My wife had zero interest in seeing this movie. When I told her what it was about she literally said, "What's it about? A runaway train? Like in modern times? How many people are onboard, like 4? Boring!" Needless to say, she didn't go with me to see it and I brought my friend, Dan, along instead; someone who can appreciate a simplistic action movie like me. My wife was pretty wrong about it being boring though...although she was right about the people onboard...that number is actually zero. Unstoppable is directed by film veteran Tony Scott, who you probably don't know but I guarantee you know his resume. He's one of the godfathers of the modern day action movie. If it's simple, over budget and made only so you can chomp down on gobs of popcorn as a nervous reaction to the suspense, then Tony Scott is your man. He's given us over the years such films as Top Gun, Enemy of the State, Taking of Pelham 123 and the cult classic True Romance to name a few. He teams up again with his muse, Denzel Washington and new to the Scott family is Chris Pine (Star Trek, Bottleshock). Both are great and likable as the unlikely heroes that are archetypes of your typical action movie. One is young, one is old. One is a rookie, the other is a veteran. They don't like each other but they make a great team. One has a family problem he doesn't want to talk about, the other helps him with it. It's a formula that no one likes to deviate from too much because we all like it and it sells lots of tickets. It's also easy to write those characters into the "true story" that is Unstoppable. Don't get too excited because it's not "based on a true story" it's "inspired" by one. What it's actually based on was an unmanned train carrying toxic chemicals traveled 47 miles in 2001 in Ohio. But it wasn't a high action adventure and the train never went faster than 45 mph. The train in the movie though zips along at 80 mph, it's carrying explosive stuff on it and it's headed straight toward a series of populated towns in Central and Western Pennsylvania (close to where I grew up). Adding to the cast of characters is Rosario Dawson (Seven Pounds, Rent, Grindhouse) as the helpful command center worker and Kevin Dunn (Transformers, Lost) as the evil corporate CEO. Tony Scott movies are really hit or miss with me. He has a style that is very obvious with his pointless zoom-ins, mega quick editing and seizure-inducing handheld shots. But for Unstoppable it works pretty well. Once you get past the first fifteen minutes of the movie the rest of the action is...well...unstoppable. It doesn't get boring for a split second, even though when you think about what you saw afterward, it really isn't a whole lot of anything happening. It's an action movie with 90% planning and 10% action but gives you the impression that it's 100% action. Not an easy thing to do as a director. Never once have I looked forward to seeing a Tony Scott movie, but rarely am I upset that I had to sit through one. Unstoppable doesn't break that streak, but it is one of his best I've seen in a while. However, spoiler alert, the title is false advertising.
Unstoppable (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: B