Johnson may have fallen victim to bad direction or an innately dull character, but his is an appalling main protagonist.
Faster is in essence a modern era spaghetti western-style revenge movie set in Bakersfield with three main characters: the enigmatic, Neolithic and monosyllabic Driver (Dwayne Johnson), the heroin addled and unshaved Cop (Billy Bob Thornton) and the psychotically competitive and very English Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen).
Having been double crossed having robbed a bank Driver was shot in the head and presumed dead, but his balls were too big for death, so he came back to life and has a metal plate at the back of his head. Ten difficult years in jail mean he's now pacing his prison room, impatiently waiting to be released to exact justice on those who did him wrong.
Killer is hired anonymously to kill Driver which becomes less like a job and more like an extremely competitive sport. Cop is assigned to bring down Driver as he moves from point to point murdering all of those involved in his attempted murder, despite the fact he is days away from retirement.
Johnson may have fallen victim to bad direction or an innately dull character, or he could just be a terrible actor; but all the same Driver is an appalling main protagonist. He has, at most, about 12 lines in the whole film. It’s clear that the Gayton brothers weren’t looking to stimulate the high-brow audiences with this venture but all they really seem to have done is take a heavily diluted version of 'The Rock' and inject him into a ludicrous story with a bull at a gatepost narrative.
The edgy 'Woah, upside down!' camera angles, muscle cars and enormous guns don’t camouflage how blocky and cumbersome the story and it’s characters are. Their pixels are on show, as if the Gayton’s imaginations only really operate in eight-bit.
Billy Bob Thornton is okay, although really it’s a stock role: he smokes a lot and has a failing marriage, he hasn’t shaved in weeks, etc... The strangest choice is Jackson-Cohen who somehow appears to be punching above his weight. His charming Englishman-cum-murderous psychopath part doesn’t really fit anywhere; it’s overplayed and underdeveloped.
'The Rock' does spaghetti western-style revenge thriller.
Fun, in a dribbling, predictable way.
Johnson has just hit rock bottom.