¨This ain`t training. In training they just give you an F. Out here you get killed!¨
It has been only a year since Denzel Washington last stared in a movie involving a train as the main protagonist. Even though he teamed up once again with director Tony Scott, this time it is a different train and a different character, not a sequel. This is a far superior movie as well and it will keep you at the edge of your seat from the very beginning. Pelham was more of a crime thriller, and Unstoppable is just a plain good action film. Once the runaway train with no one on board begins to pick up speed and become some sort of a chemical missile the movie will have hooked you and it will not let you go until the very end. There is not anything special or original about this movie, but it works really well thanks to Denzel Washington (who when it comes to action is always a very bankable star). Chris Pine (from Star Trek fame) is a pleasant surprise as well and he really gives an up to par performance with Washington, and the chemistry between both of them is great. They made for a surprisingly good duo and Mark Bomback`s (Live Free or Die Hard) easy going believable script also helped make this film a pleasant movie going experience. The stars of the film are just two ordinary people who decide to take a huge risk in order to save thousands of lives, and everyone likes a story about heroes.
The plot is pretty simple and the title of the film is pretty self explanatory: an unmanned half mile long train at increasing speed is just unstoppable. The movie is actually based on a real runaway train incident that occurred in Ohio in 2001, but of course Hollywood also has to add some ingredients to spice up the story. There is no way that oil/chemical storage tanks would be placed right under a curved bridge track (known as the Stanton Curve in this film). The story takes place in Pennsylvania where Frank (Denzel Washington), a veteran train engineer who has worked for the company for 28 years, has to team up for the day with Will Colson (Chris Pine) a young conductor with little field experience. In the meantime an incident has occurred in one of the tracks when Dewey (Ethan Suplee) accidently leaves the brakes off a freight train carrying some sort of dangerous and explosive chemical, and the vehicle begins to pick up speed and head to a very populated town without anyone on board to stop it. Frank and Will are in the same track and decide to try to catch up to the runaway train in reverse in order to try to reduce its speed. It’s a risky decision, but with the help of Connie (Rosario Dawson), the operator from the station with whom they communicate back and forth, they decide to try to stop the unstoppable.
This is actually the fifth time that Tony Scott and Denzel Washington have collaborated together and they have made some great films (Man on Fire being by far my favorite one). Unstoppable is no exception and it works really well as an action film for several reasons. First of all we don`t have any villains in this story. Everything that goes wrong is a result of human error and stupidity. There are very bad decisions made here and that is actually the way it is most of the time in the real world. An accident has occurred and now two ordinary people have to come together in order to try to become heroes. They have no super powers, they are simply trying to do the best they can in their everyday lives. Beside the great chemistry between the two main characters, there are also some good supporting characters like Rosario Dawson and Lew Temple who simply enhance the movie even more. Tony Scott`s classic signature is all over this movie with shaky camera scenes and real action scenes (hardly no CGI is used) which give this film a more realistic feeling to it. The cinematography enhances the sense of urgency and speed of the train. Unstoppable was a very pleasant surprise and Scott knows how to make action movies, and having Denzel Washington on board is always a plus. Unstoppable is a simple movie that actually worked really well and I had a great time in the theater.