Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Unstoppable" - [mini] REVIEW

You're waiting for train, a train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you, but you can't be sure. You just hope that it will take you far away from Unstoppable, the latest so-so effort from action director Tony Scott.

Based on allegedly true events, Scott's latest film, his second in a row involving a train and Denzel Washington (after The Taking of Pelham 123), looks at a runaway train that is the fault of one thing: stupidity. In fact, if you were to try and glean some sort of hidden message from Unstoppable, it's that the entire state of Pennsylvania, along with the entire railroad industry, is run by morons. From the incident that sets off the story proper, to the actions taken along the way, there's a lot of stupidity on display, and after a while it becomes frustrating. For example, even when the issue of having a runaway train that is "like a missile the size of the Chrysler Building" is fully known, the two men responsible for the train still have the gall to flip off their superiors.

In fact, no one seems to have much sense, save for the leads, played by Washington and Star Trek's Chris Pine, and Rosario Dawson. Most everyone else is either there to say 'yes' or 'no,' or to be a cheap antagonist. And as likable as Washington and Pine are, the movie keeps sidetracking itself with the behind-the-scenes incompetence. Cops try and shoot a fail safe break without realizing that they almost hit a fuel tank, and even worse, Scott throws in a hilariously unnecessary car crash, again enforcing the idea that authorities are incompetent, and only a pair of "real Americans" have what it takes to stop this train. Not that there aren't a few moments of tension; when Scott actually looks at Washington and Pine trying to stop the train, the film holds your interest. But otherwise, it's plain, empty, and worst of all, stupid.

Grade: C/C-

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