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Unstoppable

Movie directed by Tony Scott

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An effective, well-shot, crafty bastard love-child of all the finest popcorn action-thrillers.

  • Apr 4, 2011
Rating:
+3
*** out of ****

It looks like Tony Scott is getting creative. Here, the brother of the even-more-well-known Ridley Scott has made a film that is all fun, all craft, and lastly, all thrills. Out of all the thrillers to be released in 2010 ("Piranha 3D", "Salt", to name a few), "Unstoppable" is one of the best. It's a no-hold thrill-ride that knows where it's going, and has a handle on what it's doing. It's a film directed by Tony Scott, for crying out loud. That is, perhaps, why the film is as good as it is. It's about ten-times better than it has the right to be- or than you'd expect it to be. It's silly, conceptually ambitious, and action-packed from beginning to end. It does its job very, very well.

The film begins with two characters, Frank and Will, who go out for a day on the railroads. One is a long-time engineer, one is a rookie. Not-so-even match, but as always, this proves good for the movie. Outside of what they're doing, things don't seem to be going too well. A train is set on auto-pilot by its engineer, which leads to the switch somehow disengaging auto-pilot. Oh, and there's a catch: the train doesn't have its air breaks attached.

This means that things are going to be completely bad from the on. Our two characters may in fact be the only hope. But what is the problem with the runaway train, aside from the fact that it's literally, unstoppable? Perhaps the problem is that attached to the train is a lot of toxic waste; enough to destroy an entire town, if it had been spilled. Does it sound like a good idea for a thriller, to you? Well, it does to me; and luckily, Scott is just the right director for the project. He injects his style, as well as some unexpected wit and craft, into "Unstoppable" to make it one of his least-divisive, if not best, films in years.

"Unstoppable" doesn't care much for characters. What we get out of the two guys we're following throughout is a good relationship; a bond that grows through the on-screen mayhem. There's not a whole lot of character development towards the beginning of the film, but this is a rare film that decides that it WANTS to have worthwhile characters anyway. I think part of the reason why this approach works is the choice of actors to portray these people; Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. Both are likable on some level, and they almost always do a solid-to-decent job in whatever film they may be in. Denzel, in particular, is a damn fine actor; accomplished, good, and best of all; possessing a sense of humor. Chris Pine is a lesser accomplished actor, but he's well on the road to earning my respect; which is a good thing.

So many thrillers do what "Unstoppable" does. You could even call this a generic action-thriller, but I won't. I won't call the film that because in actuality, it's NOT generic. It has a familiar approach to thrills, and it's not amazing; but it doesn't want to be. What wins be over here is the fact that "Unstoppable" never stops being awesome on some given level. Its thrilling-as-hell, which is good considering it never stops being so. It's incredible well-filmed; with shots putting a big, fat emphasis on the hulking train itself. As for the train...well, that's where the story is at, that's where the mind is at, and that's where Tony Scott is at. Maybe that's why he didn't have more time for his characters and his story-telling, but something about this experience feels rich. It thrills with cinematography, a good soundtrack, and drop-dead remarkable sound editing. As a film; this one is good, but not great. As a film, released in 2010, made with pure craft; it's a masterwork. Yes, I recommend it to just about anyone seeking thrills and action when many other films can't deliver either. I've liked some of Tony Scott's films that others did not, but this is one that surpasses most of what he's done recently. And since when is that really a bad thing?

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April 09, 2011
I liked this one, great review.
 
April 04, 2011
Fine work on this review, most especially the last paragraph.
 
