• Faster

    Released by: Sony
    Released on: 3/1/2010
    Director: George Tillman Jr.
    Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Maggie Grace
    Year: 2010
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    The Movie:

    George Tillman Jr.’s 2010 revenge fueled action film, Faster, may not look like anything that would stand out from the countless other action films that Hollywood churns out every year but looks can be deceiving. Behind that cover art showcasing Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson looking tough and hunky on a lonely desolate road is a rather clever and surprisingly character driven film, albeit one that does manage to pack in the requisite number of shoot outs and punch ups.

    When the picture begins, a guy known only as ‘Driver’ is being let out of prison after doing a ten year stint behind bars for helping out in a bank robbery. He soon heads to a prearranged location and gets himself a sweet ride, a gun, and a list of people to kill. From there we learn his back story – the robbery was his brother’s idea and he only helped out as the driver out of loyalty, and his brother was actually murdered shortly after the robbery took place when they were double crossed. ‘Driver’ is out to take a pound of flesh from those who he feels are responsible for his brother’s death, and so he drives across California crossing names off of his list and leaving a wake of bodies in his path.

    Complicating matters are a nosey cop (Billy Bob Thornton) with a drug problem and some family issues to deal with, and a paid assassin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and his hot girlfriend/assistant (Maggie Grace) who have accepted a job in which they’ll have to kill ‘Driver.’ All of their paths will cross, but will it happen before ‘Driver’ gets his final revenge?

    Tightly paced and well shot, Faster features strong performances from all involved and let’s Johnson actually emote a bit, proving he’s more than just a big burley smart mouthed wrestler but actually a half way decent actor as well. Sure, he mostly plays the strong silent type here but he manages to use a lot of body language and facial expressions to get the message across in a few key scenes and it works well in keeping with the type of character he plays here. Thornton is his typically reliable self here, playing the quirky junkie cop character with enough twitch and legitimate depth that we actually feel for him as he tries to straighten his life out, while Jackson-Cohen and Grace are well cast as the fancy rich assassins sent into the fray to make things difficult for everyone.

    Tillman’s direction is strong and the script is clever enough to borrow from the best, blending elements of Leone’s The Good The Bad And The Ugly and Boorman’s Point Blank and rather well. All in all, this is a surprisingly strong picture and one which should put The Rock up towards the top of today’s action movie superstar short list.


    Faster looks great in this 2.40.1 AVC encoded 1080p widescreen transfer. While the color scheme has been intentionally muted and at times almost slightly sepia toned, the results look great. Color reproduction is as strong as the source allows for while black levels stay strong and deep. There are no issues with noise reduction or edge enhancement and the image is appropriately gritty throughout. Detail is very strong, not just in close ups but in medium and long distance shots as well and the end result is a nicely textured and very film like picture.

    Audio chores are handled very well by this disc’s DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix. Optional subtitles are provided in English, English SDH and Spanish. This mix delivers as much punch as you’d expect from a reasonably high budgeted action picture with tight and powerful bass response anchoring the low end and plenty of surround activity. Rear channels are used well in the action scenes to bring us into the fray but also just as effectively in the quieter moments where you’ll notice some ambient and background noise filling in the mix. Dialogue is well balanced and easy to understand and overall the movie sounds great.

    There aren’t a ton of extra features here but Sony has included a few goodies starting with thirteen minutes of alternate scenes and eleven minutes of deleted scenes with introductions from director George Tillman Jr. that put them into context and explain why they were chopped or discarded. The alternate ending is rather interesting, as are the reasons for why it was changed.

    From there, dig into the first of two featurettes, the twelve minute Criminals And Cops: The Cast Of Faster, a brief look at the actors and actresses who populate the picture that discusses their characters’ development and the film’s themes and ideas. The second featurette is the twelve minute Weapons And Wheels: The Stunts Of Faster, and as you’d expect from the title, it’s a look the car chases, shoot outs and action scenes that appear in the film with some insight into how they were all put together.

    Rounding out the extras are some animatics, trailers for a few other Sony properties, a MovieIQ interactive feature, some BD Live content, animated menus and chapter stops. All of the extras on the disc are in high definition.

    The Final Word:

    Faster manages to provide all the tension and violence you’d want from a good R-rated action movie without skimping on character development or suspense. Directed with plenty of style, it’s a good looking film with some strong performances and quite a bit more depth than you’d probably expect. Sony’s Blu-ray isn’t loaded to the gills with extras but it makes up for that with a great transfer and a really strong audio mix as well.

    Click on the images below for full size Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Nolando's Avatar
      Nolando -
      If The Tooth Fairy didn't get him to the top of the action hero short list, nothing will.