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Faster (Blu-ray Review)

26 Feb, 2011 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Street 3/1/11
Sony Pictures
Box Office $23.2 million
$24.96 DVD, $34.95 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for strong violence, some drug use and language.
Stars Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Maggie Grace, Carla Gugino, Moon Bloodgood.

Faster offers just the right mix of action and drama, showcasing the ripened acting chops of ex-pro wrestler Dwayne Johnson, formerly known as “The Rock.”

When Driver (Johnson) is released from prison, he wastes no time avenging his brother’s death. Driver’s only sibling was killed in a setup following a bank robbery pulled off with the help of his expert evasive driving skills. This heist scene is pivotal to the film and is replayed several times, justifying Driver’s mission. One by one, Driver kills off those who had a hand in murdering his brother, and he does it with such proficiency that the viewer joins his team, rooting for him to get his revenge.

Amid his killing spree, however, Driver’s past relationships come into view and uncover his multifaceted character. Driver is a stoic, hardened individual who feels that he’s truly doing what’s right. Ultimately, Driver’s eye-for-an-eye mentality intensely shifts toward forgiveness, which unfolds in a gripping scene with a target who has changed his life, spurred on by the guilt associated with his negligible involvement in the death of Driver’s brother.

Faster’s plot is enhanced by the interwoven scenarios of Cop (Billy Bob Thornton) and Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). The former is a drug-addicted police officer with a dishonorable history — a past that ultimately leads to his demise as he goes from investigating Driver’s massacres to being a target. The latter is a narcissistic hired gun determined to complete his final, and most challenging, hit yet: Driver.

Never overly emotional or gruesome, Faster employs comedic relief with Driver’s straight-faced one-liners and a bit part from comedian Mike Epps as Roy Grones, a private investigator who aids Driver in finding his other targets.

The deleted scenes and alternate ending, with optional director’s introductions, are worthwhile additions to the already-engrossing film.

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