Movie Review: Unstoppable (2010)

Posted: April 8, 2012 in Drama
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At the rail yard, railroad employee Dewey (Ethan Suplee) lets a train go while disconnecting the air brakes Engineer Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) and conductor Will Colson (Chris Pine) are on a routine job bringing another train back to the rail yard.   They are told by Yardmaster Connie Hooper (Rosario Dawson) that the other train is headed straight for them.  Barnes and Colson are not in much danger, but the train is speeding towards Colson’s hometown carrying a trainload of toxic chemicals. Connie wants to derail the train, but railroad executive Oscar Galvin (Kevin Dunn) thinks that will cost the railroad company too much money, and vetoes the idea.  Barnes has a risky plan to chase the runaway train with the locomotive of their train, attach their locomotive to the runaway train, slow the runaway train down, get Colson to climb in and apply the brakes to the runaway train.  Is Colson game?  Will the plan work?

The problem with this movie is it’s entirely too predictable.  Everyone watching this movie knows how it’s going to end from the first frame. The moviemakers try to add some intrigue by hinting that Pine’s character got the job through nepotism, that he is dangerous because his wife has a restraining order on him.  They try to make Frank more interesting by making him a victim of a recent downsizing whose wife died of cancer and whose two daughters work at Hooters.  It doesn’t work, this movie plays like a bad tv movie, like a cross between Speed and Silver Streak, it’s got that been there done that feel to it.  Washington and Pine try mightily to rise above the material, but there is very little material here that’s not clichéd or hackneyed.   Rosario Dawson had less to work with, she could do no wrong.  Her character was flawless and deadly boring.  Despite the great cast, the fact that the movie is “based on real events” means that some parts aren’t true, so if the movie makers are going to fake it, why not fake the whole thing and make it more interesting?

Stop, Look and Listen.  Don’t Watch This Movie.

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