Faster (2010, directed by George Tilllman, Jr.)

A man known as the Driver (played by Dwayne Johnson) is released from prison, having served time for taking part in a bank robbery.  As soon as he gets his freedom, the Driver is jumping in a fast car, driving across Nevada and California, and killing everyone who he believes set him up and murdered his half-brother.  The Driver has even made out list of the people on whom he needs to get revenge.  Among those on the Driver’s list are a nightclub bouncer, a snuff film producer, an traveling evangelist, and one name that the Driver has not bothered to write down.

As the Driver conducts his killing spree, he is pursued by two other men who each have their own reason for wanting to find him.  The Cop (Billy Bob Thornton) is close to retirement and has a heroin addiction.  The Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) is a hit man who views murder as a personal challenge and who plans to marry his girlfriend (Maggie Grace) as soon as he takes care of the Driver.

Today, we take Dwayne Johnson’s superstardom for granted so it’s interesting to go back and watch a movie like Faster, which was made when Johnson was still best known as a wrestler and there were still doubts about whether or not he had the screen presence to carry an entire film on his own.  Though Johnson’s character is the main character and it’s his single-minded quest for revenge that propels the plot, the film spends as much time with the Cop and the Killer as it does with the Driver.  The Driver doesn’t get much dialogue.  Instead, the majority of the Driver’s scenes emphasize Johnson’s physical presence, casting him as the unstoppable hand of fate.  Johnson doesn’t really get to show what he can do as an actor until nearly halfway through the film, when the Driver has an emotional meeting with his mother.  Johnson acquits himself well in the scene but it’s still obvious that the film was made before people realized that Dwayne Johnson really could act.

Seen today, Faster is a relentless and exciting B-movie.  It’s fast-paced and, even if it doesn’t give Johnson a chance to say much, it’s smart enough to surround him with memorable character actors like Billy Bob Thornton, Tom Berenger, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Carla Gugino.  Even without a lot of dialogue, Dwayne Johnson is such an imposing figure and has so much screen presence that he dominates the film in a way that it’s hard to believe that there were ever any doubts about whether or not he could be a film star.  Faster holds up well, as both an action movie and star-making vehicle for Dwayne Johnson.

Song of the Day: Faster (by Within Temptation)

To help usher in the weekend I picked a new “Song of the Day” and this one comes from one metal band I’ve come to really enjoy listening to. The song I picked this time around is “Faster” by the Dutch symphonic/gothic metal band Within Temptation.

First off, this is the second time I’ve picked one of their songs for “Song of the Day.” A previous pick was “A Demon’s Fate” which also came from the same album as today’s pick and also one that was used on one of my favorite AMV in “Devil’s Game.” Just like that previous “Song of the Day” this latest pick of “Faster” was also used in a recent AMV that I had posted a couple months ago called “Fairytale of Lies”Both songs make great use of the fast guitar tempo reminiscent of thrash meta that also makes use of some elements found in symphony orchestras to give the song that epic sound commonly found in power metal, but with a much more hard rock tempo.

“Faster” just takes off and soars from Sharon del Adel’s mezzo-soprano vocals that’s become the staple sound for most symphonic gothic metal bands. Sharon just belts out the lyrics like they’re coming out of the depths of Hell or coming down from the heights of Heaven. She’s not just a pretty face and with both “Faster” and “A Demon’s Fate” she’s proven to be one of the best female metal vocalists out there.


I can’t see, ’cause it’s burning deep inside
Like gasoline, a fire running wild
No more fear ’cause I’m getting closer now
So unreal, but I like it anyhow

I go faster and faster and faster and faster and faster and faster and faster

I can’t live in a fairy tale of lies
And I can’t hide from the feeling ’cause it’s right
And I go faster and faster and faster and faster for life
I can’t live in a fairy tale of lies

I can feel that you mesmerize my heart
I feel so free, I’m alive, I’m breaking out
I won’t give in ’cause I’m proud of all my scars
And I can see I’ve been wasting too much time

I go faster and faster and faster and faster and faster and faster and faster

And I can’t life in a fairy tale of lies
And I can’t hide from the feeling ’cause it’s right
And I go faster and faster and faster and faster for life
I can’t live in a fairy tale of lies

And I can’t live in a fairy tale of lies
And I can’t hide from the feeling ’cause it’s right
And I go faster and faster and faster and faster for life
And I can’t live in a fairy tale of lies

A fairy tale of lies

AMV of the Day: Fairytale of Lies

The latest AMV of the Day comes courtesy of AMV creator Rider4Z. Outside of Chiikaboom, his amv creations have become some of the best I’ve seen and have earned a place on my favorite list.

This time around his latest anime music video takes a song from one of my favorite metal bands and uses it to score a well-edited selection of scenes from the romance-fantasy anime series, Romeo x Juliet. While some fans of the video has nitpicked and pointed out that it spoils the ending to the anime I just laugh at such fools. Fools I say! I mean how can an anime series adapting Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet be spoiling anything.

I like the song choice of Within Temptation’s track “Faster” from their 2011 concept album, The Unforgiving. This is not the first time Rider4Z has used this band’s symphonic metal sound to score one of his videos. Each and everytime he uses this band’s music it just makes those videos very epic in tone and scope. This video has already won some early year accolades. It recently won Best Drama in the Katsucon 2012 AMV contest. I have a feeling this video will be making the rounds at this year’s anime conventions and should pick up a few more awards.

Anime: Romeo x Juliet

Song: “Faster” by Within Temptation

Creator: Rider4Z

Lisa Marie’s Top 26 Films of 2010

Since it’s awards season and all, here’s my personal picks for the 26 top films of 2010.

(This post has been updated since it was originally posted in order to include two films — Somewhere and Easy A — that I saw after making out the list below.)  

1) Black Swan

2) Exit Through The Gift Shop

3) Fish Tank

4) 127 Hours

5) Somewhere

6) Inception

7) Animal Kingdom

8) Winter’s Bone

9) The King’s Speech

10) Never Let Me Go

11) Toy Story 3

12)  The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

13) Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

14) The Last Exorcism

15) Easy A

16) How To Train Your Dragon

17) The Fighter

18) Rabbit Hole

19) A Prophet

20) Let Me In

21) True Grit

22) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

23) City Island

24) Made in Dagenham

25) Kick-Ass

26) Faster

27) Nowhere Boy