Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Unstoppable (Tony Scott, 2010) PG-13

With films like Top Gun, Man on Fire, and Domino, director Tony Scott is no stranger to action. As far as action goes, Unstoppable has plenty, and Tony Scott knows how to show it off. A film like this is a challenge because you are limited to the train tracks, it’s not like a bus with a bomb, so how exciting is a runaway train?

Denzel Washington (The Book of Eli) plays Frank, a veteran train employee who is weeks from retiring. Joining him is Will, played by Chris Pine (Star Trek), a rookie on the job. Animosity exists between the older veterans and the newer employees entering the workforce, as the older employees feel their jobs are being stolen by inexperienced workers. Frank and Will decide to go above and beyond their jobs and help stop an unmanned train before it causes massive damage and loss of life.

This film uses witty dialogue and intense action to move the viewers from point A to point B. The only thing missing is a decent story. Based loosely on true events, Unstoppable takes several liberties with facts, plot, and physics while failing to deliver any character growth. Unstoppable tries to give the viewers something, but the family subplots are uninteresting and completely unbelievable. As far as formulaic movies go, this one fits the mold. There are good effects and tense action, but despite that and the good acting, Unstoppable falls short of being a good film, and instead is regulated to being a mediocre film. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, I just have no urge to see it again.

Ultimately, Unstoppable is an action film for the sole purpose of being an action film. The witty dialogue will not be enough to make this film anything more than an hour and a half distraction.

Rating: 5/10

© 2010 Nate Phillipps

The 3 Worst Actors

#3: Ben Affleck

There's a reason a whole three and a half minutes of the movie Team America were devoted to a song about how bad Affleck's performance was in Pearl Harbor (Michael Bay, 2001).  That reason is because he was that bad in Pearl HarborPearl Harbor is bad enough that we don't even have to talk about Daredevil (Mark Steven Johnson, 2003), but for professional reasons, I must.  When he plays a supporting role, he is tolerable.  His only redeeming factors are his roles in Kevin Smith films.

#2: John Cena

For these next two, it was tough, but when it came down to it, I simply had to decide who I liked least, and John Cena is less visible than my #1 choice.  I saw John Cena guest star in the TV series Psych.  It was not good.  He is a wrestler.  But for some reason, somebody thought to give him a whole movie, The Marine (John Bonito, 2006).  I don't know if I'd wish the Marine on my worst enemy.  If you take everything you don't like about Arnold Schwarzenegger's performances, and multiply them, you'll get a John Cena performance.  John Cena's only redeeming factor is he is very muscular, so I hope he doesn't read this...

#1: Dwayne Johnson

Anyone who calls themselves "The Rock" shouldn't be taken seriously, especially when they have a film where they play the tooth fairy.  Everytime I turn around I see this guy in another film.  Is anyone seeing a trend?  Two wrestlers making my 3 Worst Actors list?  Anyway, Dwayne Johnson starred in Doom (Andrzej Bartkowiak, 2005), which was much better as a video game.  Dwayne Johnson probably doesn't know anything about acting.  The best acting I've seen him do is as a CGI Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns (Stephen Sommers, 2001), which by no means was a good movie.  Dwayne Johnson's only redeeming factor is his role in Get Smart (Peter Segal, 2008) where the director knew how best to utilize him.

Honorable Mentions:

James Franco - Think Flyboys (Tony Bill, 2006)

Jennifer Garner - Think anything she's ever been in, most atrocious though Elektra (Rob Bowman, 2005)

Shia LaBeouf - I'm even having doubts about Harrison Ford after Indianna Jones & The Kingdom of The Crystal Skulls (Steven Spielberg, 2008).  And don't forget Eagle Eye (D.J. Caruso, 2008).

Adam Brody- Actually anyone involved with The O.C.  I did not see In The Land of Women (Jon Kasden, 2007) mainly because the trailers with Brody looked terrible.  Well, that and whatever Meg Ryan did to her face.