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on November 26, 2010
Chris Pine has really become quite the actor. I saw him first as Captain Kirk in Star Trek, and since then, I have gone back to watch a couple of his earlier movies along with the lower-budget Sci-Fi flick, "Carriers." In "Unstoppable," he really turns on the heat, and side-by-side with good ol' Denzel, he shines.

Here was a movie that, while viewing the trailers, I was thinking, "Really? An entire movie about a runaway train?" Well, the resounding answer is, "YES!" An excellent back-story, along with a perfect amount of character-building to get us to really like these people, made for a foundation on which to build one heck of an over-the-top mountain of suspense! In addition to Chris, Denzel Washington was excellent, as always, and the rest of the acting crew, especially Rosario Dawson, were perfectly cast and on top of their game as well. The main character was more than just a menace, though, it was downright deadly...THE TRAIN!

A review I read on another site said that this movie started slow, but by the time Chris and Denzel's characters got in on the action it was non-stop fun. Well, I'm here to tell you that this movie gets rolling within the first five minutes...literally...rolling. The action and suspense builds by leaps and bounds, second-by-second. On more than one occasion, "Unstoppable" gets you to hold your breath in anticipation of the next scene, or simply steals it altogether. This one comes highly recommended.

This is now one of Tony Scott's masterpieces. Great work to all! Five stars! *****
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on February 9, 2011
Why is it that people love going to the movies so much? Escapism. This is exactly what this movie is. Great escapism.

This movie is pure fun. It's loud, fast, and once it gets going it keeps you at the edge of your seat until it's done. It's one of those movies where once you reach the end, you feel like you've been holding your breath the entire time. It gets your heart pounding.

Anyone who likes Speed would like this movie.
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on November 22, 2010
When human error leads to the spectacle of a fully powered, unmanned freight train carrying toxic materials at over 70 mph into a heavily populated area, a veteran railroader (Denzel Washington) and a rookie (Chris Pine) must work together to bring it to a halt while the nation watches on cable television.

I've been waiting for a really good runaway train movie since...well, "Runaway Train," and it's finally here. Director Tony Scott lets nothing stand in the way of the action, yet still manages to present characters we care about and an intelligent story (screenwriter Mark Bomback) that clearly explains the factors that led to the disaster and the steps taken to rectify it. The result is an efficient, thrilling action picture that is easy to recommend.
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on March 10, 2011
on the edge of your seat
good action
not dirty or gross
intense
with a dose of heartwarming here and there
i would see it again
I am also a Washington fan
It also made me want to see Star Trek again
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on April 29, 2013
Great pulse pounding action, terrifically-filmed action sequences, and a great film for a family popcorn and movie night. The acting by the leads is good, too. Much better than the critics gave them credit for. That said, the screenplay lacks depth, and the GAPING plot holes and inconsistencies become very obvious on the second and subsequent viewings. SPOILER ALERT The control levers moving by themselves bothered me even on the first time through -- in the real incident, the engineer set the controls in the wrong position -- because the controls have detents to prevent that from happening. The (fictional) town of Stanton became the largest city in Pennsylvania after Philly (much larger than either Pittsburgh or Allentown), and train and locomotive braking systems are improperly represented: they need air to hold them off, not to apply them like a truck. This last detail, while it may not be as obvious to non-train buffs, still begs the question: if you're going to be down between the locos monkeying with coupler pins, why not just hook up the air lines (althought you would really need to OPEN the air cock and bleed off the air to stop the train), and finally, diesel electric locos like the ones in the movie generate a set amount of tractive effort in each throttle setting. If you add weight or drag, the loco slows down. Period. It's not cruise control. END SPOILERS. Still, in spite of problems with the plot, it's a really entertaining movie and well worth seeing. And BTW, if you're wondering about the dedication, the film is dedicated to the wife of the man who ran down the real runaway (Crazy Eights --CSX SD40-2 #8888), and Denzel Washington's agent, both of whom died while the film was in production.
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VINE VOICEon November 26, 2010
Okay, never mind that you've seen the plot before; this is a fun,action filled movie that at times had me gripping my husband's hands tight enough to hurt. The premise is almost cliche, although it is loosely based on an actual incident. Due to the incompetence of two railyard workers, a train carrying toxic materials takes off without an engineer and heads for a densely populated area of Pennsylvania. If not stopped, it could kill tens of thousands of people.

