Reviews: Faster

Starts off strong, but quickly loses it.

The first 20-30 minutes of the film feel almost like the best of them. The film effectively establishes the three characters (though labelling them by archetypes was a grave mistake) and the central conflict. Dwayne Jonnson and others effectively carry their roles and there's some genuine mystery. The opening sequence stretches realism (Jonnson's Driver is offered a support helpline when released, but is still sent off straight to freedom, with no half-way house involved.), but on the whole, it all feels right.

Then, the film begins to crumble right after the second hit: the first fight of Driver and Killer consists of them shooting at each other and missing at few metres' distance before former flees. All action that follows is no better, each encounter resolved within less than a minute. Driver goes from target to target on open freeways without encountering any police roadblocks, etc. until the very end, which makes no sense, given that the film takes place over at least three days. With no good action scenes, the film has to support itself through the plot alone, and it doesn't work well either.

The moral message is there, but completely muddled: as one reviewer put it, "Faster is a film where The Rock struggles between forgiving people and shooting them in the head, and eventually decides on doing a bit of both." You might call it a realistic attitude, but it's neither challenging nor satisfying for the viewers. As the article points out, many emotional scenes from Driver's past are recalled instead of being shown: the scene where Driver's mother confesses about him being born out of wedlock, which led to abuse from her husband is particularly maddening. Not only is it not shown, it doesn't ever come into play again, and so feels pointless. Dwayne's character is on revenge for his brother's death, yet we hardly know anything of him beyond the first two flashbacks, and so there's little attachment to his quest. Most damningly, this film lacks a good red herring: once it's about halfway done, you should be able to figure out who set Driver and others up in the prologue through the Law of Conversation of Characters alone, yet the eventual revelation is still treated as a major plot twist.

Ultimately, the film is not overly bad (the acting and there are few moments of gravitas), but it is utterly underwhelming in all aspects.