After a somewhat unsuccessful outing with trains in 'The Taking of Pelham 123', director Tony Scott fights back with the heart-rending and exhilarating 'Unstoppable'. Teaming up again with Hollywood heavyweight and '...Pelham 123' star Denzel Washington, Scott's locomotive adventure has everything a satisfactory action film needs; excitement, intensity and suspense. The addition of 'Star Trek' hero Chris Pine doesn't hurt the eyes or the script either. Loosely based on real events, 'Unstoppable' is packed with adrenaline-fuelled shocker moments and poignant stories. I guess Denzel the Dynamo has done it yet again.
Veteran railroad engineer Frank Barnes (Washington) and newly-qualified conductor Will Colson (Pine) have a rather eventful first day working together when two dim-witted railwaymen leave a 29-carriage train, aptly named "The Beast", unmanned and hurtling towards a populated area. Turning everything in its path into dust, it's now up to Barnes and Colson to race against the clock and stop the dangerous "missile" from causing a catastrophic tragedy. But with the odds and officials against them, will they be able to turn themselves from zeroes to heroes?
It's impossible not to applaud Denzel Washington's performance, and easy to see why Scott uses his talents again and again. His ability to be both a hard figure of authority and a soft, charming character make him a joy to watch. He's not afraid to play the hard-done-by, aging pensioner and the affable working class man. Pine adds youthful enthusiasm to the film and plays superbly off Washington. Neither actor tries too hard, yet both excel.
Not all the scenes in 'Unstoppable' are essential. It seems like having Barnes' daughters working in Hooters is just a shallow excuse to show scantily clad girls on the silver screen and draw in male audiences - highly unnecessary given that the film is centred on an enormous train. Pine's heroic jump with a battered leg is a bit unlikely (hey, an action film wouldn't be an action film without some fiercely unrealistic scenes, right?) while Scott's constant use of short scenes can get a bit irksome, especially when the main characters' stories are starting to come to life.
Easily one of Scott's best films to date, this rollercoaster train ride is hard to fault. It's one that will definitely keep you hanging off the edge of your seat, and on Wikipedia looking up the true story when you get home.