CBS Films, which has been experiencing a difficult reincarnation since it returned from the dead after 20 years last year -- its first two movies, Extraordinary Measures and The Back-up Plan flopped and a third film, Beastly , was yanked from its scheduled release -- is trying again with Faster , this time pinning its hopes on the movie's star, Dwayne Johnson. The studio has cast him in the kind of musclebound role that he easily fit into when the former wrestler was known as "The Rock" -- that is, before producers tried to show his "softer side" in The Tooth Fairy or as the reformed ex-con in Race to Witch Mountain. The movie is getting lousy reviews. Johnson himself is getting pretty good ones. In this one, he's playing a killer seeking revenge for the murder of his brother. "If they gave awards for versatility, surely one would go to Dwayne Johnson," writes Lou Lumenick in the New York Post. "Dwayne Johnson has a presence whose sum is more than the total of his acting parts," says Claudia Puig in USA Today . "It's a simple role with few lines, but Johnson fleshes Driver [his character] out more than expected," comments Gary Dowell in the Dallas Morning News . Too bad that the movie itself appears to be racing straight toward oblivion, several critics suggest. As Mick LaSalle observes in the San Francisco Chronicle "The Rock didn't start calling himself by his actual name, Dwayne Johnson, so he could make Garbage like Faster. This film is a comedown and indicates something is going very wrong in either Johnson's opportunities or his choices. ... The thing is, within his sphere, Johnson can act. ... But watching him in Faster, you could easily think Stone Cold Steve Austin is Olivier in comparison."

25/11/2010