Trains used to be romantic. “Unstoppable” has none of that romance, however, and its train is simply an implement of destruction.
“Unstoppable” tells the story of an unmanned freight train speeding into an urban area with enough power and deadly chemical cargo to obliterate the town. The movie begins when a couple of rail yard workers (Ethan Suplee and T.J. Miller) allow a freight train to roll out of the yard without a crew. As it rolls on and hits 70 mph, the action ramps up.
Connie (Rosario Dawson), the rail yard boss, tries to get it off the main line, but Galvin (Kevin Dunn), a corporate type, overrides her control of the situation and does some dangerous and foolish things to try and stop the train. There seems to be no hope of stopping this runaway train, whose speed and power vaporizes anything in its way.
But there is another train on the line operated by Frank (Denzel Washington) and Will (Chris Pine). They form the classic old timer/young buck duo that tries to stop the train before it hits Will’s hometown and kills thousands.
There are attempts at “fleshing out” Washington and Pine’s characters, but the real story here is simply this train running headlong, like a guided missile, into a populated area. Director Tony Scott shoots the movie from all angles, and that’s what really makes the movie effective.
“Unstoppable” is the fifth collaboration for Scott and Washington. In their films, Washington is the Everyman forced into a circumstance that calls for him to rise up. “Unstoppable” showcases this again, and the addition of Pine as a younger version of that character adds to the mix in a fine way.
Contrasting the older African-American and the younger white kid speaks to us. We see how these two different people use their uniqueness and their commonality to meet a challenge beyond both of them. This challenge brings out their abilities to put aside their differences and overcome.
I liked “Unstoppable.” It’s a fine movie to see when you want to forget about the world, take a bucket of popcorn and get lost for a time. It’s a cliché, but “Unstoppable” really is an entertaining movie that takes you on an action-filled ride.
Mike Parnell is pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, Va.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of action and peril, and some language.
Director: Tony Scott
Writer: Mark Bomback
Cast: Denzel Washington: Frank; Chris Pine: Will; Rosario Dawson: Connie; Kevin Dunn: Galvin; Ethan Suplee: Dewey; T.J. Miller: Gilleece; Kevin Corrigan: Inspector Werner.
The movie’s website is here.
Michael Parnell is pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is married and has two boys. His love is for movies, and he can be found in a theater most Fridays.