It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"Faster" is a pure thriller, all blood, no frills, in which a lot of people get shot, mostly in the head. Rotate the plot, change the period, spruce up the dialogue, and this could have been a hard-boiled 1940s noir. But it doesn't pause for fine touches and efficiently delivers action for an audience that likes one-course meals.
Dwayne Johnson stars in the kind of role he's possibly been avoiding up until now. Once known as The Rock, he has developed a kinder, gentler screen persona that more closely fits him in real life. It's a melancholy fact of Hollywood today that “Faster” could be a good career move, sending him on the trail blazed by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. Johnson has very broad shoulders and wicked tattoos, and a gun seems to grow from his hand.
As the film opens, he's being released from prison after a 10-year term. He walks out the gate into a desert wilderness and begins to run — run — to a nearby city, where a circa 1970 Chevelle is waiting for him in a junkyard. This is because modern cars all look boring, and most action heroes drive classics. He whips off the tarp and peels outta there. A private eye gives him a list of names, and he sets out to murder everyone on the list.
His character is named Driver. A clue to this, and the title, is that he invariably drives at the top possible speed, and obviously never took driver's ed in high school, because he doesn't know how to turn around and drive in the other direction except by slamming on the brakes, twisting the wheel and whipping through 180 degrees.