Movie Review: Unstoppable

Denzel Washington can do no wrong. With him at the helm in another Tony Scott offering, expect nothing less than him at his best. I haven’t seen Denzel in a bad movie since.. ever, and when I heard he was going to be in Unstoppable, I expected nothing less than good. I wasn’t let down.

Unstoppable, a movie inspired by true events, tells the story of a train that is left unmanned in a careless accident by a lazy, bumbling worker. When they realize that the train is moving too fast to catch, it is too late. It is up to veteran engine worker, Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) and his rookie partner, Will Colson (Chris Pine) to try and stop this moving behemoth. Oh yeah, as usual, the train is carrying a butt-load of hazardous material that is highly explosive.

Denzel’s performance is on spot as usual. He’s the same guy we’ve come to know and love. With him being in another train movie recently, The Taking of Pelham 123, it’s no surprise he fits this role perfectly. Chris Pine, plays a similar role has Kirk in Star Trek- the rookie in a vehicle that’s destined to do great things. Rosario Dawson is the station commander and provides some of the laughs in the movie. It’s nice to see her move on to more serious roles ever since her stint in Clerks 2 where she advocates going ass to mouth in the heat of passion. It’s a well rounded cast with everyone, including the sub-characters, playing their roles well.

The movie is fast paced after the somewhat slow introduction, and despite all the use of train jargon it is easy to understand. Thanks to the usage of the FOX news footage that is used throughout the movie. We get colorful and easy to understand diagrams that make whatever is happening clear to the audience.

The only gripes I have with the movie are the usual Hollywood moments- at the start, when the train starts moving on its own, it feels very “Final Destination”-ish. The train controls sliding on their own to set the train off seemed to forced to me. Maybe that’s how the true story goes (I didn’t do any research), but I felt it could have been done better. Another bit I didn’t agree with was Chris Pine’s character doing insane jumps while he had an extremely injured leg. Not once, but twice- and that felt a little too unrealistic to me. Again, it could have been what really happened, but it just seems impossible to do. The back story of Colson’s marital problems feel a bit weak as well.

A highly entertaining popcorn flick that manages to keep the tension going, despite you knowing the ending (it’s based on a true story after all). That is quite a feat for director Tony Scott to do. The train shots were very well done as well- it makes you wonder how much of actual footage was shot, and how much of it was computer generated.

Overall, the movie was done really well. It gets your heart racing whenever the characters have close brushes with death-by-train, and it has Denzel Washington. It’s no Malcom X, but it’s not a bad movie either. I rate Unstoppable 7/10.

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