Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Directed by Tony Scott.
2010. Rated PG-13, 98 minutes.
Denzel Washington
Chris Pine
Rosario Dawson
Kevin Dunn
Ethan Suplee
Kevin Corrigan
Lew Temple
Jessy Schram
Dylan Bruce

It’s Will Colson’s (Pine) first day on the job with the railroad company. He’s assigned to train under the tutelage of Frank Barnes (Washington). Barnes and the other vets are more than a little ticked they’re all being phased out in favor of youngsters like Colson. Will gets a double-dose of hateration because he’s got some family connections with the company. However, these two guys are just a subplot.

Our primary tale is about train 777, or Triple 7 as it’s sometimes called. It begins with a bumbling idiot simply failing at his job. Suffice it to say, the train gets away from him. Of course, it slips into the full throttle position. This means the unmanned locomotive with enough cars to be “the size of the Chrysler Building” is barreling down the tracks at 70+ miles per hour. As if that weren’t bad enough, many of the cars contain toxic and presumably highly flammable and combustible materials. If the train reaches the heavily populated Stanton it’s sure to fly off the tracks due to it going way too fast to make it through the elevated curve that has a speed limit of 15 mph. Attempts to stop this particularly dangerous runaway ensue.

To both the movie’s credit and detriment, it remains just that simple. We get to know a bit about the personal problems of our heroes, Frank and Will. There’s also the back and between Connie (Dawson), who runs the railroad and her boss back at HQ, Galvin (Dunn), but that’s all about the train. This makes Unstoppable remarkably free of clutter and effective at being exactly what it wants to be: a popcorn flick featuring a train.

However, since it is so committed to the action, we never really meet the loved ones of our heroes that we hear so much about and see so much of. Throughout the film, there are plenty of shots of them and they get a few lines here and there, but that’s it. They qualify as characters only in the strictest sense of the word.

Between scenes of our train raging out of control, the dialogue is surprisingly solid for a popcorn movie. It’s not terribly original, but the actors give it plenty of life. Pine and Washington play off one another well with Denzel playing the sort of wise old man usually portrayed by Morgan Freeman. Rosario Dawson turns in a stock performance. Since average for her is better than most, there are no problems there.

Unstoppable is a solid action flick that manages not to do anything egregiously wrong. Well, if you’re even remotely paying attention you should be able to spot one major movie gaffe (unless I saw it wrong). Other than that, it rather efficiently goes about its business. It’s a nice diversion of a movie, but nothing earth-shatteringly special.

MY SCORE: 6.5/10

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