This shit about to get zero G.
Like The Mechanic, Faster is a throwback to a simple time. When all revenge movies needed was an alpha male star, a hefty body count and guns. Lots of guns. But in a way the tone of it goes even further back, almost to an early 70's type of revenge movie that may have starred Lee Marvin or Charles Bronson. It's pleasingly sincere, and makes an honest attempt to inject some character into the mix, going so far is to almost remove humor from the equation entirely, not allowing Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson his trademark grin nor Billy Bob Thornton is trademark assholisms. It may not always be a plus when something playing in such cliched territory is so insistingly self-serious, but for the most part I dug that aspect of it, and while Fasteris probably a bad movie, its an earnest one and that earns it some points.
The story is almost irrelevant, The Rock is out to avenge his brother and goes through no names one by one, Billy Bob Thornton is the cop on his trail, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen is a hit-man hired to '86 our anti-hero. Cohen's character is probably the most interesting on the page, even if his presence doesn't really make a whole lot of sense within the narrative, a handicapped nerd who sets about beating each challenge life sets him, with the latest task being professional killing, having conquered yoga and the stock-market. Unfortunately Cohen is wooden as the fences, cast for his looks rather then his talent, and it shows. Thornton, who is probably much less appreciated then he should be, gives a good performance in what is probably the most cliched role of the bunch. The Rock isn't at his best, stuttering his very few lines and while certainly looking the part, probably works much better as a charming presence then an intense one. In truth the film is probably stolen in a five minute cameo by Adewale Akkinoye Agbaje, AKA Lost's Mr Eko. Delivering a much more powerful performance then this movie deserves.
Faster's approach is to be pretend its the first revenge movie ever made, one that doesn't linger on logic or specificity, and these things are both a strength and a weakness. A strength in that it doesn't undercut the stakes, melodramatic and crass as they may be, a weakness in that being well-meaning doesn't make you no longer dense, and Faster is a vapid movie, charging through everything, erratically and without consideration so when it comes to its pensive final act, it feels a bit off. Having said that though, I did enjoy this movie. Perhaps pretending it has no predecessors has its benefits, because it makes it hard to hate so naive is it about everything. An action movie that feels almost quaint.