Faster George Tillman Jr.
Published Mar 01, 2011Assuredly, somewhere out there is a void to be filled by a Judeo-Christian, morally self-righteous retread of egocentric, Sergio Leone-preoccupied Kill Bill histrionics with a dose of fragile male posturing and unconscious, yet still misguided and glib, pretence. Beneath various posters of big-breasted, interchangeable lasses with strained "come hither" expressions and standard muscle car posters to reaffirm amusing notions of masculinity, there is a DVD player aching for the airbrushed stylistic whimsy of Faster, a film that features Billy Bob Thornton as a junkie cop two weeks away from retirement and Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson as a man enacting good old fashioned Christian vengeance. They're tired archetypes for the genre, representing male obligation, honour and an inability to escape from past demons, as well as catharsis-adjacent id fulfilment, respectively, covering the gamut of psychological complexity for those given implicit power. Since the story of a morally ambiguous cop hunting down a wronged man is really just a moot point cinematically in this day and age, writer/director George Tilman Jr. gives a nod to the metrosexual generation by integrating (unnecessarily) a third protagonist/antagonist (you be the judge) referred to as "Killer" (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). Hired by an unknown employer to kill the Rock before he completes his task of shooting the men that murdered his brother, he plods around flexing his abs and staring vacantly. Carla Gugino, Maggie Grace and Jennifer Carpenter also pop up occasionally, batting their eyelashes and flashing some cleavage (well, not so much Jennifer Carpenter), pulling exposition from their more significant male counterparts. It's all predictable and strained, working best during the mostly incoherent muscle-car chase scenes and infrequent assassinations in call centres, hospitals and, of course, a gentleman's club, slowing down occasionally to dole out some partially contradictory nods to traditional Western mythology. Fortunately, an endless array of heavy-handed tête-á-têtes, such as, "I dug my own grave – and I'm the demon that crawled out of it," keep the laughs rolling. Surely the owners of the aforementioned DVD player will delight in these exchanges, along with the fast cars and the infrequent, desultory action, unconcerned with the Rock's tendency to look constipated whenever he tries to express any emotion other than indifference. The DVD includes the extended, alternate, original ending, wherein there is a full-on standoff with pistols drawn. It's better than the theatrical ending, which leaves a variety of plot threads unfinished. (Alliance)