Having endured his legendary twelve labors, Hercules, the Greek demigod, has his life as a sword-for-hire tested when the King of Thrace and his daughter seek his aid in defeating a tyrannical warlord.
Ex-con Jensen Ames is forced by the warden of a notorious prison to compete in our post-industrial world's most popular sport: a car race in which inmates must brutalize and kill one another on the road to victory.
A lone man, recently released from prison, seeks out the people from his past who he believes betrayed him. While he forces each to atone for their sins, he must also face what meting out vengeance will do to his immortal soul. Meanwhile, he's not the only one looking to settle old scores. Hired by the man responsible for the events which lead him to prison, an eccentric contract killer follows his every move. Scenes of them crossing paths, sometimes violently, are interspersed with the assassin's self-realizations of how to deal with struggles within his own life. As if old enemies & hired guns aren't enough, a young female detective begrudgingly works alongside a veteran investigator looking to simply survive his last two weeks on the force before retirement, as they seek out the brazen ex-con who has been blazing a path of gasoline-powered destruction in his vintage Chevelle. Written by
My 369th Review: One Of The Better Films About Vengeance (Not Revenge) In A Long Time
I went expecting a basic action film. I did not get it.
What we got was a man's movie - and in this reviewer's opinion one of the best in recent memory.
This it is not yet another film about revenge - it is a film about vengeance, and that's another animal entirely. If the true essence of great story-telling and myth is that it takes us on a journey that is on the surface almost simplistic, but leaves the audience more by the end; then Faster succeeds and succeeds way beyond expectations.
In side-stepping the current vogue for mindless action it does hark back to the 70s - and the look and feel are very true to those roots. Finally, we might be leaving aside the lowbrow sarcastic sadism that has ruled action films for a decade now and getting to action film that engages rather than kills to entertain.
Director George Tillman keeps the speech sparse and the direction too. While the film overhypes the testosterone levels through the hardware and the subplots there is an overall spareness to this that lifts the film. Finally, it doesn't establish that there may be a world beyond vengeance too soon. In the dialog between a truly excellent Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Johnson the film goes from one level to another entirely. For this reviewer, the Gaytons have written in that exchange one of the most iconic scenes on film in recent memory. And if this sounds like raving, then it is because it deserves it: brilliant writing and stone-hard action combine to give the audience an experience to remember.
This is a film that needed a star to really work, and in Dwayne Johnson it has found one. He creates a character that is the closest I've seen to the uncompromising spirit of Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven and Dirty Harry in quite a while. Here, there is genuine steel in the eye. This is tough without the token quips and ironic smiles. This is tough, mean tough, gutsy, down to business, get the job done, film-making for men, tough.
Without a doubt a man's film - and one of the best in recent memory - and while Johnson's clowning may have been a strength in some previous films the uncompromising hardness he shows here has the potential to make him a real A-lister.
Go be surprised as we were.
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