Anytime you see a movie project with Director/Producer Tony Scott at the helm and Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington as the star you can be sure of one thing, a non stop entertaining thrill ride!
This has been a winning combination in the past (the two worked together on “Man on Fire” & “The Taking of Pelham 123”) and Unstoppable is no different.
This go round Washington plays Frank Barnes, a Father of two daughters and a 28 year veteran engineer for a rail yard in Pennsylvania. Will Colson (played by Chris Pine) is a rookie conductor (just 4 months removed from training) and is teamed up with Barnes for what they thought would be a routine trip running their locomotive to start their shift. Things quickly turned from routine to catastrophic in a hurry when a conductor of another train Dewey (played by Ethan Suplee) makes the error of hopping off his train while it’s moving to make sure that it’s traveling along the right track. While doing this the train is left unmanned & in it’s full throttle position and starts to leave Dewey behind, as he is unable to re-board the train!
Add to this the fact that the train slowly begins to move from slowly moving “coaster” status to full fledged runaway train, being about a half mile long in length, heading towards other trains along the main track while passing through a populated community (Stanton to be exact, also the town Will Colson is from & where his child & estranged wife reside) just intensifies the drama! Everyone tries to devise their own contingency plan on what they think is best to avoid this possible disaster! From Yardmaster Connie Hooper (played by a very convincing and take charge Rosario Dawson) to her supervisor Michael Galvin (played by Kevin Dunn) no one can quite see eye to eye on what is best to solve this train disaster waiting to happen!
So leave it to Barnes (Washington) & Colson (Pine) to add their two cents in to aide the situation. I thought the dialogue in between the action sequences amongst characters was honest and truthful in terms of showing the general concern for the situation for some, and the protected hidden agenda interests of others to do what was best for them, and not necessarily the best solution for the problem. And even though there were no unexpected out of left field surprises on which way things would go, it was still enjoyable and exciting to see how everyone would eventually come together during a time of crisis!
Director Scott always seems to have a steady pulse on the flow of activity throughout the film, so your never bogged down and bored with too much backstory on character development, but not too bombarded with flashy, clanky action all over the place that you have no idea what’s going on, and don’t even know or care about the characters doing it either. Not always an easy task for action films that you want to have some level of depth, suspense and emotion but at the end of the day still be entertaining and fun to watch!
Washington is as always in top hero form here, but Chris Pine does a very nice job as well, holding his own alongside the veteran actor and adding another solid performance to his resume (to coincide with his role in Star Trek as a young Captain Kirk!) So on a scale of 1 out of 5 (5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest) I give Unstoppable 4 stars ****. Till next time be safe and stay blessed!