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Movie directed by Tony Scott

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Tony Scott Delivers A Total Popcorn Thrill Ride!

  • Nov 13, 2010
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 frankly, nothing special in terms of plotting. What makes it work is the fact that Scott keeps the film rampaging throughout its entirety that you just can’t help but be kept in suspense as to what may happen next.

                    Chris Pine as Will and Denzel Washington as Frank in "Unstoppable."

Will Colson (Chris Pine, Star Trek) is a young rookie conductor who walks in among a group of disgruntled older employees. He had just completed his training and now he is teamed up with Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington, Book of Eli) for kind of a ‘rite of passage’ on the job. The two get to know each other and even begin to bond a bit, but ti seems like it’ll be a very long day for them and the company they work for; as an unmanned runaway freight train is rumbling across the countryside at almost 74 miles an hour. What makes things worst is that the train is carrying very hazardous materials that can explode upon impact. The two find themselves at a crossroads with their employers as they are more concerned about stock value than saving lives. Being a 28 year old railroad man, Frank has a plan to try and stop the runaway freight train as a yard dispatcher (Rosario Dawson, did I tell you I have a crush on her?) is their only support…

                  Denzel Washington and Chris Pine in "Unstoppable"

                 Chris Pine as Will Colson and Denzel Washington as Frank Barnes in "Unstoppable."

Tony Scott can makes a really enthralling thrill ride when he puts his mind to it; after all, it was this talent that made him a hot director back in the 90’s. “Unstoppable” borrows the concept of the action thriller “Speed”, but this time there is no terrorist behind the careening train but rather the negligence and carelessness of railroad employees that leads to a race against time. The rampaging train of course becomes a 4,500 plus tons of scary momentum that sets up the film’s story. Much of the film’s script (by Mark Bomback) is spent in dealing with solutions as to what may stop this train, there is a minor set up and some bits of characterization and then the film’s thrill ride just takes hold.

I know the film does have its rough edges as we see the sob story of the main protagonists. It actually carries the staples of the old guard being replaced by the new guard, as we get to know Frank and Will. The direction does give us time to get to know our characters while they try and chase down the runaway freight train; there is some unease between the two but the drama seems unimportant compared to the multi-ton missile at hand. I know, the attempts at humanity seemed like a minor device and the film instead focuses on the part of the struggle that makes these simple men heroes; it does help the film achieve the needed chemistry to keep the viewer invested in the next sequences. What Scott did well was directing Washington and Pine to be able to express the stakes involved and the urgency of the situation. There were also several instances where the supporting characters took the stage to help the thrills along whether with the use of scared faces or by displays of anxiety; there was a great moment where Will’s wife Darcy was just hanging around the television as she fears for the safety of her husband, pretty simple really but it gets the job done.

                 Denzel Washington as Frank Barnes in "Unstoppable."

                Denzel Washington as Frank Barnes in "Unstoppable."

“Unstoppable” is also a visual feast as we see the train careening along and destroying whatever stands in its way. The editing is kept tight and the dialogue is made to further generate tension along the way. Scott is seemingly able to keep it together but then again, it was what made him effective back then, he keeps it close as possible. I know some directors would’ve made the film much more dramatic and character-driven, but the absurd nature of its concept serves the film’s gritty mood and style. Scott keeps the viewer in his thrall as the screenplay displays a media coverage after another, to generate the feeling of an spectator and how some folks are helpless to do anything. I liked it and those used to this style would recognize the Scott signature in those scenes.

“Unstoppable” lives up to its title and it seems like only an immovable object can stop an unstoppable object and at this moment, the one thing that was immovable was the end of its runtime. Scott manages to pull off an entertaining thriller, simple and maybe formulaic, but he does everything right and covers all the bases. It is a near excellent popcorn movie that is just pure adrenaline; “Unstoppable” is nicely executed by Scott and he has just redeemed himself in my eyes.

