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Friday, November 12, 2010



You can watch the trailer here

I'm not quite sure when Denzel Washington decided he wanted to be an action star, but his recent history seems to be pushing him in that direction. Sure, it's not Bruce Willis-type action, but he keeps putting himself into these action thrillers that actually end up being pretty good (for the most part). I'm just a little curious about his affinity for trains and train-like vehicles (see: 2009's The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3).

Unstoppable, which was directed by Tony Scott, tells a story that's apparently inspired by true events (but then again, nearly every movie is nowadays). Washington plays Frank, a veteran train engineer who's training a rookie named Will (Chris Pine). On Will's first day, news breaks that an unmanned train is rocketing through the state without any air brakes. Despite a number of attempts to stop the train, it continues to plow towards a heavily populated city. Frank and Will decide to take things into their own hands and chase down the runaway train in an attempt to stop the unstoppable.

Honestly, there's really not much to say about the screenplay. We've got shot after shot of a train barreling down the tracks, and then we cut either to the dispatch headquarters or our leads' train. There are a couple entirely expected twists - there's no way the company's first attempt to stop the train without the help of Frank and Will is actually going to work - so there's nothing really new about all that.

The acting is decent all-around, and it's probably as good as you're going to get in a movie about a runaway train. Washington and Pine lead the cast, but we also get to see some familiar faces in Rosario Dawson, Ethan Suplee and Kevin Dunn. Each plays his or her part well, but it's nothing to rave about.

Still, there's something about the movie that just draws you in. Maybe it's the fact that it supposedly took place. Maybe it's the mile-a-minute action (that doesn't start right away, but once it gets going, it doesn't slow down). I couldn't help but think that the runaway train was essentially another character in the film much like the shark was a central character in Jaws. (Please don't think I'm comparing these two films - Jaws is by far the better film). Something about the movie hooked me, and it kept me captivated for its relatively short run-time.

Maybe I'm okay with Denzel taking on these action-oriented roles. They've been a little hit-and-miss, but Unstoppable will surely be a hit. But Denzel, make sure the next action movie you pick doesn't involve a runaway vehicle; it's getting a little old.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: B-
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