Unstoppable – DVD Review
By Jeff Swindoll Feb 23, 2011, 14:22 GMT
Loosely inspired by real events, a young conductor jumps into a locomotive with an experienced engineer in chase of a runaway train that carries a cargo of toxic chemicals. ...more
Director Tony Scott steps aboard a train and then lets it go out of control in this nail biter based on a real incident. I can’t say that I approved of the “nausea” cam but it was an exciting ride handled by experienced conductors.
A train is sitting on the wrong tracks and two railway workers (Ethan Suplee and T.J. Miller) are tasked with moving it out of the way. It’s only going a short distance so the air brakes are disconnected, but when the driver unadvisedly jumps off the train to switch tracks the train jumps into throttle and he’s not able to get back on the train.
The train, under full power, is now a runaway and continues down the track at full speed without any way to stop it. Yardmaster Connie Hooper (Rosario Dawson) discovers that the runaway train contains hazardous chemicals and the end of the line contains a curved track that will have it derail in a big city causing much death and destruction. She wants to derail the train in unoccupied farmland but the vice-president (Kevin Dunn) of the rail company overrides her idea.
Will Colson (Chris Pine) is in the midst of a court case with his wife (Jessy Schram) and has been kicked out of his house so his day isn’t off to a great start. He’s a newly hired conductor and is partnering up with veteran engineer Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington). The two are hauling cargo on the same track that the runaway is rapidly approaching them on.
They barely escape colliding but then decide that they will chase down the runaway with their train, couple it to the back of the out of control train, and then slow it down to avoid the destruction of the town at the end of the line. Sounds easy right?
Unstoppable is a white knuckle thrill ride that, just like the train in question, gains momentum as the film goes along. The film pulls its inspiration from a real life incident but I’m sure it has been gussied up for the big screen. Tony Scott certainly employs many camera techniques to take you into the action.
I dubbed it the nausea cam as in several scenes we rotate around the train or the characters talking and I felt a bit woozy. I probably could’ve done without that, but the film is a great one to get caught up in and go along for the ride. Scott has worked with Denzel before and he is the voice of wisdom to Pine’s troubled newbie.
Both Washington and Pine have a working man’s sheen, Denzel fits a bit better, but step into hero mode with ease. Especially since the corporate brains in the rail yard muff it so badly and it is up to the “little people” to avert disaster. I was pretty sure of the film’s outcome but it is done in such a thrilling manner that I found myself on the edge of my seat.
Unstoppable is presented in widescreen (2.40:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Special features start with a commentary from director Tony Scott, a second commentary details the script meetings, and finally there’s a 29 minute making of featurette.
Unstoppable is a thrill ride in the popcorn movie variety. It’s helped by some old pros both in front of the camera and behind it so pop the corn, put on your engineer’s hat, and enjoy.
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FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CChris Pine Biography -
Chris Pine Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesDenzel Washington Biography -
Denzel Washington Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesRosario Dawson Biography -
Rosario Dawson Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesTony Scott Biography -
Tony Scott Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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