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The Independent Critic

Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson
Tony Scott
Mark Bomback
Rated PG-13
98 Mins.
20th Century Fox
Audio Commentary with Director Tony Scott; The Fastest Track: Unleashing Unstoppable

 "Unstoppable" Review 
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Quit it.

I can see you. No, really. I can. I can tell that you're shrugging your shoulders going "What? Another runaway train flick? Really? Do we need that?"

It's okay. I understand. Heck, I kind of shrugged my shoulders, too.

Keep in mind, however, that Unstoppable features Denzel Washington (Yes, I know. He was in another train-based flick not long ago...maybe one of his kids is currently into trains) and, well, this film is directed by Tony Scott, who also directed that aforementioned train flick, The Taking of Pelham 123 along with Washington's Man on Fire.

Having both Washington and Scott involved is an important thing to remember, because it means that with Unstoppable you're likely in for a good old-fashioned action flick with above average acting even considering the not particularly demanding genre of action thriller.

While one of this weekend's other opening flicks, Morning Glory, certainly qualifies as light and breezy it doesn't really measure up to the sheer unabashed action thriller fun contained within Unstoppable, a thriller about a runaway train set loose when its engineer (Ethan Suplee) inadvertently disembarks from the train before it has achieved a full stop. Suddenly, the train begins to dart out at full-speed of 70 m.p.h. heading towards Scranton, PA with its toxic load on a collision course. Another engineer (Washington) is tasked with finding a way to stop the train with a new trainee alongside (Pine). Rosario Dawson is convincingly dramatic as the dispatcher, while Kevin Dunn fulfills the obligatory semi-baddie role as a corporate bigwig more concerned with profits than human lives potentially lost.

The story is simple and character development modest at best, but both Washington and Pine bring their characters vividly to life, complemented nicely by Tony Scott's dependably amped up visual stylings and a thundering, breakneck pace for the goings on that helps to keep the film feeling relentless throughout its 98-minute run time. The story itself is based upon a real-life Ohio incident from 2001, though the way the script by Mark Bomback unfolds it doesn't particularly possess that "real life" drama. Instead, Unstoppable is simply that rarity of an action thriller that works as an action thriller and not much more.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic