Saturday, July 2, 2011

365 Movies Day #95 "Faster"

Truly one of the best vengeance films ever made and not near enough attention in the box office or on DVD. Sony pictures is really kicking up their game on action flicks with films like this and "The Mechanic". Dwayne Johnson is on top of his game as Driver. He is every bit as powerful as Bronson and the embodiment of righteous anger. From the opening moments where he is pacing in his cell like a caged tiger until the credits role, he never slows down. He tears a path to everyone responsible for his incarceration and his brother's murder. Up there with "Be Cool" as my favorite roles by The Rock.

Billy Bob Thornton (who we just talked about in reference to "ONE FALSE MOVE" plays a very interesting cop who is struggling with being a solid father, a good cop and a junkie. It's an incredibly 3 dimensional character for what many would consider a popcorn flick. I've heard a lot of criticism about the film's third lead played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen. He plays a professional killer who, having overcome a debilitating childhood illness has chased the ultimate in physical challenge and thrilling high, leading to his current profession. His character is struggling with the need to be the best at everything and his newfound love. Again, a remarkably three dimensional character and I personally found his portrayal and the depth of the role very interesting and refreshing. I look forward to seeing more from him.

Viewers may also recognize Maggie Grace ("LOST" and another solid vengeance film in "Taken"), Carla Gugino ("Suker Punch", "Sin City", "Watchmen", previously mentioned "THE LOOKOUT"), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje ("GI Joe: Rise of Cobra", "LOST") and of course, Tom Berenger (who you'll hear more about in film 100).

All in all, some great subtle choices in characterization and plot development make this VERY smart for a film about simple revenge. Things like a dude bigger than Johnson backing down rather than fight him, quick kills, and some excellent fight choreography (especially the bathroom knife fight) as well as Thornton's story line make this one of the best films I have seen in years. It should have received a lot more attention than it got and I can't wait to see more from director George Tillman Jr. ("Men of Honor") and writers Tony and Joe Gayton. They knocked it out of the park with this one.


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