The image of a speeding train is one of the most iconic images in the history of cinema. In fact, one of the first projected movies in 1895, the birth of motion pictures, was a short French movie of a train coming into a station. Of course, whenever you also have a speeding train that’s out of control, you’ve got a great setup for a spectacular movie.
That’s exactly what you have with UNSTOPPABLE, which stars Denzel Washington and Chris Pine in an exciting, heroic movie about a runaway train.
The movie opens on a bright crisp morning in Pennsylvania. Will Colson (Pine), a young conductor in training, is assigned to work with grizzled veteran Frank Barnes, who’s being replaced by younger guys like Will to save money. Will and Frank are set to control an old axel engine with lots of miles. Frank makes it clear to Will that he’s irritated about being replaced by inexperienced youngsters like Will.
Down the line, a couple of train employees having breakfast are suddenly ordered to move the 777 and its cargo of dangerous chemicals to a different track, to make way for a field trip of elementary children. Miffed, the fat employee actually moving the train decides to take a shortcut. During the process, he forgets to lock down the throttle, and soon you’ve got a runaway train with deadly chemicals speeding toward Scranton, Penn. And other populated towns.
Eventually, of course, it comes down to Frank and Will to stop the train. Frank’s solution to stopping the train is controversial, however. Even he doesn’t know if it will work.
Meanwhile, back at the Yard, Connie Hooper, the knowledgeable, spunky manager in charge, tries to run interference for Frank and Will with her corporate bosses. Connie is helped by her assistant yardmaster, who finds a police escort to lend his help to Frank and Will when they encounter the big beast, No. 777.
Upping the stakes in UNSTOPPABLE is the fact that Frank’s two daughters and Will’s wife and son are among the potential victims of the runaway train and its deadly cargo. Regrettably, Will’s daughters work at Hooters, but nothing salacious is shown.
UNSTOPPABLE overcomes the predictability of its central situation by providing lots of exciting thrills. It’s a very heroic movie with strong, morally uplifting, redemptive themes. The acting is professional, which is something viewers have come to expect from movies with Denzel Washington. Regrettably, there’s a lot of foul language, including a bunch of strong profanities, so MOVIEGUIDE® issues a very strong caution for UNSTOPPABLE. That said, UNSTOPPABLE is one of the most exciting, most heroic movies of the year. Ya gotta love those runaway trains!
(BBB, CC, PP, LLL, VV, N, A, M) Very strong moral worldview with strong redemptive content of heroic men who sacrifice their lives for the safety of others, plus strong positive depiction of America, including an army veteran who risks his life to help stop a runaway train but he’s not one of the central heroes; about 38 obscenities (mostly h, s and d words but a few SOBs), nine GDs, five strong profanities mentioning Jesus, three light profanities, plus man appears to mouth the “f” word twice but he is not heard; plenty of intense action violence, but nothing gruesome or ultraviolent where men are killing men, such as man’s foot gets caught in drain, man dangling from helicopter trying to stop speeding train knocked unconscious, runaway train carrying deadly chemicals in danger of being derailed, death-defying leaps onto speeding train, man dangles from speeding train; no sex scenes but hero’s two daughters work at Hooters, though nothing salacious is shown or done; upper male nudity as man gets out of bed alone and perhaps some mild female cleavage but not shot in a salacious manner; light references to alcohol in background at restaurant; no smoking or drugs; and, young man talks about his family problems but they are resolved in the end and some resentment and jealousy at being forced to retire to save money and being replaced by a young, slightly political appointment.
UNSTOPPABLE stars Denzel Washington as Frank Barnes, a grizzled train engineer paired with a young conductor, Will Colson. Frank is irritated that Will is one of the young turks replacing veterans like Frank who’re being forced to retire to save money. Frank and Will’s day takes a turn for the worse when a speeding, runaway train carrying deadly chemicals is coming toward them. Eventually, of course, it comes down to Frank and Will to stop the train. Frank’s solution to stopping the train is controversial, however. Even he doesn’t know if it will work.
A speeding, runaway train is one of the most iconic images in the history of cinema. It’s also one of the most enjoyable. UNSTOPPABLE overcomes the predictability of its central situation by providing lots of exciting thrills. It’s a very heroic movie with strong, morally uplifting, redemptive themes. The acting is professional, which is something viewers have come to expect from movies with Denzel Washington. Regrettably, there’s a lot of foul language along the way, so MOVIEGUIDE® recommends extreme caution for UNSTOPPABLE. That said, UNSTOPPABLE is one of the most exciting, most heroic movies of 2010.