The Austin Chronicle


Rated R, 95 min. Directed by George Tillman Jr.. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Tom Berenger, Billy Bob Thornton, Carla Gugino, Mike Epps, Michael Irby, Oliver Jackson-Cohen.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Nov. 26, 2010

Faster goes a long way toward dispelling the memory of Tooth Fairy, but it also serves as a nagging reminder that Billy Bob Thornton hasn't had much meat on his résumé since the Polish brothers’ weird and wonderful The Astronaut Farmer four years ago. Despite bearing a title that practically begs for low expectations and is apropos of nothing in the actual movie – presumably more suitable, single-worders like Vengeance, Thief, Killer, and Angry were already taken – Faster turns out to be a better-than-average vendetta film with enough forward momentum to keep audiences glued (Elmer's, not Super) to their seats, especially if it's Thanksgiving night and they're already sick of football. Johnson plays Driver: fresh out of prison, sound of mind, and of single intent. He means to kill each and every one of the snitches who killed his brother and made off with the spoils of a past robbery. Carrying a list of names in his pocket and a really big revolver in his hand, he covers a lot of ground between California and Nevada while culling the scumbag herd in his cherry ’65 Chevy Chevelle, leaving behind burnt rubber and bloodstains. The former “Rock” plays it wicked straight throughout, as does everyone else involved, including Thornton, playing the junkie cop with a dark secret on Driver's tail. Thornton is a savvy casting choice. He's always looked a bit like he's spent some time riding a rough road on a china-white horse, but here, twig-thin and angular, he's a downright scarecrow of a man. His character keeps mentioning that he's only got 10 days to go before retirement, but from the looks of things this guy died 10 days ago. Tillman Jr. keeps things moving at a speedy clip and never, ever deviates from the story's stated goal. This is meat-and-poatoes (and bullets) action filmmaking, although, really, that title's got to go.

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