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Ten Word or Less Review:  Train to nowhere.

In every story there are choices to make.  This character lives.  That character dies.  These people avoid disaster.  Those people don’t.  These decisions are what drive story telling in any form and sometimes making these decisions are hard for storytellers because they may run the risk of angering or annoying the audience by making a decision the audience doesn’t like.  Unstoppable avoids this usually unavoidable crux of storytelling by essentially telling a story in which despite all the bluster and hustle of what’s flying by onscreen, absolutely nothing important happens by the time it’s finished.  For all that happens this might as well be a movie about a runaway milk truck.

Playing a character that’s starting to feel rote as hell, Denzel Washington shows up to do his put upon, working man routine for director Tony Scott.  It worked a lot better for their vastly superior Taking of Phelam 123. He’s a good hearted train engineer with daughters he loves.  He’s about to fade into forced retirement.  He’s giving Captain Kirk a hard time for being a rookie.  One morning a lazy idiot train yard employee loses control of a train.  Unmanned and out of control it’s loaded with chemicals and rocket fuel and will blow up half of Pennsylvania if it derails.  Denzel and Kirk put aside their differences and set out to stop that train.  They discuss their emotional baggage a little bit as they do it. They don’t go gay for each other.  But what a curious decision that would’ve been.

One would figure in a movie such as this that mayhem and/or carnage might be around a few corners.  People would perish, property will be lost, and lives would be irrevocably changed at the hands of this runaway nightmare which will spare no soul in its way.  Nope.  The pacing is fast and the editing is tight and the story never sags, but Unstoppable refuses to ever play down and dirty even a little bit.  Train full of school kids?  Misses.  Horse trailer on the tracks?  Horses get out.  Helicopters buzzing around it at all times?  They never crash.  Guy hangs out of a helicopter and winds up crashing through the engine window?  He lives.  This out of control train of death does very little by the time it’s over.

Frequently frenzied director Tony Scott keeps spinning his camera around his primaries, flashing over the speeding bullet of possible destruction, cutting away to tense people saying tense things, having Rosario Dawson play with her hair.  It’s all an illusion.  For all the energy being pumped into things one slowly realizes that nothing harrowing is going to happen.  If Scott and company set out to make a big rousing action distraction which would keep people entertained but unmoved, they hit the nail right on the head.

When it’s all said and done there’s nothing really terrible or awful about Unstoppable.  It’s simply a diversion movie and not much more.  Had the powers that be injected just a little sense of danger and unpredictability then maybe we’d be talking about this a little longer.  But they didn’t so we won’t.  Good bye.



One Comment

  1. “They don’t go gay for each other. But what a curious decision that would’ve been”-lol

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