Sunday, November 28, 2010


Year: 2010
Director: Tony Scott
Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson, Kevin Dunn

I gotta tell ya, the only thing Tony Scott loves more than trains is his leading man, Denzel Washington.

I mean, another train movie after The Taking Of Pelham 123? And Denzel again? Oh well, I guess it's true: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. If working with Denzel brings in the goods, why change that?

Anyway, their new collaboration Unstoppable takes place in Pennsylvania, where Denzel's character Frank Barnes works as a train engineer. He meets Will Colson (Chris Pine), a rookie conductor who will join him today on his train. The two get off on the wrong foot initially, due to word spreading around that old guys like Frank are being let go in favor of younger guys like Will.

However, there's a bigger problem rearing its head today. A careless train conductor lets his train run off with no brakes and it's barreling down the tracks, destroying anything that comes in its way. Worst of all, it's carrying cars containing hazardous materials and it's headed for a highly populated area. Yardmaster Connie Hooper (Rosario Dawson) tries her best to organize efforts to stop the train but fails. When her suggestion to derail the train falls on the deaf ears of the train's owner (Kevin Dunn), Frank and Will decide to do what they can to stop it instead.

This is officially Scott's fifth collaboration with Denzel, with the latter once again playing the everyman that eventually turns heroic. This time around, Scott sets his film in the blue collar society and how they can get underappreciated by the higher ups, until things like this happen. Although Unstoppable is supposedly based on true events, I doubt it was as dramatic or thrilling as the film makes it out to be. Nevertheless, exaggeration can sometimes be a good thing in the name of entertainment.

As for Scott, he successfully makes this film as kinetic as it can be. It's kinda like Speed on a train, and comparatively, the possibilities are much less interesting. But to his credit, Scott makes it believable, that situations like this are possible in the real world.

Denzel once again brings his indomitable screen presence to the fore. It's almost effortless for this guy to be a likable everyman that saves the day. Chris Pine balances it well as the rookie Will Colson, and manages to hold his own against Denzel. Rosario Dawson also gives good support as Connie, whose verbal sparring with the train owner and her own staff makes for good entertainment.

If there is a drawback to Unstoppable, is the fact that it doesn't have a real villain other than the runaway train, which makes it less thrilling than Scott's other films. But all in all, it's still rather entertaining that will have you cheering for the heroes when the climax comes.

An A- train thriller that is well driven by its cast, Unstoppable is worth its 100 minute screen time. (3.5/5)

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