Denzel Washington is after a runaway train, and no one can stop it! Oh yeah, and Captain Kirk is there too. That pretty much sums up the advertising for Unstoppable, which has been incredibly and unnecessarily oversold. Do you really think they can’t stop a train? It sounds like something a producer from the 90’s would have pitched, right after the success of Speed and Speed 2: Cruise Control. Luckily for us Tony Scott is directing and the cast is great.
The film is based loosely on a real-life 2001 runaway train incident that had an ending similar to the film, although not as dramatic. And dramatic is what Scott excels at. Watch the first five minutes of Top Gun and you’ll have to finish it, no matter how many times you’ve seen it before. Unstoppable has that same level of excitement and fun, and a few great dramatic moments as well. That being said there are several unbelievable moments in the film, mainly due to the speed that the train is supposed to be traveling (upwards of 80 mph) not ringing true to what you see on screen (much much slower than 80 mph). These flaws are overcome due to strong casting. Rosario Dawson does a fantastic job playing the yard master Connie, who puts her job on the line to help Denzel’s character Frank as he tries to stop the imminent disaster. Washington performance is solid as always. It’s Chris Pine that once again surprises, after playing Kirk so well in Star Trek, as Will, Frank’s sidekick.
This is one of those movies that should be far worse than it is. Scott and crew obviously spent some time getting the cast just right, if not then they really lucked out. Everyone is cast perfectly for their role, a clear example of this is Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl, American History X), who plays a railway employee that inadvertently sets the runaway train in motion and isn’t quite light enough on his feet to stop it. We haven’t been blessed with a lot of fun and good movies this year, Unstoppable delivers — worth checking out.
Director: Tony Scott
Stars: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson, Ethan Suplee
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