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CBS Films is turning out to be one of the most unreliable production companies around. Founded in 2007, CBS Films has had a slow start with the release of only three movies, but when your best is basically a made-for-TV movie, and a bad one at that, there is some cause for concern. After Extraordinary Measures and the excruciating The Back-up Plan, one would think they could take a step forward with the hard R rated, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson led Faster, but such is not the case.

Johnson plays a man known only as Driver who is about to be released from prison after serving 10 years. His first order of business: kill those responsible for the death of his brother years before. But to do so, he’ll have to avoid a killer called Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and a junkie cop named…Cop (Billy Bob Thornton). The characters are so one-dimensional that they aren’t even given proper names.

Dwayne Johnson is built for this type of role. He has the makings of the next big action star, but he has relegated himself in recent years to nonsense kiddy fare, like Tooth Fairy and last year’s Race to Witch Mountain. In theory, this is exactly what he should be doing, but he’s stuck in a movie that doesn’t allow him to shine. Johnson, through roles in films like The Other Guys and Get Smart, has shown that he can bring the charm along with his impressive physique, but Faster keeps him from saying much of anything at all. He is quiet for the majority of the movie, limited to scowls and blank stares.

That demeanor is suitable in this genre, but the action is so bland, so boring and so weak that it isn’t of much use. Driver has five names on his hit list, but each encounter is more boring than the last. Three of his victims he simply walks up to and shoots in the head. The fourth turns out to be already dead. And the fifth he forgives, but not before having a good cry first. What a tough guy.

The action hits its creative peak during a car chase where Driver is swerving his way through traffic backwards and even that isn’t all that exciting. Faster is played out. It’s derivative and predictable, with a final twist that can be seen coming from the moment the film begins, and it doesn’t have enough material to cover its short 95 minute runtime. Instead of focusing on Driver, it dwells on idiotic side plots where Cop wants to set his life back on track, get off the dope and move back in with his family. It even gives Killer a personality, showing him at his weakest, struggling with his assassin lifestyle and wanting a simpler life, wishing to get married and start a family. Who cares? Faster is as impotent a revenge picture as has ever been produced.

Where’s the excitement? Where’s the vigor? Where’s the fun? You’ll find none of that here. It’s difficult to mess up a movie with as simple a premise as this. All you need is guns, blood and maybe an explosion or two, but Faster misses the target by a mile.

Faster receives 1/5

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