REVIEW: Unstoppable

19 06 2011

Unstoppable” is easily one of the best action films I’ve seen in a long time, and every filmmaker should be taking notes from Tony Scott here.  He takes a story that we all know very well – the worst case scenario coming to fruition – and makes it exciting again.  Scott keeps the movie paced as fast as the runaway train in the title and keeps us drawn in for the whole ride.  It’s solid entertainment done totally right, and even though it doesn’t engage the brain, it compensates by putting a pit in your stomach and keeping your heart racing throughout.

Thanks to the perfect storm of errors, a freight train carrying dangerous chemicals is barreling out of control towards Stanton, Pennsylvnia.  There are only two men who can stop it: old-timer Frank Barnes (the unbeatable Denzel Washington) and his trainee, new hire Will Colson (Chris Pine).  The two men, very different in their attitudes and approaches, must come together and grapple with the big issues of duty and death in order to save a hundred thousand lives.

Even without the movie being inspired by true events, we would already feel the inevitability of the ending.  Yet Scott’s high-octane cinema of adrenaline never lets up, still making us hold on to our seats until the exciting conclusion.  While we wait, he dazzles us with incredible aesthetics, which we can still appreciate even though they aren’t being thrown in our face like an Oscars “For Your Consideration” ad.  The film’s editing, cinematography, and sound are just as much responsible for the thrill ride of
“Unstoppable” as Washington or Pine.  By the time the credits roll, you’ll wonder why all action movies couldn’t have such impeccable production values and firm direction.  B+ / 

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