Driver (Dwayne Johnson) has just been released from jail and he wants revenge. Ten years prior to his release he was a part of a successful bank heist, but after the heist he and his cohorts were ambushed by a group of people and they killed his younger brother. Driver is now out for revenge and is on a path to murdering everyone who had a hand in what went wrong that day ten years ago and he’s wasting no time getting that done.
First of all I’d like to take a moment to breathe, since this movie never did. I’d like to take a moment to realise that at no point during this movie do they even give us the name of Dwayne Johnson’s character. It’s only now that I’m staring at the IMDB page that I see that he’s just called Driver, and the same applies for most of the main characters: Cop (Billy Bob Thorton) and Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). This is not a good sign. This movie at no point stops to think about what it’s doing, it just prefers to make you realise that like Driver you’ve had ten years sitting a prison cell by yourself to contemplate what we’re about to sit through and we know what repercussions we have to look forward to for buying this ticket.
I’ve complained bitterly over the years as to how Johnson – formerly known as The Rock the famed wrestler – has been wasting his talents on lacklustre children films (i.e. Tooth Fairy, The Game Plan and Race to Witch Mountain) and was really excited when I first saw the teaser to this movie. For the fact that he finally found way back into an action packed movie made me happy. This however is one of those movies that just do not work at all.
The premise is like any other great revenge movie; someone feels wronged and he’s out to get satisfaction. There’s no question in his mind as to what depths he’s sunk to and he’s just out to give a proverbial spanking to all these people who did this to him and he doesn’t care what happens to his soul. Somewhere towards the end of the film we insert a really stupid character introduction that was telegraphed from the moment that character was introduced into this weirdly stupid role related titling thing.
The biggest problem is that the movie never gives you enough time to deal with the drama of what’s going through the head of our main character. The film just goes ‘faster’ and ‘faster’ and never stops going. This has worked in other movies but this one just happens to run out of steam somewhere near the second kill and I felt like I woke up from a dream and felt the need to start asking some questions that the movie didn’t want to address. The ridiculousness of the Killer and his girlfriend Lily (Maggie Grace) did help me just start to laugh at the movie, but in the end it’s to the films detriment rather than its redemption.
This movie is really one of those movies which we’ve seen from the 80s and 70s which we laugh at because of how seriously it takes the topic but never follows through. I’m sure in a decade or so I’ll be able to view this movie with the eyes that people now look at movies like Troll 2 and laugh at it a lot more than I did this time around, but for now I just find it sad as opposed to funny.
IMDB says 7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes says 43%
I say 1.5/10