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Dwayne Johnson And Billy Bob Thornton Are "Faster"

Christina Rath |
November 24, 2010 | 3:05 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Photo Courtesy of CBS Films
Photo Courtesy of CBS Films
 “Bigger is always better.”  These were the first words out of Dwayne Johnson’s mouth as he answered questions from the press about his newest film, "Faster." 

While the actor was referencing his own body and the muscle he put on for the film, the idea that bigger is better applies to the entire project as the cast, the car chases, the shootouts, and the overall message of the film is far greater than that of a typical action movie.

In the opening scene, Dwayne Johnson, who plays "Driver," is released from prison after serving a 10 year sentence for his part in a bank robbery which resulted in his brother’s death.  Immediately, Johnson races down a deserted road full of pent up determination where he finds a waiting black Chevelle complete with weapons and a list of names and addresses in the glove box.

As Johnson progresses through the names on his list, the deaths of the seemingly unconnected victims attract the attention of frail heroin-using veteran “Cop,” Billy Bob Thornton, and an assassin known only as “Killer” played by young British actor Oliver Jackson-Cohen.  Completely driven by his goal to avenge his brother’s death, Johnson seems unconcerned that he himself is being followed, but the added pressure definitely presses him to be faster lest his ultimate goal escape him.

While this isn’t a film for the faint of heart, Director George Tillman Jr. ("Soul Food," "Men of Honor") was adamant in showing that violence has its consequences. He said, “Don’t try to glamourize it, don’t try to do what most action films do by extending the beat, extending the conflict.”  Billy Bob Thornton agreed by stating, ”This movie actually shows what prisons create, what murder creates; it shows this sort of perpetual violent string of events this thing creates…If you’re just showing a movie that has violence for violence sake then I don’t believe in that either.”

Although the violence isn’t completely gratuitous, the film is raw with the cinematography creating tense moments where the audience is left guessing as to how the scenarios will play out. The effects of the violence are definitely shown as the camera does not cut away no matter what the outcome.

Touching on the complexity of his character, Johnson says, “I didn’t think of him as a hero nor did I think of him as just a cold blooded killer-- I thought of him as a man who was tortured.” The plot line and characters extend throughout the film leaving a more substantial message and lasting image beyond the moments of violence. It’s up to the audience to decide what actions are justifiable as none of the characters are the obvious heroes.

Oliver Jackson-Cohen will be a force to be reckoned with in the future based upon this relative newcomer’s ability to hold his own in a role anchoring against both Billy Bob Thornton and Dwayne Johnson. While his character didn’t necessarily have the same depth as the other two, he brought a completely unique and necessary element to this film giving the role of an assassin a completely different vibe.

The constant chase and high intensity scenes will keep people interested for the duration of the film, but there is also a resonating message in that from some mistakes you will never be able to recover, but one may only hope to be fast enough to outrun the consequences.

"Faster" opens in theaters Nov. 24.

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