Reviewed by: Eric Bell
REVENGE—Love replaces hatred—former israeli soldier and an ex-PLO fighter prove peace is possible-but only with Jesus
|Featuring:||Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Driver), Carla Gugino,Maggie Grace, Moon Bloodgood, Billy Bob Thornton (Cop), Mike Epps (Grone), Jennifer Carpenter, Tom Berenger, more »|
|Director:||George Tillman Jr.—”Notorious” (2009)|
|Producer:||CBS Films, Castle Rock Entertainment, State Street Pictures, TriStar Pictures, more »|
“Slow justice is no justice.”
For an action movie with an R rating, “Faster” actually has a deep enough plot to keep you thinking and questioning what you think you know right up to the climax. But be forewarned, if you can’t stomach several graphic execution-style murders, repeated drug use and several unsavory scenes of women dressed in nothing more than skimpy bikinis or underwear, then this movie is not for you.
“Driver” (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is released from a 10 year stint in prison. His time there was dark and traumatic. He exits a man with a vengeful heart and a vendetta to complete. There is nothing good about this man, and, as the story unfolds, we find that he has garnered quite a reputation as an exactor of retribution. No one on the outside who knows his reputation wants to engage this man and his lethal lifestyle.
But his story draws us in. Despite Driver’s merciless and implacable execution of reparation, his story tugs at the need we have for justice and the brutality that can be felt for treachery and the loss of loved ones. I couldn’t help but look past the horrible and graphic scenes and feel the anger of losing a brother to cold-hearted betrayers. That loyalty that engages us continues to be rewarded, and, by the end, we are cheering for the bad man and hoping somehow to see good in him. You will have to decide if you can extend any grace yourself, as the betrayers fall and the secret king pin comes closer to being revealed.
“Killer” (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) becomes Drivers’s nemesis. He is an assassin with unbeknownst origination. As he enters the scene, we are given enough details to see that this man, too, is an exactor of punishment. The difference is, Killer is a hired gun with a need for more. His X-Sport lifestyle has brought him to the point in life where killing worthy adversaries without pay is his new “high”. Anticipation rages for Killer, as he begins to find that this new opponent might truly be worth sacrificing it all to take it to completion. Unfortunately, for the viewer, this British model has little to contribute to the strength of the movie and actually takes something away by the end.
“Cop” (Billy Bob Thornton) is a mess. His is to bring Driver to justice. He partners with the preeminent female detective in this jurisdiction. She is intelligent, attractive, put together and, in all ways, opposite of him. In the beginning, we are tempted to have an inkling of pity for Cop, as his life seems so hapless and desperate. This mercy tirelessly trickles away in inches as he continues to reveal one morbid trait after another. By the end, confusion surrounds this irresponsible and aimless legal authority, and we don’t know what to think of him. There is some hope that he will bring Driver to justice before Killer can complete his contract. Thornton does a good job of playing this desolate drug addicted and burnt out cop persona very well. The confusion we have for his character gives a good punch to the revelation of who he really is in the end.
If you are into car chases, then you are in for a couple of good ones. A flashback to the original bank robbery that initiated this whole mess gives us a ride in a mid-sixties GTO. Driver certainly earned his reputation and takes us on an impossible ride without a scratch. Several times, in the contemporary portion, we are treated to highway antics in his ’69 Chevelle SS. I had to cheer once as his American muscle sped away from the European exotic, even though I knew it wasn’t realistic.
I would have a difficult time convincing someone that they “need” to see this movie. The graphic portrayals of execution-style murders is just about more than my stomach could bare. I found myself running on adrenaline at the end, both from the thick plot and the nasty displays of death and wounding. If somehow you can get past that, then you will be faced with multiple scenes of women in scanty clothing. While there are no typical sexual displays, you will get a glimpse of Killer’s beautiful girlfriend barely draped in a bed sheet and, on other occasions, enticingly posed in her lacy underwear. A trip through a “gentleman’s” bar will give you several glimpses of dancers in skimpy underwear posing in provocative manners. Throw in a scene of a cop shooting up drugs and at least one mention of God’s name in vain, and you will put the last nail in the coffin of excuses for a believer to pass on this flic. Surprisingly, the language was very sparse for what one might expect.
That is not to say that having been through it, I couldn’t pick out a variety of lessons to be learned and examples of Biblical truth. From the beginning, the Warden makes mention of the good and evil in mankind. Driver totally ignores this, and so we are lead to believe that there will be no more “moral” premonition for this man. Yet, as Jesus always displays in His unending mercy and in altered lives, we will get to see Driver return to these truths of which he will struggle over. Cop’s ex makes the statement that, “We make our own Heaven and Hell every time we cause pain and suffering.” We don’t create Hell, but we sure can reap the whirlwind of sorrow that goes with bad choices and disobeying the Lord.
On several occasions, Driver hears a radio preacher speaking in his direction. “I want to tell you about forgiveness. The road to revenge is a dead end.” And sure enough it is. God warned that revenge would be His and not ours. Before the movie is up, the son of one of Driver’s victims vows to hunt Driver down in the never ending cycle of revenge that God seeks to spare us from. And while we are never sure if Driver makes any moral or spiritual 180s, he certainly ponders the question of forgiveness and redemption while extending pardon to one of his victims. We are lead to believe that he does grasp onto hope in some small way and ends “the long journey down a dark road” that he warned another about. A very dark movie that ends with this glimmer of light.
Another notable instance that must be considered prior to viewing is a direct referral to sexual predation and pornography. One of Drivers victims is an incurable sexual deviant and displays an act of luring and drugging a new victim. Fortunately the victim never goes beyond the drugged stage before Driver reaps another check on his list of vendettas. Still, the whole portrayal of a sexual predator in action and the innocent victim so easily succumbed is very disturbing to me and probably horrifying to many others.
While the movie had some semblance of a plot and many notable moments (as in the driving scenes and the message of the preacher), I cannot recommend this to any Christian viewer. It is just too disturbing without enough of a benefit of storyline. I cringe to think of Jesus having to watch something like this and would never want my children at any age to have these memories.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Moderate (“G*d*mn”—3, “Oh my G*d”—1, “f” word—1, “s” words—5, *ss—3, h*ll—3, etc.) / Nudity: Heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.