I had a hunch I’d like this movie as soon as I saw the ads for it. They reminded me a little of a Gold Medal novel. As it turns out, that’s sort of true. There’s a certain Dan J. Marlowe feel to the film, along with some Richard Stark influence.
The plot is pretty simple. Dwayne Johnson is an ex-con who went up for being the driver in a bank robbery. When he gets out, he goes after the members of the gang that double-crossed his gang, murdered everybody but him, and stole the loot. Billy Bob Thornton is the tormented, drug-addicted cop who tries to track down Johnson, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen is the professional hitman who’s hired by the guy who set up the double-cross to eliminate Johnson before Johnson gets around to killing him. The movie cuts back and forth between those three storylines until they inevitably all come together.
Dwayne Johnson started out as a good actor back in his rasslin’ days, and he’s gotten better. He doesn’t have to do much in this movie, though, except look big and dangerous, which he does very well. Thornton’s okay, although he doesn’t seem to bring much enthusiasm to his part, and the rest of the cast is all right as well. There’s a minor twist in the plot that works pretty well, and a major one that’s pretty predictable.
But let’s be honest, the main appeal of this movie is the action, and there are plenty of well-staged chase scenes, fistfights, and shootouts. If you like those moments where you say, “Oh, he shouldn’t have done that,” just before all hell breaks loose, you’ll find an abundance of them in FASTER. I thought it just raced right by, appropriately enough, and was entertaining as all get-out. If you like hardboiled action movies, you ought to watch it.
THE PULP CALENDAR: December 3
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