Movie Review: Unstoppable (2010)
Unstoppable, starring Denzel Washington, Rosario Dawson, Chris Pine, and T.J. Miller, is loosely based on the true story of a train gone out of control while coming from an Ohio train station in 2001. Denzel Washington plays an experienced engineer, Frank, alongside a rookie fresh out of training, Will Coalson (Chris “Star Trek” Pine). Connie (Dawson “Seven Pounds”) is an eye-pleasing and always likable train station manager.
Due to a conductor's error, train #777 is pushed into acceleration mode with the air brakes unset and no one on board to stop it. This leads to efforts on the part of a host of law enforcement officials and crisis prevention managers to stop the half-mile-long load of fuels and lethal chemicals before it goes off the rails in the well populated city of Stanton and causes disaster.
Unstoppable has all the spirit needed for a hero's movie based on a true story, but as such, its synthesized feel and artificial drama is evident, never exceeding bare-minimum viewing expectations.
Adrenaline junkies who long to see the carrying out of the resolution of an impending crisis might not notice them as much, but Unstoppable's hammy characters and tiring cutaways to news footage of the event and overdone emotional reactions of loved ones is a bit noticeable to the rest of us, especially towards the end.
What it loses in originality and overall quality it arguably starts to make up for in its simple, straightforward story that will win over large portions of the general viewing audience, particularly with older viewers.
The main objective of the film’s plot – with it’s cold, lifeless void of surprises beyond the internal family and occupational struggles that Frank and Will face – is all we have to chew on. And what it gives us isn’t much more than your average, made-for-TV movie.
Everyone may work together to stop a runaway train, but no one “on board” this film will do much to be interesting or emotionally engaging. Tony Scott, the director who brought us the limp 2009 remake of The Taking of Pelham 123 brings us the exciting, (but regrettably empty) Unstoppable.
Grade: C- (2 stars)
Rated: PG-13 (for moments of intense peril, language, and adult themes)
Director: Tony Scott
Summary: With an unmanned, half-mile-long freight train barreling towards a city, a veteran engineer and a young conductor race against the clock to prevent a catastrophe.
Starring: Denzel Washington "Frank," Chris Pine "Will," Rosario Dawson "Connie," Ethan Suplee "Dewey," Kevin Dunn "Galvin," Kevin Corrigan "Inspector Werner," Kevin Chapman "Bunny," Lew Temple "Ned," T.J. Miller "Gilleece"
Genre: Drama / Thriller