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Unstoppable - thank you Hollywood for putting out an action movie that works
Unstoppable plays out like a basic action thriller that keeps us engaged the entire time. With the train as the center of the story, in a way we get transported back to the days of great entertainment, where the storyline is simple, characters pure, and the dialogue isn't overdone. Here is an action film that stays on track and keeps you glued to the edge of your seat until the high-intensity climax is over. It operates at gut-level mode, as we get to follow all the twists and turns of the main character, runaway train #777. Unstoppable is a summer movie action blockbuster released in a winter spot that doesn't pause for a breath as it picks up steam, and most likely you won't either. It's one of those mindless thrillers that was made so well you probably will miss a lot of the detail as the movie literally sweeps you away, which is what a great action movie will do.
Unstoppable is based on a true story that comes out of Ohio where we have a low-level employee who fails to set the air brakes on a train while changing tracks and the issues that ensue as a result. The director Tony Scott, no newcomer to the action genre, sets the stage for the high-octane second half by letting us get to know the 2 main characters: Rookie conductor Will Colson (Chris Pine) and veteran engineer Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington). The two both have their share of family issues, which adds to the difficulty of being able to work together initially. Another dynamic we discover is that the company is forcing employees to be laid off, as evidenced by the fact that Barnes is being replaced by younger engineers such as Colson. The 2 characters provide solid low-key performances and we see the tension that initially exists turn into mutual cooperation to work together for a solution, and then at the end, respect.
Solid performance also given by Rosario Dawson, who is both the eye-candy and sounding board for our heroes, planted where she can see all train activity.
As the movie progresses, we come to find out that this runaway train laden with toxic chemicals is headed towards heavily populated areas, and our stomach starts to sink about the devastating possibilities that may occur should everything go wrong. The plan? to link up to the phantom engine from the back and pull it the other way, coming to a full stop.
It is fascinating to watch the failed attempts to stop the train, which seems to add to the power, giving the audience a realistic idea of how "unstoppable" this train truly is with it's 10M pounds of force going full-steam ahead.
In the end what we are left with is ordinary men putting on extraordinary acts of courage. Where there might be chest-pounding there are a couple of family guys doing what they felt should have been done by anyone in that situation, and a humbleness that brings a more realistic quality to the movie.
I'm glad that the sensationalism was toned down so that the thrills that the movie had to offer truly thrilled me. As others have stated already, Unstoppable is truly a "Speed" on tracks and definitely one of the year's finer action movies.
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