"Unstoppable" Movie Review (2010)

11/15/2010 Posted by Admin


Movie Review

Directed by Tony Scott, Written by Mark Bomback, Rated PG-13, 98-minutes.

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

It’s a question that has plagued Algebra students for ages--if one train containing thousands of gallons of toxic and explosive chemicals is traveling at 80 mph, and another train driven in reverse by Denzel Washington is traveling 60 mph, where will they meet?

Director Tony Scott dares to answer this in his new runaway train picture, "Unstoppable"--though, thankfully, Scott’s version isn’t as boring as your old text book. The director manages to turn this silly premise into a well-acted and exciting thriller.

Due to negligence, when a technician jumps out of a moving train to switch tracks, an unmanned, half-mile-long locomotive without brakes switches from neutral to full throttle and speeds towards a highly populated area. With no other options, two down-on-their-luck conductors (Denzel Washington and Chris Pine) take it upon themselves to stop it.

It sounds like an action movie parody from “The Simpsons” and it kind of plays out as such. Scott adds an array of bizarre plot points to intensify the action. Things are placed in front of the train (horses, other trains filled with children). People try to ride on top of the train (marines, Denzel Washington). With every obstacle tossed in front of it, the film becomes increasingly ridiculous, but never ceases to excite the viewer. It’s absurd, but the lengths Tony Scott goes to entertain knows no bounds.

The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, which allows the cast to have some fun. Washington and Pine bicker on and on about their experience and how the other doesn’t know what their talking about. It’s cliché, but they have a strong chemistry and that makes their banter endearing. Either way, it all happens so fast, by the time the film resolves itself, you won’t remember any complaints about the implausibility of the events or their contrived characterizations.

However, its vapidity is a hindrance at times. Once you leave the theater, it’s also unlikely that you’ll remember much of the movie. The events are entertaining but hardly memorable.

As a whole, "Unstoppable" is harmless fun. The action is tense, the characters are likable, and there’s an air around the film that understands how ridiculous it is. Like the recent "Red," "Unstoppable" gets points for shamelessly accepting that fact--and for simply having fun with it. It’s popcorn fun done without any concerns outside of entertaining its audience, and on that front, it succeeds – just don’t expect it to leave a lasting impression.

Grade: B-

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  1. sarah said...

    I have yet to see this movie I'm really into train and so is my boyfriend. I'm just hoping this is a great movie. Denzel Washington is a legend and I expect great things from him every time. I have asked my co-workers at DISH about this movie and sadly no one has seen it. It looks to me that I will have to order the movie "Unstoppable" on PPV in HD to see how I like it. Thanks for the feed!