Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Faster (DVD Review)

Image: Courtesy of Alliance Films
Legal Line: © 2010 CBS Films Inc. and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Inc. All Rights Reserved. TM & ® CBS Films, CBS and Eye design and all related logos are marks of CBS Broadcasting Inc. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved. © 2010 CBS Films Inc. et Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Inc. Tous droits réservés. TM & ® CBS Films, CBS, le logo de l’œil et tous les logos reliés sont des marques de CBS Broadcasting Inc. Distribué exclusivement au Canada par Alliance Vivafilm. Tous droits réservés.

Dir: George Tillman Jr. (Notorious, Men of Honor, Soul Food)
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Carla Gugino, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Maggie Grace, Moon Bloodgood, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Tom Berenger
USA, 2010

Reason to see: I'm a big fan of Dwayne Johnson

I feel like I need to lead with a disclaimer that I knew going in that Faster was a revenge flick, and revenge flicks are not my thing but I really love Dwayne Johnson (The Scorpion King, The Tooth Fairy, Race to Witch Mountain) and been consistently entertained and impressed by the films he's been in.

Faster stars Dwayne Johnson as a man who upon release from prison is on a fast-paced, hyper-focused killing spree with vengeance written all over it. With a singular focus on his mind we are along for the ride (in his really cool car!) as we watch his long awaited revenge with pin point specific targets comes to play while at the same time we see the construction of the past come to life. While we are kept in the dark on a lot of things, his character has others hot on his heels by both the police (Billy Bob Thornton and Carla Gugino) and a professional hit man (Oliver Jackson-Cohen).

I quite enjoyed the storytelling in the film as it kept me engaged and curious about the all of the characters not only currently but also their journeys over time. I like how it questioned how or if people can change over time, and the toll that sheer sole focus can take. I also really enjoyed Billy Bob Thornton's performance and it really made me realize is always does a great job and he was one of the highlights here. This was the first time I've seen Oliver Jackson-Cohen, and he was fantastic as eccentric, perfectionist albeit bizarre hit man who added the comic relief of the film because he's just so out there and has one of the oddest relationships here with girlfriend played by Maggie Grace. Those characters and performances were the highlights for me, and I was hoping to really enjoy Dwayne Johnson but his character was so one-tone, which although makes sense wasn't as interesting as I had hoped.

In terms of the action there are certainly strong elements here, especially for car fans as the main characters got a really nice ride. A lot of the action was brutal, but not gratuitous and very much had a 70's vibe to it, especially when combined with the vengeance theme. It was a bit harsh for me, but overall I was a little disappointed.

But I think I it's safe to say it's for the action and revenge fans, and on that it does deliver. The harshness and stylistic nods give homage to the 70's but update the tone and focus. I think I might have to stick to The Rock's adventure and family-centric films in the future, but I did love getting to see Oliver Jackson-Cohen for the first time. I'll be keeping my eye on him in the future.

DVD Extras:
  • Alternate ending (11 minutes) with option director's introduction (1 minute) I'd highly recommend watching this in the reverse order of watching the alternate ending and then George Tillman Jr. director's introduction as he explains the what you are about to see along with the reasoning behind the changes and his take on the change. I really liked parts of the alternate ending, which is quite a lengthy one but it's has new footage inter cut with parts of the theatrical ending. Although it's splashier ending and I enjoyed watching it as an extra, I'm in agreement of the change and the theatrical cut being more aligned to the character.
  • Deleted scenes with optional director's introduction (5 scenes, 7 minutes or 10 minutes with the introductions) Really enjoyed these extras, especially as they added depth to the female characters in the film. In particular I really wish they would have kept the extra scene with Maggie Grace's character as it really flushed her character out, but I understand the choice to cut most of the scenes.
Faster is available on DVD as of March 1, 2011. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
It was a bit harsh for me, but I enjoyed aspects of it
I'll watch it again
I'd recommend it to fans of revenge films

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© Shannon Ridler, 2011

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