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.
© 2010 Nate Phillipps