Unstoppable – Review



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A satisfying escape with a shot of adrenaline.

Maybe it’s the war, maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s politics and the current state of the country in general, but action movies have been more silly than serious lately. Take RED for example, the latest action comedy caper packed to the gills with action, gags, and well loved actors. Unstoppable is action in its most raw form, with no room for comedy.

Will Colson (Star Trek‘s Chris Pine) is a young train conductor, fresh out of training. His family is well known in the industry, and veteran conductor Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) is convinced that Will must earn his keep. On one side of the tracks, the two are paired up and set out for the day, Frank showing Will the ropes.

Meanwhile at the train yard at the other end of the tracks, a series of human errors (thanks mostly to Ethan Suplee) causes an unmanned freight train full of hazardous chemicals to begin its unstoppable journey down the tracks, which run through several small towns and will eventually run through the same town that Will and Frank are from.

Will and Frank have plenty to lose; each have families back at home, and something to prove to them. In an amazing true story of heroism, they decide to risk their own lives to stop the hurtling freight train, saving the lives of everyone who lives near the tracks.

Director Tony Scott’s last film The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 also involved a train, and also starred Denzel Washington. But Unstoppable is stripped of any unnecessary elements and focuses clearly on the problem at hand; and it’s a big one. This train rips through the countryside at speeds of up to 70 mph with many obstacles in its path. The film is bite your fingernails off tense from start to finish. In the film’s short 99 minutes, Scott wastes no time.

Rosario Dawson has a memorable supporting role as the yardmaster, determined to stop the freight train despite what corporate (Kevin Dunn, another memorable supporting role) says. By the movie’s climax, Pine and Washington have become a team that begs rooting for.

Instead of over the top action, gags, and visually stunning CGI, Unstoppable is an action movie of the good old days when heroes were ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It’s a fitting movie to be released this Veteran’s Day weekend. Going to the movies is a form of escapism from the current state of the country, and Unstoppable is a satisfying escape with a shot of adrenaline.


Director: Tony Scott
Notable Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson
Writer(s): Mark Bomback

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