Review: Unstoppable

An adrenaline pumping action buddy film with good characterization and family friendly language (more than most), “Unstoppable” grabs you from the get go and never stops.  The story of two railroad workers, an engineer and conductor, who find themselves moving head on against an out of control train loaded with cars containing toxic and highly combustible chemicals, the movie unfolds rapidly with the bungling railroad management worried about themselves at every turn while the heroes try and stop a major disaster.  The train is barreling toward major population centers where their families live and it’s too heavy for conventional means to stop.  Their ingenuity and determination, along with that of a few collaborators, are the heart of this film.

Stars Denzel Washington and Chris Pine (the new Kirk from last year’s “Star Trek”) share the heroism nicely.  Both have nice backstories and strong action moments, and both, in the end, play key roles in saving the day.

My only criticism is that, even though this was based on a true story, the portrayal of the railroad management is played too much to stereotypes of the greedy idiots in suits.  Surely things were more complicated than that in real life.  At a short length of under 90 minutes, the writers and filmmakers could have rounded out of those parts a bit more to add depth to the film.

But it’s a minor quibble to a story which keeps your heart racing despite 80% of the screen time taking place aboard a single train between two men.  There are some nice action pieces here, and the writers have done a good job of explaining all the various science and realities of railroad technology which allow the situation to happen and impede attempts to stop the train.

The language is mild for an action flick as well.  A few four letter words scattered but not enough that I even remember them.  And none of the most memorable lines had them.  Given Hollywood’s tendency to equate four letter words with coolness, the filmmakers get high marks from me on this.

Highly recommended.

For what it’s worth…