The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 98 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Carla Gugino, Maggie Grace, Moon Bloodgood, Tom Berenger
Directed by: George Tillman Jr.
Music by: Clint Mansell
Written by: Tony Gayton & Joe Gayton
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 1, 2011
"Justice is swift. Vengeance is Faster."
After 10 years in prison, Driver (Dwayne Johnson) has focused on one thing – hunting down the people responsible for brutally murdering his brother. Now a free man with a terrifying purpose, he sets out to find and kill all those on his list. But on his heels are two men who will do anything to stop him – a veteran cop (Billy Bob Thornton) and a hitman (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) who finds his match in this worthy opponent. Now, the hunter is also the hunted.
I like Dwayne Johnson and looked forward to his return to the action genre with the release of Faster. Reading the synopsis for this film one would think that it is a straight forward action flick with a revenge theme that calls for plenty of butt kicking. It certainly has its share of blood letting and gunplay however it gets bogged down with subplots and melodrama that not only divert focus but aren’t properly fleshed out. The central premise revolves around Johnson’s unnamed character that spends ten years in prison after getting pinched as part of a bank robbery team that included his brother. They were setup and robbed after the score by a group of men who murdered his brother and left him/them for dead. Upon his release from prison he has a plan in place to exact revenge of those responsible for killing his brother. In them meantime there are two smaller plots running simultaneously. One involving a hitman that is hired by one of the men being hunted down by Johnson (in the hopes ot killing him before he finds him) and the other around a burned out detective (Thornton) who becomes involved in the investigation of Johnson’s murderous rampage.
The action based elements are decent, and the vehicles/guns/stunts are equally fun and exciting however the diluted script places too much emphasis on the relationship/familial drama involving Thornton’s character, the snippets of Johnson’s painful past (more drama), and the obsessive disorders of the hitman. The good thing is that watered down or not there is enough substance to make this one worth watching. This is primarily due to the darkly charismatic performance by Dwayne Johnson in the lead and a decent turn by Oliver Jackson-Cohen as the sociopathic hitman. I generally like Billy Bob Thornton but felt that he added little to his character or the film. As a Carla Gugino fan I must protest at the skimpy and insignificant role she was given, what a waste. Also be careful not to blink or you’ll miss cameos by Tom Berenger, Mike Epps and Jennifer Carpenter. When all is said and done Faster makes for a fairly entertaining popcorn flick that is made better by a sterling presentation on Blu-ray.
The rating is for strong violence, some drug use and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Faster comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.7 Mbps.
This video presentation has a filmic quality that doesn’t lend itself to bright, high gloss imagery, and the color palette isn’t a diverse which and sticks primarily to de-saturated neutral tones that render a cooler appearance that mates well with the subject matter. Flesh tones fit right in with the visual style of the video and offer little in the way of complexional variation. Contrast is spot on and black levels range from punchy to elevated which washes some scenes out. The film uses lots of low light interior and exterior scenes. Detail in backgrounds and staggered lighting is revealing of varying levels of delineation that can be scene dependent. Resolution is stable with appreciable fine rendering during close ups and less definitive long range visuals that offered two dimensional depth.
The is a rip roaring DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack that features crystal clear dialogue, powerful dynamics and a subtly aggressive and involving surround sound mix. I was impressed with the implementation of both spacial dimension and discrete directional sounds that created a realistic and occasionally immersive listening environment. This worked hand in hand with film’s music, and thematic elements to build tension and help drive (pun intended) the story. The growl of the Chevy Chevelle’s 8 cylinders and punch of the snub nose, bear killing, revolver carried by Dwayne Johnson hits hard and sounds awesome. Be sure to turn this one up when the action kicks in.
- (HD) 11 minute alternate ending with director‘s introduction
- (HD) 5 deleted scenes with director introduction
- (HD) Criminals and cops: The cast of Faster - 12 minute featurette
- (HD) Weapons and wheels: The guns, cars, and stunts of Faster - 12 minute featurette
- (HD) Animatics for four sequences
- Movie IQ
- BD-Live enabled
Faster is an action based film that unsuccessfully merges genre lines but manages to satisfy nonetheless thanks to well executed stunts and the charisma and tough guy finesse of star Dwayne Johnson. It roars onto Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring finely tuned high definition video and reference quality DTS-HD Master sound. The above average compliment of bonus supplements includes several production featurettes, Movie IQ, a handful of deleted scenes and an 11 minute alternate ending that is worth checking out. This isn’t cinematic art but its great mindless entertainment that is easily worth the cost of a rental. Enjoy.
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