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July 7, 2011
Faster Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
27/1/20118/7/2011Sony PicturesGeorge Tillman Jr.
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MA15+Dwayne Johnson

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Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars in Faster (2010).

Earlier this year we saw the brilliant Fast Five which continues the Vin Diesel/Paul Walker starring car franchise. One new addition to the fifth movie was Dwayne Johnson who happened to also release Faster earlier this year. While we never saw this film at the cinemas the feeling from trailers was this was another car chase style movie, but the truth is somewhat different. While there are plenty of fast cars in this mvoie, the plot is actually quite different.

An ex-con (Dwayne Johnson) sets out to avenge his brother's death after they were double-crossed during a heist years ago. During his campaign, however, he's tracked by a veteran cop (Billy Bob Thornton) and an egocentric hit man known only as Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen).

Ever since his ealiest movies Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been an actor I've enjoyed watching. His screen presence is magical and despite a couple of family films is a genuine action star. Faster sees his first action role for a couple of years, and it's a great return to form with a character that will have you in two minds - can you like such a cold-blooded killer?

For some reason Billy Bob Thornton isn't an actor who I generally like. He's never done anything that I hated - well, actually, Bad Santa is a movie I despise - but he never stands out. Faster has changed my perception a little bit as I actually think he steals the scenes in which he appears.

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Billy Bob Thornton is brilliant in Faster.
Faster is an interesting movie in that the guy you're rooting for, is also a ruthless killer. It certainly leaves you in two minds, but perhaps that's also the charm of the movie - these characters aren't clean-cut good guys or bad guys. An interesting, almost old-school, styled action movie worth checking out on Blu-Ray.

Faster is presented on Blu-Ray in the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and the image is as pristine as one would expect for a film released in cinemas only a few months ago. Encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec this is a very solid looking movie indeed with a slightly warm tone to the image. With a bitrate that often hovers around 25Mbps the image always looks impressive with fantastic levels of fine detail and detail that remains in the darker scenes.

As with most Blu-Ray discs these days Faster is presented with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (24-bit/48Khz) track and given the action packed nature of the film it really gives your surround sound setup a workout be it from the cars squealing, or the gunshots, or right down to the ambient effects.

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Faster is a decent action movie now out on Blu-Ray.
Other audio tracks include an English Audio Descriptive Service in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640kbps, Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 as well as Thai and Catalan Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks also encoded at 640kbps. While the Spanish lossless track matches the English track for audio quality the other lossy tracks loose some fidelity as expected. Subtitles are provided in English, English SDH, Spanish, Thai, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian and Swedish. We sampled the English subtitles which were accurate to the spoken dialogue with only very minor alterations to shorten the text.

Faster is presented on Blu-Ray with a smattering of extras. This is what you can expect on the disc besides the feature film...

Alternate Ending with Director's Introduction (12:42/HD): After a lengthy introduction we have what must be one of the lengthiest alternate endings which runs for around 11 minutes in total. Without spoilers this alternate ending is a much more "Hollywood" action packed ending, but ultimately what's in the final film is probably my preference as well. This scene is only presented with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio at 192kbps which is a bit weak, but the video is impressive.

Deleted Scenes (10:50/HD): Five deleted scenes are presented here of varying quality and which include "Cop & Marina Outside Safe House", "Killer Takes a Picture", "Lily Helps Killer", "Cop Takes Car of Marina" and "Marina & Lily".

Criminals & Cops: The Cast of Faster (12:12/HD): Cast and crew talk about other cast and crew in the movie which is a bit EPK-ish but there's some interesting stuff here too.

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Carla Gugino as Cicero om Faster.
Weapons & Wheels: The Guns, Cars and Stunts of Faster (11:54/HD): This extra looks at, well, the guns, cars and stunts in the film. There's some decent on-set footage here and this is probably the most interesting extra on the disc.

Animatics (12:22/HD): Four animatic sequences ("Bank Heist", "Old Man", "Hospital" and "Joust") are presented here and they are pretty good quality overall with some being 2D drawings, some almost rough 3D renders, some with visual effects, with light music and temp speech included too. Actually quite impressive.

Trailer (1:19/HD): Not very exciting with Sony simply putting on a Blu-Ray promotional trailer for several of their titles. No individual trailers.

MovieIQ (HD): MovieIQ is available on this Blu-Ray and provides up to date details on actors and music in each of the scenes. We're still not completely sold on this item on Blu-Ray discs - especially as it requires a download from the Internet - but some may find it useful.

We certainly can't proclaim Faster to be a great movie, but it's unique in that the person you are rooting for is pretty much blowing everyone away almost Terminator style. The audio visual presentation is pretty impressive and there are a few extras to spend your time on as well. Worth a look if you're a fan of Dwayne Johnson.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Sony Pictures. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.