Unstoppable, starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine, brings a tale of disaster and heroism to the theaters that is based on an actual occurence involving a runaway unmanned train. Taking place in rural Pennslyvania, we follow Frank (Denzel) and Will (Pine) in their efforts to prevent a hazardous-material-bearing train from causing the greatest disaster the Northeast has ever seen as it is on a warpath for highly populated Pennslyvanian cities.
The good things about this film are Denzel Washington. Oh, and the intense level of suspense! Frank, the railroad employee veteran of 28 years and Will, the fresh new rookie on the job, head out on their day of routine…only nothing “routine” takes place. I was glad to see Denzel on the screen, even though for the first third of it he doesn’t appear much as the film takes its time putting all the pieces in place to get this train of a movie going. Throughout the movie, it is Frank’s know-how and determination that keeps you engrossed in the film. That…and the level of suspense. Wow, there are a lot of “white knuckle” moments in this film that definitely keep the audience glued to their seat. It was fun and rather humorous to see several wide-eyed viewers, young and old, holding popcorn in mid-air between their hand and their open-and-waiting mouth as certain action scenes whistled their way across the screen. The movie, similar to Speed, brings about that same type of suspensful feeling that grabs the attention throughout the film. These two things: Denzel and intensity, will keep you glued to your seat.
The bad thing about this film is everything else. Denzel and director Tony Scott might just have a fascination with the railroad as this is the second film they have worked on together that takes place on a train for 7/8 of the film. (The Taking of Pelham 123). But, I wish that they wouldn’t share that obsession with us. Both films leave the audience without fulfillment. There is little emotional involvement (I didn’t say no emotional involvement) in the film tying you into the characters’ lives (which is odd for a Denzel film). Rosario Dawson and Chris Pine…while they both performed their duties as supporting cast…could have been better in their contributions to the film. The movie rode more on the tracks of suspense instead of reeling you in via the characters. I had hoped for a better blend. It’s not a bad movie…(I don’t know of a bad Denzel movie!), but it’s not all I had expected.
When it came to solving how to stop the train, I couldn’t believe the lack of thinking that took place for all involved, except for Frank. It seems like he is the only one who knows what to do. Perhaps that is how it was in the real life event, but it added some of the frustration to the viewing experience. One thing that I failed to mention that I DID like about the film is the character Ned, played by Lew Temple. His character was a lot of fun to watch and he deserves some attention. Found myself wanting to see him more than all of the other characters most of the time.
Overall, go see Unstoppable if you like train movies (it takes place all on trains)…go see it if you like high levels of suspense…go see it if you are a faithful Denzel watcher. Don’t let me stop you. But, it’s okay to wait for this one to reach your local $2 theater, redbox, or netflix with popcorn and friends! Speaking of friends, I’d like to thank my friend Kal-el for going with me to see this one!
Thanks for reading!
Enjoy if you wish…or don’t enjoy! Happy watching!
–The Sp1der’s Score: Overall: 6.5 out of 10 stars “Unstoppable“
up next: reviews for Skyline and Waiting for Superman