Sunday, November 14, 2010

Unstoppable Reivew

Unstoppable certainly took me by storm. I half expected this film to be mediocre at best - a movie rental if you will. However, director Tony Scott, (Deja Vu, Man on Fire, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3) delivered with thunderous applause. It's seriously one wild ride, zooming by in full throttle. It's a terrific, man-on-a-mission adventure, with heroic railroad-men battling to stop an unmanned runaway train. (Cue, Soul Asylum's Run Away Train) And what's even cooler is that this movie is based on true events. Back in Ohio in 2001, a train backing cargo with toxic chemicals and no engineer on board, zigzagged across three counties in Ohio before it was brought to a stop. Why they decided to change the state in the movie to Pennsylvania is beyond me. No biggie though.

It's a difficult thing to craft a movie in which the bad guy is a runaway train.
(Cue, Soul Asylum's Run Away Train) And with that being said, you're unable to put a human face on the antagonist - it's soulless and uncaring... literally. Therefore the main struggle is less personal. However, it somehow works beautifuly.
Will (Chris Pine) is a rookie and Frank (Denzel Washington) is a veteran, and therein lies their derision for one another. Will doesn't like being looked down upon for his inexperience, while Frank is annoyed that the company is bringing on board low-paid, inexperienced workers to replace lifers like him. While these two are in the "getting to know you" phase of their relationship, bad things are happening elsewhere on the main line - a series of mishaps and errors results in an unmanned train and accelerating at an alarming 70 mph. At first, it's thought to be a "coaster" that can be easily overtaken and stopped. However, it doesn't take long for train dispatcher Connie Hooper (Rosario Dawson), to realize the train is not only under power but is rushing into heavily populated areas. And to make matter worse the cargo of this mad runaway train (Cue, Soul Asylum's Run Away Train) is filled with toxic, flammable chemicals. That's where Will and Frank come in. They decide to take the risk and help stop the runaway train (Cue, Soul Asylum's Run Away Train) before it's too late.
I loved the look and feel of this film. The lighting, the colors... all beautiful and rich. Most of Scott's films share that similar hue of color, which at times I really enjoy. He does a great job with the film's momentum too. He avoids spending too much time on the made-up back stories and the main characters interactions. And even without solid character development you manage to love our blue-collar hero's anyway. Unstoppable is about racing to cheat disaster and, for the most part, that's where the filmmakers keep the focus. The goal is to elevate the heart rate and produce a few nail marks. (Goal achieved!)
This 95 minute Hollywood pop-corn thriller (which similarly resembles the 1994 hit thriller Speed) delivers just enough adrenaline to keep the audience on the edge of their seats with anticipation. I was certainly on the edge of mine - never a dull moment, which really surprised me btw. If you're looking for a fun suspenseful thriller, this is definitely your movie.
RATING: B
What did you think?

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