The Driver (Dwayne Johnson a.k.a. The Rock) has just been released from prison, years after a botched heist in which he was double-crossed and his brother was murdered. Right from the opening scene, he’s got just one thing on his mind: Vengeance. He’s got a hit list, and he calmly, single-mindedly and cleanly does away with each and every one on it.
The Driver is one cold-blooded killing machine, and his job is almost too easy. Almost, because the mastermind behind the heist is still out there and he’s hired The Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), a very easily bored, beautiful and wealthy genius to whom extreme challenges are cheap thrills, to, well, kill The Driver. Indeed, most of the action happens when The Killer steps in, giving us the requisite shootouts and car chases. Meanwhile, The Cop (Billy Bob Thornton), corrupt and just days away from retirement, takes on the task of stopping The Driver before he ticks off everyone on his list.
With great acting from all of the cast, the character development of The Driver, The Killer and The Cop as the movie progresses is impeccable, each with back stories that make you sympathize with all of them despite all their flaws. It’s satisfying seeing The Driver seek his vengeance; instead of detesting The Killer, you’ll find him rather amusing and likeable; and you’ll just feel for The Cop who, while certainly no good-cop in his time, simply looks forward to retirement and a fresh start with his family. And at the end, you could find yourself regretting having a soft spot for any one of them.
Faster is Tarantino-like in many ways. The simple way the three main characters are introduced—very Inglourious Basterds. The grainy cinematography, the flow from scene to scene, the music, the whodunit plot—very Reservoir Dogs. It’s also a cold-blooded vengeance flick like Kill Bill, only without as much bloodshed and action; for a movie that touts itself as an action flick, there isn’t much action at all. And yes, it contains a Mexican standoff, with a buildup so great as to give you action blue balls at the end.