Highly Recommended! [4 Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "Unstoppable"  Poster art for "Unstoppable"

Tony Scott Delivers A Total Popcorn Thrill Ride!

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November 29, 2010
Great review! My girlfriend and I just saw this over the weekend and loved it for all the same reasons you talk about. A perfect popcorn movie.
November 29, 2010
Thanks! This was a fun little flick! Nothing intricate nor does it pretend to be anything else... :)
November 18, 2010
I love Denzel Washington and this sounds like one I would really like. You never know what to expect out of him which makes him interesting for me. I need to see this one!! Great review Woo!!
November 21, 2010
I know this was just escapist entertainment, and sometimes that's all we need to enjoy a movie. No nonsense fun action thrills that doesn't pretend to be more intricate than it needs to be. Thanks, Brenda!
November 15, 2010
Yeah, okay, I have to admit that I'm surprised anyone liked this. Regardless of its entertainment value. When I saw the previews, all I could think was, "Holy shit, Denzel Washington in another runaway train film!" That this is directed by Tony Scott isn't much of an incentive for me to see it either. Hollywood needs some new ideas methinks.
November 15, 2010
Yeah. It was a formula film but it covers many of the possible bases and the acting was enough to carry it. I had to see this after the dumbness of "Skyline"...
November 15, 2010
November 16, 2010
...maybe that's why I appreciated it more than I usually would've have. "Skyline" would have made even the worst movie seem better LOL!
November 16, 2010
It did look kind of pathetic.
November 13, 2010
Awesome review. My Mom wants to see this and I'm glad to know she won't be disappointed. :)
November 13, 2010
Nope she won't. It is a pretty enjoyable movie and Denzel just ruled here.
November 13, 2010
I bet the next movie they'll make is one on the bullet train!!! ;p
November 13, 2010
Probably--as long as it isn't a bus or a cruise ship LOL!
November 15, 2010
Bus? That's Speed! Cruise Ship? Titanic, haha!
November 13, 2010
Yeah man I want to see this one for sure, Denzel has always been the man. Great review WP.
November 13, 2010
thanks for the read, Alex! still busy with training?
November 13, 2010
Great critique William. After a disappointing Skyline, I'm glad to hear our boy Denzel delivers. Actually come to think of it, yours is the absolute first word I've received on this one. Sounds like it kind of harkens to the tension-laden moments that made films like "Speed" so enjoyable. Great review as is par for the course bro.
November 13, 2010
I got lucky as I got an all day pass at the multiplex (actually a giftcard). This was good and I am happy that it took away the sour taste in my mouth after SKYLINE.
November 13, 2010
Truly sad about Skyline. I had fairly high hopes for that one.
November 13, 2010
Me too. I still need to see an alien invasion film go to that dark tone and concpet since the horror movie "Body Snatchers". Skyline made the remake "Invasion" appear good.
November 13, 2010
I rarely get out to see movies in theaters due to my lack of money. Good review, my friend. Do you get paid for your efforts?
November 13, 2010
well, I got free full day passes since a friend manages a local multiplex ;)
November 13, 2010
thanks for the read! I am itching to check out your other stuff!
November 13, 2010
by the way, if you need help in using the site's features, send me or @devora a message.
November 13, 2010
I heard that this movie got a lot of milage out of it's limited scope with effects and such. I didn't get to see this today. Maybe this weekend.
November 13, 2010
I hope you see it, John. It is simple but pretty well-executed. It was better than "Skyline" which I saw 3 hours before. Join me here with a review!
November 15, 2010
Hey, John since you are an action fan, are you going to see the movie "FASTER"? I know I may be since I liked THE RUNDOWN....
More Unstoppable (2010 movie) reviews
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 . April 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** 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, …
review by . November 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
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
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.      …
Quick Tip by . April 04, 2011
Great film. Great popcorn fun. Denzel Washington turns in yet another reliable performance, and Chris Pine proves that he's growing into a box office contender himself.
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William ()
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About this movie


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.

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