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Faster - Blu-ray Review

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Faster Movie Review

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4 stars

There’s a scene in George Tillman Jr’s Faster which says everything you need to know about the movie.  Actually, it’s just a shot.  Maybe two seconds in length, too.  The camera is positioned behind the glass of the MPH odometer and Dwayne Johnson, working every bit of the Schwarzenegger vibe, slams on the gas.  You see the needle climb.  And – BOOM – on to a shot of the classic car tearing away.  The moment of artful positioning is over.  Faster is every bit of a wake up call for theatres this November.  It’s sickly orchestrated, alarmingly thorough, and its rapid fire camera shots are breathtakingly realized.  Indeed, Faster is – in every way – a throwback to the classic cool of 70’s exploitation films.

Johnson plays The Driver.  Fresh off a 10-year stint of steady jail time, he’s ready – no, he’s pacing – to enact his revenge on the crooked folks that killed his bank-robbing brother (Matt Gerald) and set him up to take the fall.  They all think he’s dead.  He’s not.  He’s just really pissed and really ripped and really quiet.  He’s got little help on the outside with his revenge plans, but he does have a few connections.  Of course, they give him a  and with The Cop (Billy Bob Thorton) and The Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) right on his ass, well, The Driver is going to have to kill everybody on his list a whole lot … faster.

Sure, the script – penned by Tony and Joe Gayton – does some silly things every once in awhile, but just as Faster’s plot starts to stumble into familiar territory the direction by Tillman and the film’s director of photography swoops in and compensates for the plotting weaknesses with some smart visuals.  The funny thing about Faster is that the script – as if one-upping the intelligence of its visual-orientated director – starts to grow some balls of its own and does some fascinating things thematically.  Expanding the roles of characters (especially with Thorton's role), we get storylines from The Driver, The Cop, and The Killer that we wouldn’t normally expect from this sort of vehicle; intriguing ones that lead to a surprise twist from the narrative.

Johnson is every bit the Hollywood Action Star - even if Disney has neutered him with a whole bunch of silliness in the last couple of years.  Faster, without even a pause in its action, returns him to the genre he is best at.  Johnson is a man possessed.  He seems driven by some bull-like beast loosed from the fiery pits of Hell to kill, kill, and kill some more.  He’s brutal and has a face void of expression; void of charisma; void of anything but vengeance.  By the end of the movie; however, there is a bit of general sympathy extracted from his features and, in a key scene with Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, his true face is revealed.  Slightly.  Then, it is back to the killing.

If the movie sounds hollow, know that, surprisingly, it isn’t entirely, but it is largely a whole lot of popcorn fun.  While keeping its B-movie intentions intact, Faster delivers a high-octane thrill-ride that – while uneven at times – certainly has a whole bunch of buttery flavors flowing within.  It’s fun and surprisingly serious for a bit.  Even if it contains a message about how violence affects a man’s spirit, we still get a few fun-lovin’ kernels stuck between our teeth along the way.

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{2jtab: Film Info}

Faster Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for strong violence, some drug use and language.
Director: George Tillman, Jr.
Writer
: Tony Gayton, Joe Gayton
Cast: Dwayne Johnson; Billy Bob Thornton; Tom Berenger
Genre: Action | Thriller
Tagline: Slow Justice is No Justice
Memorable Movie Quote: "God can't save you from me!"
Distributor: CBS Films
Official Site:
www.fasterthemovie.com
Release Date: November 24, 2010
Blu-ray Release Date:
Not yet announced.

Synopsis: After 10 years in prison, Driver (Dwayne Johnson) has a singular focus - to avenge the murder of his brother during the botched bank robbery that led to his imprisonment. Now a free man with a deadly to-do list in hand, he's finally on his mission...but with two men on his trail - a veteran cop (Billy Bob Thornton) just days from retirement, and a young egocentric hitman (Oliver Jackson-­Cohen) with a flair for the art of killing and a newfound worthy opponent. The hunter is also the hunted. It's a do or die race to the list's finish as the mystery surrounding his brother's murder deepens, and new details emerge along the way hinting that Driver's list may be incomplete.

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{2jtab: DVD/Blu-ray Details}

Faster Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
4 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - March 1, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); BD-Live; movieIQ

Forget the B-movie revenge vibe of this actioneer because this picture – this transfer, that is – is blasphemously brilliant.  Laying down solid stripes of color and shadows, the 1080p transfer is unapologetic with its sincerity toward detail, detail, detail. The blacks are spot-on and reveal a nice layer of grain and weight (to the storyline) and are consistent throughout Sony’s presentation of Faster. The soundtrack, showcased in pristine DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless format, kicks like the massive double-bass drumming of Led Zeppelin’s Moby Dick. With great depth of sound and vision, this blu-ray comes highly recommended.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Unfortunately, there is none…which is a shame.

Special Features:

Rest assured, this film deserves more supplemental material than Sony has loaded it with.  This one will surprise you, but the special features are a bit of a let down.  There is a solid making-of featurette, but there’s no depth to any of the special features.

The supplementals are as follows:

  • Alternate Ending (13 min)
  • Deleted Scenes with Director’s Introduction (11 min)
  • Criminals and Cops: The Cast of ‘Faster’ (112 min)
  • Weapons and Wheels: The Guns, Cars, and Stunts of ‘Faster’ (12 min)
  • Animatics of Bank Heist, Old Man, Hospital, and Joust (12 min)
  • MovieIQ
  • BD-Live

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