A quick glance at the tagline of Unstoppable and you’ll think it is a B movie through and through. Indeed, it’s the kind of film you expect to only be available on DVD players. Yet this one came to the big screen and thus merited a review, and it turned out to be a good, if limited film.
Unstoppable is premised upon the CSX 8888 incident which saw a runaway train speed unmanned through Ohio. This film follows the original incident quite faithfully, with its two main characters Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) and Will Colson (Chris Pine) taking the turn of the heroes. The action is predictable, yet, perhaps owing to its real life inspiration, it comes across credibly. The film is well shot and director Tony Scott should be applauded for keeping the pace of the movie chugging along steadily.
The acting in the film is pretty much what one would expect. Denzel Washington plays the kind of character we’ve seen him play many times before, yet he does so well and brings some laughter to the film with occasional witty moments. Chris Pine is less impressive as he spends much of the film looking surprised, without really giving an insight into his character. Rosario Dawson does well in a supporting role, showing good chemistry with Washington in their rare moments on screen together.
The best part about Unstoppable is that it is just a bit different from the standard action film. We are fed movie after movie of the same fare featuring a heist or a terrorist plot centred upon a predictable villain. In Unstoppable the only enemies are bad luck and human error. This is quite refreshing, leading to a simple, enjoyable movie experience free from any allusions to the Iraq War or geopolitics. Unstoppable does not give you a great deal to think about, and that’s just fine. It’s a film about stopping a train and that’s all.
If you are in the mood for a simple relaxing action film Unstoppable may well be the answer for you. The acting is tolerable, the direction is sound and the plot doesn’t pull any punches or try to be more than it is. This is a good movie. It is not a masterpiece, and you won’t go home with a changed perception of the human condition, but you will have enjoyed your time in the cinema.