fun of it.

The plot is as simple as a Tom and Jerry short. Driver springs from jail, bent on avenging his brother. He survived a bullet to the brain and now has a metal plate in his skull. Killer is contracted to kill him, while Cop is there to stop the mayhem. Some women are thrown in, but merely serve as accessories.

As revenge thrillers go, “Faster” keeps pace with the Lee Marvin classic, “Point Blank.” Key scenes include a cold-blooded attack during hospital surgery. It’s topped by one involving a heart-wrenching mercy plea from a reformed crook-turned-evangelist (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). This scene gives Driver his best line (“God can’t save you from me”) and a chance to squeeze out a tear in a moment of compassion.

While “Faster” takes itself far more seriously than last summer’s “Machete,” it provides Johnson with the action vehicle that should keep him in franchise heaven. Catch it and see The Rock on a roll.

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