The two main characters are played very ably by Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. Washington plays an experienced conductor who has been pink-slipped by the RR company. Pine plays a brash young, newly trained conductor who still has a lot to learn, and he doesn't actually appreciate Washington's character pointing it out every time he goofs up.

Okay, forget that you know the two characters will develop a mutual respect and work together to heroically stop the runaway train, thereby saving Washington's job with the RR company. This is a fun movie to watch and the suspense is palpable. Nor does it pull all the expected cliche strings- it does miss a few here and there. It was a fun movie to watch and even though I knew how it was going to end, the suspense in seeing how, exactly, they stopped the train kept me on the edge of my seat.
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on August 17, 2014
Any story that revolves around the issue of a runaway train definitely makes for one of those ever-so-predictable cycles where you have the rapidly-rising tension in a race against time, the climax where the worst is over and finally the point at which the heroes are praised. I will agree that this movie is far from the best of its kind, but considering the incredibly low standards of a number of action/adventure films nowadays, I would have to say that this is definitely a standout gem for the times.

We have a runaway train that is described as "a missile the size of the Chrysler Building" that is carrying tons of toxic chemicals that would prove catastrophic if the train goes over a curve adjacent to a bridge at too high of a speed, and it must be stopped. After a front-end intercept by a pair of locomotives leaves a veteran engineer dead, and a de-railing device proves to be a miserable failure, it is up to two men, a rookie and an experienced professional, to bring this speeding metal giant to a halt. After much of a struggle, the pair finally succeed in their mission, and the monstrous train is brought to its knees.

In a general sense, despite what some critics might like to say to bash the "predictability" and "unoriginality" of the plot and outcome of this movie, I think that anyone who likes dramatic adventure films can really enjoy it for what it is. I definitely give it a solid recommendation for action/adventure movie lovers to add it to their collection.
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on May 22, 2011
Unstoppable (action, drama, thriller)
Directed by Tony Scott
Starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pine and Rosario Dawson

20th Century Fox | 2010 | 98 min | Rated PG-13 | Released Feb 15, 2011

Video:
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles:
English SDH, Cantonese, French, Mandarin (Traditional), Portuguese, Spanish

Discs:
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Digital copy

The Film 4/5

After directing movies about planes, cars and a submarine, Tony Scott's last two efforts have involved trains. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 used a train as a setting, but Scott goes a step further in Unstoppable, making a train one of the movies' stars. Trains are big. Scott has Washington walk in front of a few at the start of the movie to show us just how big they are.

An irresponsible worker makes two mistakes that set events in motion, deciding to move a train without connecting the air brakes and then leaving the cabin to pull a lever at the side of the track. The train is moving too fast for him to get back on and pulls away under full power.

Will Colson (Pine) has been a conductor for four months. He reports to work and faces resentment from the older workers. They assume he's inexperienced and think that younger, cheaper workers may be a threat to their own job security. He's assigned to work with Frank Barnes (Washington), who has similar feelings. Colson makes a couple of mistakes and Barnes thinks his fears are justified.

The runaway train is initially thought to be a "coaster," but it soon becomes clear that it's under power and capable of traveling at approximately 70 mph. An early effort to board it fails, so a decision has to be made. Yard Master Connie Hooper (Dawson) suggests derailing it before it reaches populated areas. Her bosses disagree because they are worried about the financial cost.

Various other attempts fail to stop the train and it's left to our heroes, Barnes and Colson, to try their own solution. They give chase in their train and plan to link up with the runaway and use their own brakes to stop it.

Other factors are also thrown into the mix. A group of children on a school trip are on a train on the same line as the runaway and the threat of a collision is high. The runaway is pulling half a mile of freight cars and several contain volatile chemicals. The track leads to a curve which has a speed limit of 15 mph and it's close to a heavily populated town.

