A MODERN-DAY WESTERN that owes so much to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly that its trio of characters are introduced only as the Driver, the Killer, and the Cop (and the Killer has an Ennio Morricone ringtone!), Faster is... well, kind of fantastic. Wearing its inspirations proudly on its dusty sleeve, Faster's built like a low-budget '70s revenge flick. In shades of burnished gold and copper, the action plays out: A former getaway driver (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) gets out of prison and promptly peels out in his Chevelle SS, ready to kill the bastards who double-crossed him. So tough that he sports the wounds from a bullet going through the back of his head and out his cheek, he metes out his justice in bloody slow motion. Meanwhile, both a junkie cop only a few days away from retirement (Billy Bob Thornton) and a calculating, remorseless assassin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) try to track him down.
The Rock, awesome as always, righteously glowers through these grimy proceedings (except, natch, when he cries a single tear); while everything in Faster swells with testosterone and melodrama, director George Tillman Jr. and writers Tony and Joe Gayton walk a fine line. Aware enough of Faster's time-honored clichés to cash in on 'em, the filmmakers and actors are still deft enough to keep things from veering into parody. It's about as solid of a straightforward genre flick as we can expect these days—which means you should totally go see it, loudly cheering both when the Rock sates his bloodlust and when he lets out that one lonesome tear.