The train dispatcher is afraid that engaging the mechanical emergency brake would generate enough heat to set off explosive gases. In fact, the course of action he selects has a much greater chance of triggering an explosion by  sparks routinely generated by the subway's third rail power shoe,  the dynamic brake system he proposes to use turns kinetic energy into heat through banks of resistors, and  directing Nolan Wood to make an impromptu shunt is sure to create sparks. See more »
One of the best scifi alien-related movies I've seen so far, and I've seen a lot of them. No idea why this movie isn't popular here in the US and why it's hard to find. It was a hit in Germany (where I watched it).
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