Unstoppable (2010)

24 November 2010

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Unstoppable. Inspired by actual events, “Unstoppable” is an adrenaline rush fueled by director Tony Scott’s signature mark of propulsive action rooted in the reality of ordinary people placed in extraordinary circumstances.  A veteran train engineer (Denzel Washington) and a young conductor (Chris Pine) race the clock to stop an unmanned runaway train – effectively a missile the size of a skyscraper -- and prevent disaster in a heavily populated area.

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"Within its genre, ‘Unstoppable’ is just about as good as an action movie you’ll see this year"

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life which work best. You don’t always need complex and mystifying stories in films. The likes of time machines, long confusing scientific words, and men that look the same wearing sunglasses. Sometimes you’re happy to simply watch the story of an unmanned train, travelling at speed across the state of Pennsylvania whilst carrying toxic chemicals. Sometimes, that’s all you want; out and out action.

Within its genre, ‘Unstoppable’ is just about as good as an action movie you’ll see this year. Based on real events, the film moves at an incredibly fast pace and unlike many action movies, this one avoids much of the tedious hour-long openings, and cuts straight into action right from the word go. Easily comparable to ‘Speed’, ‘Unstoppable’ is almost a faster yet slightly less compelling homage to the said film. Essentially, it’s ‘Speed’ on rails. It doesn’t try to be too clever – it’s not intricate and it’s not complicated - it’s a simple plot-line, helped along with great effects and numerous clichés (yes, the film includes a group of children in danger - learning about rail safety) - it’s everything you want from an action movie.

Often in action thrillers such as ‘Unstoppable’, that generally follow quite a straightforward plot and rely much on action, effects and suspense - the difference between a good film and a not-so-good film, tends to be based on the acting credentials of the cast. Therefore, with impressive leading performances by Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson and the infallible Denzel Washington, it makes for an enjoyable and exciting watch. It’s not a classic, and some may argue that it can come across as being somewhat mediocre, but it doesn’t try and be anything it isn’t. It’s fun, harmless action, and if that’s what you want - then prepare to be satisfied.

‘Unstoppable’ also bears yet another fine performance by Washington, as his infectious personality and ability to relate to members of the audience is portrayed within the humble persona of his character, Frank Barnes. Washington has a fantastic talent for playing the ‘hero’ yet coming across as your typically average individual. Alongside Chris Pine, the quick and witty dialogue and banter between the characters of Frank (Washington) and Will (Pine) adds a touch of charm to the script, making light of a film otherwise taken up mostly by a fast machine speeding around America.

‘Unstoppable’ is certainly a return to form for director Tony Scott (True Romance), with what is arguably his best film directed since ‘Man on Fire’. As a stereotypical, much clichéd Hollywood action thriller, this film is brilliant. It’s not trying to be anything else but fun and full of suspense- and it pulls it off wonderfully. And if you do decide to go and see ‘Unstoppable’ at the cinema, just make sure you take the bus.

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