Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is easily one of the more successful wrestlers-turned-actor in recent years, starring in many big-budget releases, compared to the straight to DVD releases of his counterparts, Stone Cold Steve Austin & The Undertaker. Part of his charm comes from the fact that beneath his hulking muscles and strength lies a friendliness that he manages to infuse into roles, such as: Get Smart, The Tooth Fairy and Welcome to the Jungle.
In Faster, The Rock seems to play against his usual stereotype with a much darker character. The nameless `Driver' leaves prison after a long sentence and despite the well-intentioned advice to reform and find a new life, he immediately goes out and kills an office worker in cold blood, prompting a police investigation into his past and the trail of carnage he leaves in his wake, as he goes on a rampage killing what seems like unconnected people. As the police investigate his crimes, it appears that the is a dark secret that compells the 'Driver' to commit these ruthless murders.
While the plot may be somewhat predictable in places, it is a good take on the revenge-thriller, although not quite as stylish as the Kill Bill films, which it takes some of its cues from, especially with the video-game style progression of the various bad guys responsible for driving the Rock on his vendetta of murder. The Rock's physique lends itself well to these brutish and fierce characters, much like Arnold Swarzenegger and Sly Stallone once did.
Billy Bob Thornton co-stars as a heroin-addicted cop on his last chance with both his wife and his superiors, who has landed this high profile case as a means to redeem himself. Billy Bob manages to play his character as very personable, despite his flaws, and was very watchable on the screen in a nice contrast to the stoic approach that the Rock took in his character.
The one character who soured the film somewhat for me was the playboy assassin, who spoke with an unconvincing English accent (the kind of accent that Americans think we have, but we don't actually have) and had some strange compulsion to hunt people down, despite the fact he had a beautiful girlfriend, who wanted him to settle down. To make matters worse, his storyline ultimately served no real purpose to the film and could have been omitted, or drastically trimmed down.
Overall, this was a solid film with a good storyline that managed to throw in a few curve-balls in places. If anyone wanted to hold up an example of The Rock as a legitimate actor, despite his career's beginnings, then you couldn't go wrong with picking this film. While it won't win any awards, it is a good example of the modern revenge genre post-Kill Bill.
Rating - 7 / 10