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Monday, December 20, 2010

Unstoppable (2010) - Action Thriller

Unstoppable (2010) - There are not many actors I go to the movies to see, but looking at Denzel Washington's filmography I have probably seen 85% of his films in theaters so I guess I am a fan. Denzel in many of his movies is often a flawed hero. A guy that does something noble but still is not the all American guy. In this film he is a veteran freight train driver, Frank who risks his life to stop a run away train going against his corporations wishes to do so. Teamed with young guy Will (Chris Pine) who is also dealing with personal problems they find themselves on the same line as the train that is going full throttle with no driver. Adding to the thriller is the fact that the train has cars with explosive fluids that will explode if the train derails. Well if this was not bad enough, there is a corner on the tracks in Stanton PA where if the train is not slowed down it will derail exploding and wiping out the town.
This is the premise and as an action movie you do not need much more than this; just set the train in motion and then try to stop it before time runs out. Then get your writer (Mark Bomback) to mix in a cold and corporate business structure, a lovely and competent yard manager, Connie (Rosario Dawson), some threats to kids and neighborhoods along the way and BANG! you have a thriller action flick. The thing is the early threats are obvious red herrings because of when they happen in the film. If someone had actually gotten hurt it would have moved the threat of this film way up, but instead we get the idea of a threat but not the balls to make it real. Still the writing is good enough, the information about characters is leaked to the audience rounding them nicely as the story plays out.
We already know who the heroes are so we know any attempts made by anyone else in the film will fail, so the cops and the corporate solutions are just filler until Frank and Will catch up to the runaway. Still I think you can step away from these realities enough to enjoy this film. Director Tony Scott keeps the film tight and energy packed with enough cutting away from the main characters to develop the setting and enough development for secondary characters.
Mostly action films leave me feeling a bit empty, like candy they taste really good but have little nutritional value. This film tries to build the characters enough to avoid this but ultimately fails. Still it is a nice ride and engaging enough to give it your rental dollars.
Rating (6.2) 5.0 and above are recommended in the Zombiegrrlz system, wait and Rent It!

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