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More Unstoppable (2010 movie) reviews
review by . November 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Tony Scott Delivers A Total Popcorn Thrill Ride!
Tony Scott and Denzel Washington together have given us some hits and misses throughout their careers. Well, didn’t the two create another train movie called “Pelham 1 2 3” very recently? I guess that means the two are in familiar ground. Tony Scott’s train movie “Unstoppable” has been inspired by true events that occurred in 2001 called the “Crazy Eights” unmanned train incident that happened in Finlay, Ohio. Yes, the film is pretty simple and quite …
review by . March 07, 2011
posted in MovieSucktastic
Tony Scott has watched too much MTV in his life. There's a massively over-used camera shot which I'm sure he created but you see it everywhere now - the video is sped up, slow-motioned, given a contrast flash, and then sped up again. It was innovative for the first 100 times but has become his editing trick of choice for everything from the "establishing scene shot" to "we need another 3 seconds of film here and we already paid the music guys".      …
review by . November 13, 2010
Normally, I can barely tolerate Tony Scott's frantic, even frenzied, directing style. He's all about fast cuts, swooping angles and cursory character development. He's often a bit like Michael Bay, with at least with a better visual sense. His films often indicate changes in time or mood through a change in color saturation. You CANNOT see one of his films and not constantly be reminded that you're watching a movie. Films like MAN ON FIRE and TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3 give me a headache.    UNSTOPP …
review by . August 31, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
This film was so simple yet it was entertaining and tense and best of all it seemed to stress family, loyalty, honor, all without bad language and violence that seem to accompany most thrillers these days. A train engineer accidently leaves a train in gear with nobody in the cab. That train gets away from him and accidently engages itself in a fast gear.    When Rosario Dawson (the train company's traffic coordinator) gets called, she realizes that she has a problem on her hands …
review by . November 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Anti-climax!
I had high hopes as far as Denzel Washington is concerned. However, this is not that movie.            Unstoppable is action packed, high speed and I may have even enjoyed it thoroughly. BUT, and that's a big But, it lacks that special touch, the wow factor and to be fair to everyone (me inclusive) concerned, it's anti-climax! Still, not forgetting that this is a movie inspired by a true event, dramatic portrayal of a pending disaster is not in the …
review by . November 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
There aren't a great deal of thrillers out there that I can say keep me on the edge of my seat or that make me wonder just how things will turn out.  So for Tony Scott's Unstoppable to do so was quite a surprise to me.  As I watched I actually found myself genuinely drawn into the situation at hand.  Unstoppable isn't brainy but it isn't exactly stupid either.  It's a well made film in spite of some of its smaller flaws.      Unstoppable …
Quick Tip by . June 12, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Caption
I finally got to see this one a couple weeks ago; I really liked the action in it, though I thought the characters were rather boring; even Denzel Washington.  I sat on the edge of my seat throughout much of it, yet when it was over this flick was completely "forgettable".
review by . December 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      Unstoppable is about a veteran engineer (Frank/Denzel Washington) and a young conductor (Will/Chris Pine) who race against time to prevent a railroad catastrophe. They have to stop a moving train at full speed that carries a cargo full of chemical products, so they engage in a pursuit to catch the train from the back and accelerate in the opposite direction in order for the train to slow down. This is a story based on real facts so we already know the process and the result …
review by . November 15, 2010
Tis the season for Oscar bait, and with that comes added depth to the movies coming out this season. Unstoppable doesn't contain a single extra layer. You know exactly what you're getting. A train you can't stop dangerous chemicals on the tracks, headed towards a small blue collar town, with a train full of children coming in the opposite direction. We're one horse and a sweet mustache away from a Dudley-do-right cartoon. Cue the woman tied to the tracks.      …
review by . November 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Tony Scott's "Unstoppable" is a nail biting, heart pounding, relentlessly exciting film. It takes most of the reliable hallmarks of the action picture - death defying stunts, crashes, explosions - and strips them to the bare essentials. There's no posturing, no big muscles and machine guns, no pompous dialogue, no padding of any kind. There's only a raw, primal adrenaline rush. The result is a film so taut and gripping that you're liable to lose the feeling in your hands …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #3
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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Wiki

Unstoppable is a 2010 American action thriller film directed by Tony Scott, written by Mark Bomback and starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. The film tells the story of a runaway train, and the two men (Washington and Pine) who attempt to stop it. The film was released in the United States and Canada on November 12, 2010.

Plot
After panning across some idling diesel locomotives under the opening credits, the film begins with scenes at two rail yards in different regions of Pennsylvania run by the Allegheny and West Virginia Railroad (AWVR). In the Fuller yard in northern Pennsylvania, children arrive for a school field trip on rail safety. Meanwhile, in the southern Pennsylvania town of Stanton, Will Colson (Chris Pine) gets up for work, stopping to surreptitiously watch his wife put their son on the school bus. He calls her but she refuses to even answer.

Arriving at work, Colson, a conductor, gets his orders for the day and learns he will be working with engineer Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington), with whom he has never worked before. He goes to a group of older workers, with whom he has some barbed words over their age differences, and finds Barnes among them. While he goes to punch in, the other older workers complain about being displaced by Colson, who they say got his job through family connections in the union.

Meanwhile, in Fuller, the yardmaster yells at a pair of hostlers who have been standing idle near a train to get it moved so the schoolchildren's ...
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Details

Director: Tony Scott
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: Nov. 12, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 98 minutes
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