Faster

A revenge story with redemption. A newly released ex-con, played by Dwayne Johnson, seeks to kill the men who killed his brother, while being tracked by a young assassin and a corrupt cop. It’s a kill by numbers formula that has a unique spiritual twist about forgiveness and redemption.

When the ex-con, Driver, gets to his last guy to kill, he turns out to be someone who became a Christian preacher and is now preaching in a revival tent like environment. When Driver gets him in his sights, the preacher talks about repentance and how he’s atoning for what he’s done with a changed life. But when the preacher is about to be shot dead, he looks the killer in the eye and asks for forgiveness for what he did. He all but accepts his fate as punishment for his actions (this could have been more clear). Driver is confronted for the first time with grace and real redemption that revenge cannot satisfy. Driver decides not to kill the preacher and ends up in the tent before God wondering what repentance means for him.

This movie has all the hallmarks of a “Christian movie” in terms of genre: A preacher telling a sinner to forgive, redemption in a sanctuary while looking up at a cross, hearing a gospel sermon on the radio. The difference is of course that this movie showed the gritty violent reality of revenge, so that when the church redemption occurs, it is not cliché, simply because the one extreme of blood revenge and violent death is countered by the equal extreme of blood atonement and salvation. The redemption is powerful and rings true because the evil is portrayed with clarity. Because Christian movies are too afraid to show sin as it really is, they become cliché ridden formulas of “preaching” that does not ring true like this movie does.

Unfortunately, the movie becomes morally incoherent in the end because, after Driver spares the preacher and survives being killed by the corrupt cop who started it all, Driver still ends up shooting that corrupt cop with revenge rather than pure self-defense. So a contradictory portrait is displayed in perpetuating the very revenge Driver was supposed to be redeemed from. A bit unsatisfying ending.

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