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Unstoppable (2010)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 118,583 users   Metascore: 69/100
Reviews: 308 user | 302 critic | 34 from Metacritic.com

With an unmanned, half-mile-long freight train barreling toward a city, a veteran engineer and a young conductor race against the clock to prevent a catastrophe.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ned
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Janeway
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Maya
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Michael Colson (as Dylan L. Bruce)
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Storyline

A runaway train carrying a cargo of toxic chemicals puts an engineer and his conductor in a race against time. They're chasing the runaway train in a separate locomotive and need to bring it under control before it derails on a curve and causes a toxic spill that will decimate a town. Written by secret_agent

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

1 million tons of steel. 100,000 lives at stake. 100 minutes to impact. See more »

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and peril, and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 November 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

8888  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,714,871 (UK) (26 November 2010)

Gross:

$81,557,479 (USA) (4 March 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The two maps of the rail line shown on the news are of real Pennsylvania counties: The First map has Union and Snyder on the left, and Northumberland, Montour and Columbia in the center and Lycoming on top as well as Schuylkill on the bottom. The Second map has Cameron on the top left, Clinton in the center, Centre on the bottom and Lycoming on the right. See more »

Goofs

Near the beginning of the film, when Will meets Frank for the first time, Will picks up his bag and takes his profile pages back from Frank. In the next shot, he takes the paper back from Frank and picks up his bag again. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Darcy Colson: [to her son] Hey, hey! Come give me a kiss. Be good.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Captains (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

JUICE (LIVE MIX)
Written by Shajahan Matkin and Josef Quinteros
Performed by GMS
Courtesy of Spun Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
It works on the principles of late afternoon escapism and it's an efficient nail-biter.
7 December 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Even though I did not care whatsoever for the fates of any of the stick-figure characters that populate Tony Scott's new movie "Unstoppable" and despite the fact that I still have some qualms with his directing style, I must confess that this new runaway-train movie won me over. It works on the principles of late afternoon escapism and it's quite efficient as a nail-biter. Kicking off to big bursts of kinetic action almost right from the beginning and lasting for a taut ninety-eight minutes, it proved itself as one of the more wholesomely entertaining action movies I've seen in the last half of the year.

The movie is based (loosely) on the CSX 8888 incident of 2001, in which a freight train ran amok and unmanned across the state of Ohio for two hours. Here the setting is switched to Pennsylvania and it's running at such high speeds that it threatens to destroy Stanton should it derail itself on an elevated railway and smash its toxic cargo. Of course, for the conventions of the action/escapism movie plot, we've got two troubled heroes who are just going through the motions of their not-so-happy lives when they assume the Superman personality and race against time to stop the train.

The train is the real star of the movie. More interesting than the people trying to control it. Director Tony Scott gives us several impressive and creative shots of the half-mile-long mechanical monster as it rampages around. Listen carefully to the soundtrack and amongst all the crashes and grinding sounds you'll hear noises reminiscent of the tyrannosaurus in Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park." The movie almost seems like a big-budget homage to Spielberg's early-career movie "Duel" in which you had an innocent man being pursued by a giant tractor-trailer.

The characters are modeled after Action Movie 101 Writing stereotypes. You know, the veteran and the rookie. One of them is splitting up with his wife, the other is having a hard time maintaining a relationship with his daughters. You've got the noble yardmaster wanting to save lives and the greedy, vulgarity-spitting corporate executive whose more concerned about how much dough he's lost. And, of course, it takes a major catastrophe in which lives are risked in order to glue everything back together again. And no, morbid as it sounds, I didn't care who lived and who died.

However, *however* the filmmakers are smart enough to play with this to their advantage. They do not waste any more time than they really need to with this flat caricatures and instead devote as much of the brief running time as they can to very gritty action sequences. I must commend Mr. Scott for his ability to coordinate his pyrotechnics crew. Although I still detest his overly extravagant dolly shots and irksome "quick zooms" (in which the camera inches in and out of people for no reason at all) he does hold your attention when letting loose a wave of inertia. The last quarter of the movie is consumed by an enormous, very intense action sequence that develops suspense and nail-biting tension reminiscent of "Back to the Future." Complications are thrown in and as they kept on coming, I gradually discovered myself nervously toying with the zipper of my jacket. He also does a fantastic job of balancing sequences with "Live Television" shots as news cameras record the incident.

"Unstoppable" is not a work of art, but heck, it's not trying to be. Movies are meant to be one of two things: art or escapism. "Unstoppable" is the latter. It achieves exactly what it is targeting: ninety-eight minutes of blood-pumping action, smart-alec dialogue, and a barrel of fun for all who participate. It's more fun (and less painful, for me) than any roller coaster I can remember being on at the fair. On the basis of it being a solid matinée thriller, I liked the movie.

Denzel Washington, as the wise old train veteran, is his usual self: sincere and convincing. Chris Pine is also in fine form as the goodhearted but troubled rookie whom he finds himself both bickering and laughing with. Rosario Dawson, an underrated actress, turns in another strong performance as the yardmaster supervising the disaster. And Kevin Dunn is sinister despite the two-dimensional character he's given to play. Supporting roles are played mechanically but well by Ethan Suplee, Meagan Tandy, Elizabeth Mathis, and Jessy Schram.

P.S., the movie almost shoots itself in the foot at the end, but just ignore that, as everything before it works just fine.


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