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Unstoppable (2010)


7/10: Trains, Denzel and Tony Scott, again? Yeah, but this one's so much better than that dreadful Pelham remake
Saturday, November 6, 2010

Unstoppable is a pulse-pounding runaway thrill ride with iron-sided save-the-day heroism on display courtesy of Washington, Pine and Dawson.Spoil sports have been grousing that Unstoppable can't possibly be "inspired by true events." In fact, the runaway AWVR777 in Unstoppable is based on the real-life CSX8888 (crew) Y11615 incident that took place in 2001.CSX8888 was a single engine pulling 47 cars, 22 of them loaded, for in-yard car switching. The Final Report on the CSX8888 incident is available on the Internet along with other accounts and documentation.All six "gross errors" committed by the engineer responsible for CSX8888 are reproduced in Unstoppable, one of them being sugar coated with magic pixie dust, when the engine selector handle auto-magically pops out of "dynamic brake" and into "power" mode, with the throttle handle set to 8, the maximum setting.The dynamic brake should never have been set during yard operations (gross error #4...

8/10: A simple, solid, and very intense thrill ride from start to finish
Friday, November 5, 2010

It would not be much for me to say that above, having Denzel Washington re- teaming up with his frequent collaborator, director Tony Scott, on yet another movie involving a train very soon after last year's "Pelham 123". Comparisons, no matter how many people try to avoid it, is futile. One is always going to end up better than the other.Fortunately, "Unstoppable" is better than "Pelham 1 2 3". The main reason is that while "Pelham" works as more of a crime thriller, "Unstoppable" like the title suggests, is an action film. It has exhilarating action sequences laced with heart-stopping suspense and white-knuckle thrills the moment that train is let loose. It is cliché to say it, but it's terrific edge-of-your-seat entertainment. For those who are short on thrills after bland after-summer borefests (here's looking at you, "Takers"), this movie is for you.Is it going to win any Oscars...

7/10: Tony Scott's high-octane action keeps the film relentlessly intense and gripping from start to finish
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

If you've read the synopsis above, you pretty much know the long and short of Tony Scott's "Unstoppable". Based on the real-life story of an unmanned train that went careening down the tracks in Ohio after a railroad employee failed to set the air brakes while switching tracks, this dramatization of that little incident amps up the thrills for a white-knuckle 100-minute non-stop roller-coaster ride- just think of it as an adrenaline shot that pretty much grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go from start to finish.The setup is plain and simple- on one end of the track is rookie conductor Will Colson (Chris Pine), paired with veteran railroad engineer Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) on his first day of work. Frank and Will each have their own share of family problems and each bear their own reservations of the other- so there's a fair bit of tension between...

8/10: It works on the principles of late afternoon escapism and it's an efficient nail-biter
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Even though I did not care whatsoever for the fates of any of the stick-figure characters that populate Tony Scott's new movie "Unstoppable" and despite the fact that I still have some qualms with his directing style, I must confess that this new runaway-train movie won me over. It works on the principles of late afternoon escapism and it's quite efficient as a nail-biter. Kicking off to big bursts of kinetic action almost right from the beginning and lasting for a taut ninety-eight minutes, it proved itself as one of the more wholesomely entertaining action movies I've seen in the last half of the year.The movie is based (loosely) on the CSX 8888 incident of 2001, in which a freight train ran amok and unmanned across the state of Ohio for two hours. Here the setting is switched to Pennsylvania and it's running at such high speeds that it threatens to...

4/10: Potential for a Great Movie reduced to Crayon Cartoon
Friday, November 12, 2010

There seemed to be a potential for a good action thriller here such as "Speed", and seemed to be off to a good start. The first act of this film smartly eases into the dilemma, but uses every cliché in the book to pad out the story. I am sure that this Tony Scott product depicts the story "inspired by true events" down to the last detail (to laugh). It is not even 5 minutes into the movie and a bunch of school children are tossed in front of the runaway train. Both lead actors Denzel Washington and Chris Pine are given little to work with. Denzel is a by-the-book train engineer, Pine is a rookie learning the ropes. Their family side stories are fleeting and lack any gravitas. Cue the tracking shots. My god the tracking shots. Tony, please, by making your tracking shots faster and more frequent, you don't automatically make your movie any better...

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