A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this revenge-focused action drama -- which stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson -- has lots of guns and shooting, stabbing, slicing, and blood ... much of which happens without any consequences. Language is infrequent but strong ("f--k" and "s--t"). A supporting character has a heroin problem, and viewers see him buying and shooting drugs (as well as one other character shooting drugs). A teen girl is given a date rape drug, but she's rescued before anything violent happens. An even younger girl is briefly in danger, caught in the middle of a shootout, but she's also rescued. There's also a bit of mild sensuality.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
A man known only as "Driver" (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) is released from prison and immediately embarks upon a revenge plan: He wants to kill everyone responsible for the death of his brother, which happened after a botched bank job 10 years earlier. Driver's first few targets are dispatched quickly and easily, but he starts doubting himself when he begins to understand how his intended victims have redeemed themselves. Meanwhile, a drug-addicted cop (Billy Bob Thornton), a homicide detective (Carla Gugino), and a slick, good-looking hit man (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) are all after him. Who will survive when these characters inevitably collide?
Is it any good?
Directed by George Tillman Jr., FASTER may look like another brain-dead action picture, but it's surprisingly thoughtful and emotionally effective. There are no clear "good guys" and "bad guys"; instead, the story paints the main characters -- an ex-con bent on revenge, a drug-addled cop, and a slick, successful hit man -- in intriguing shades of gray. Each gets an interesting and affecting history that fleshes him out. Only Gugino is shorted in the character department, but she makes up for it in attitude.
It follows that the performances are very strong, with Johnson getting by on sheer, wounded presence (and very little dialogue). Over the course of the story, the movie begins to wrestle with fascinating themes of forgiveness, family, and even spirituality. Only the last few minutes fall a little short, mainly because of an obvious effort to provide a satisfying Hollywood ending. Until then, it's quite good. You'll believe a "Rock" can cry.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the film's violence. How did it affect you? When was it thrilling, and when was it scary or disturbing? What's the difference between these kinds of scenes?
The Rock's character is shown to have survived a troubled childhood, as have many of the other characters. Have they overcome their troubles?
Is Billy Bob Thornton's character a good person or a bad person? Do you think he has a chance at redemption?
- In theaters: November 24, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: March 1, 2011
- Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Carla Gugino, Dwayne The Rock Johnson
- Director: George Tillman Jr.
- Studio: CBS Films
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence, some drug use and language
- Last updated: May 5, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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