Unstoppable, an improbable wildly entertaining ride
If you’re a filmgoer who demands ironclad logic when you go to the cinema, Tony Scott’s Unstoppable is the sort of movie you could pick apart in its first half hour. Though based on a true event in 2001 in which an unmanned train left a Toledo, Ohio, freight yard and traveled nearly 70 miles before being stopped, the circumstances in screenwriter Mark Bomback’s script are a bit much to swallow at times. The plot is an example of Murphy’s Law at its worst, as everything that could go wrong does. The runaway locomotive is not only bearing down on a major urban center, but it’s hauling hazardous material and headed straight for an area populated by massive fuel storage containers.
It’s to Scott and his cast’s credit that I could have cared less about all of these absurdities once the film got rolling, something the audience hardly has to wait for. We’re barely introduced to our two heroes – veteran engineer Frank (Denzel Washington) and rookie conductor Will (Chris Pine) – before the incompetence of two lazy employees sets the plot in motion. As the train steadily picks up speed, Scott increases the tension, keeping us on the edge of our seats throughout as engine 777 barrels through the Pennsylvania countryside, threatening to wipe out any of the small burgs it rattles through at any moment.
Washington is one of those rare performers who inherently brings a degree of integrity to anything he does. His presence is vital to our buying into the film. Solid as always, the actor has us sympathizing and cheering for this soon-to-be-retired widower, while Pine continues to impress as a man trying to prove himself both as a co-worker and husband. The human element they provide makes the action Scott delivers worthwhile. While the director provides the thrills, Washintgton and Pine provide the heart, making this an unstoppable – and irresistible – piece of entertainment.
Contact Chuck Koplinski at email@example.com.