Just enough time is given to establishing the back stories of Barnes and Colson and it explains their motivations for chasing down the runaway. The tension builds throughout the second half of the movie and the action rarely allows us to take a breather. Failed attempts early in the story show us that our heroes are in danger if they continue the pursuit, but the alternative is a potentially huge disaster should the train derail.

The story doesn't sound very complicated and it isn't. The action takes center stage, but what did you expect? I found myself engaged throughout and the three main actors put in good performances. I'm rarely disappointed by Washington and I also liked Pine and Dawson here.

Video Quality 4.5/5
Unstoppable looks good on Blu-ray. Scott seems to have made some of the colors unnaturally bright, making everything stand out. The train in particular looks imposing with its red and yellow paintwork. Detail is excellent throughout and the print is clean. It felt like most of the action was taking place right in front of me.

Audio Quality 5/5
Nominated for a sound editing Oscar, Unstoppable sounds great too. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix places us in the middle of the action. Trains aren't just big, they're heavy. The track makes us aware of that with a pounding rumble that will give your sub a good workout. It's backed up by the squeal of brakes and metal-on-metal. Dialogue comes across clearly and there's plenty of supporting effects from the rears.

Special Features 3.5/5

The special features focus heavily on the technical aspects of making the movie. Scott goes into detail about how he likes shots to be real rather than CGI. They include:

Audio Commentary with Tony Scott.

Tracking the Story: Unstoppable Script Development with Scott and writer Mark Bomback.

The Fastest Track: Unleashing Unstoppable (30 minutes)

Derailed: Anatomy of a Scene (10 minutes)

Hanging Off the Train: Stunt Work (14 minutes)

On the Rails with the Director and Cast (13 minutes)

Trailer

Sneak Peaks

BD Live: Feeling the Heat - Unstoppable Pyrotechnics (3 minutes)

IMDb Live Lookup

Digital Copy

Overall score 4/5

Action movies can be dumb and full of clumsy exposition, but Unstoppable isn't one of those movies. Scott has made a largely believable story which includes characters with a little depth. It has plenty of replay value because I have already watched it three times and it's still an enjoyable ride. If you like movies such as Speed, you'll probably get something out of this.
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on December 29, 2010
How long has it been since you've seen a flick where you didn't have to think that much? Where you could walk out of the theater and say "Hey, that was fun". Well, this is it. Chris Pine says hello to Denzel Washington and that's about all the calmness you're going to get. 90 minutes on the fast track.
That's why this film deserves 5 stars. A true action movie that will give you the best thrill for your buck.
Mr. Washington and Mr. Pine work well off each other. Rosario Dawson and Lew Temple brighten up the storyline with some great character portrayals. Mark Bomback has written some great dialogue that's minimal, to the point, and fully understandable. Credit must be given to Tony Scott and Ben Seresin for not going haywire with shaky handheld camera techniques.
This is fun entertainment.
See it.
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on May 19, 2014
Unstoppable is action packed but suffers from Hollywood formula approach. The formula approach detracts from the story telling. The result is a predictable disaster story with archetypical bosses fouling things up and everyday workers end up saving the day. It is a good train story and rail fans will like it for that. Movie goers will appreciate Denzel Washington in a potentially magnificent role, as an underplayed pro who knows his job as engineer. The glue that holds this film together is the train itself filled out with bits of Washington who doesn't get enough screen time. Chris Pine gets the air time but with a poorly written character, can't hold your interest. A great supporting cast is out for lunch most of the time. The real star is the runaway train. Had the producers known much about trains and focused on Washington's character, we'd have had a more dramatic story in play. Hollywood ends up tripping over themselves as if they'd tied their shoes tougher. I wanted to see more of Denzel Washington's character and less of Chris Pine's. Rosario Dawson can do more than carry donuts into the office. And Lew Temple and Kevin Corrigan could have added so much more than eat breakfast at a diner and be nuisance in the office. Still, Train enthusiasts will probably score the film much lower but will want to see this film for it's behind the scenes view into train operations. Everyone else will like it for the action.
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