James Helsby

LRE #54: Faster

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Little Red Envelope

In my mailbox this week:

Release Year: 2010

Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen

The day he is released from prison, “Driver” sets out to right the wrong that was given him. One bullet at a time.

Driver, as psudeonym that is never broken through the film, was caught, tried and convicted after a bank heist goes deadly wrong. His brother, Gary was killed when an informant told a hit-crew about their hideout. Driver, was just doing his job. His first job. The getaway driver.

But when Garry is killed by the crew, Driver is shot and killed. Yes. Killed. He is dead for 10 minutes, before he sits up in a bolt of anger on the hospital bed. After serving his 10 years in prison, Driver is released onto an unsuspecting world. He sets out to kill everyone who was responsible for his brothers death. But first he needs a car, a gun, and a list of names.

Driver starts his job, and makes a quick kill first. A very public quick kill. And now the ‘Cop’ (Billy Bob Thornton), and a paid playboy millionaire ‘Killer’ (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) is hot on his tail. But that won’t stop Driver. Nothing will.

The Cop suffers his own internal dilemmas. A hidden heroin addict, separated from his addict wife, he hides everything from his department, because he only has 3 days left until retirement. The Killer has skeletons in his closet too, hiding his occupation and obsessions from his girlfriend. Or at least sheltering it from her.

Faster was just what you would expect it to be. Hardcore action fun. Violence. Blood. Language. Sexuality. Drugs. Murder. All of it. Just what I needed.

But aside from the outright awesomeness that it was, it was actually a good story. Driver is a ghost. Not really in the literal sense. But you spend a significant portion of the film just wondering what his real motivation is, or even if he has an ulterior motive. He is just a straight forward character. A man, killed, who watched his brother murdered in front of his eyes. He was locked up in prison, and found his solace in his plan. His determination to find vengeance upon all those who were associated with the murder.

But, I found myself questioning. Was he real? Was he just a ghost, a specter or vengeful angel come to seek retribution. It didn’t matter, because I was riveted to the film. It kept on going, never really letting up. There were a few slow minutes during some of the more introspective elements to both the Killer and the Cop, but once it came back around to Driver… It was pedal to the floor.

Sure, the film isn’t for everyone. Like I said, it is pretty violent. It earns its R rating. But if you can get into a film despite its violent overtones, then Driver was a lot of fun. Granted, I am probably among the few people who thinks that Dwayne Johnson is actually a good actor (Walking Tall, The Rundown, South-land Tales), who just happens to get caught up in some bad roles (Tooth Fairy, Escape to Witch Mountain).

Adding in some Billy Bob to the film was a touch of nice. Thornton seems to have lost some 20lbs for the role, looking every bit that closeted heroin addict that he plays. The two, while never really meeting on screen, work well together to keep the story moving. A touch of Carla Gugino as the other detective, helps some, but really wasn’t necessary.

Overall, Faster was a good flick. I enjoyed it a lot, and was never bored or lulled by the story. It’s quick, just like the name would suggest. And while it may not be Predator, or Fast and Furious, it was good in its own right.

How painful was it: A good old fashion action film. No disguising it. And no pain associated.

Rating: 7/10. I knew what I was going to get, and I got it. It was just what I wanted.

The Wife’s Retort: 6/10. Not as bad as I thought it would be.

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