Tony Scott’s Unstoppable is based on a real-life story of an unmanned train that caused a commotion going down the tracks in Ohio, and this take on that story effectively amps up the thrills. Scott utilizes his hyper-active style, as it perfectly complements this non-stop action flick, and Chris Pine and Denzel Washington punch-in likable performances.
Scott, usually known for his over-stylish, sometimes seizure-inducing, editing flourish, displays a more accessible control of his cinematic viewpoint. The camera still swings, cuts and crash zooms, as the camera is frantically alive, but it completely works for this particular film, matching the chaos of the plot. Scott somewhat dilutes his over-stylish nature and it works. Although the script is based on a true story, the film still feels like a throwback to an old school action flick with everyday heroes.
Denzel Washington, as Frank, and Chris Pine, as Will, play off each other very well. Frank is an old veteran of the railroad tracks that has racked up wisdom throughout the years, and Will is the new guy with the drive of a natural leader. One of the best parts of the film is their interaction with each other, in the midst of all the action, as they develop a sturdy friendship. Both are believable as blue-collar workers, and it is hard not to cheer as we see them evolve into heroes before our eyes.
The film has an obvious disaster plot, but it’s a realistic disaster because it’s based on a true story, making it easier to connect to the film. Unstoppable displays the workings of everyone involved attempting to rectify a colossal problem, and it also shows us the heroics the everyday man is capable of. It may be forgettable, but while your eyes are plugged in, the entertainment value is worth it.
The film doesn’t leave behind a lasting feeling after the credits roll. It’s entertaining, does it’s job fairly well, and gets out without a trace.
The plot may even be too simple and familiar for some wanting to watch a more complex film. Most of the time the film does feel like it’s cruising on auto-pilot.
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