1 million tons of steel. 100,000 people at risk. 100 minutes to impact. 1 boring ass film.
Unstoppable is a textbook example of what happens when a quality cast is thrust onto the set of a script lacking direction. Even the legendary acting of Denzel Washington fails to compensate for the mediocre vision and imagination of where the hell the film is going. The fact is that Unstoppable never really leaves the station. It sits there idle, lingering on the same, ridiculously drab storyline which can be summed up in one quick paragraph (or by renting Speed). I find this fascinating since the story itself is based on actual events. I mean, if someone deemed a news story interesting enough to lift it and turn it into a blockbuster film, said film should somehow end up just as interesting right? Yet the plot goes nowhere more than the track the film’s runaway train ventures down. The writers and directors attempt to overcome this by adding a handful of knee slappers here and there throughout the film, but all the giggles in the world can’t fix a lack of interesting momentum.
Furthermore, while the few minor sub-plots that are thrown at the viewer are extremely thought provoking, they are never properly developed in a manner that contributes to the film. This could be because this is a formula film, aimed at doing nothing more than sending viewers on a 90 minute roller coaster ride of adventure. However, if you’re going to dangle tidbits of life topics throughout the movie, ranging from the hardship of relationships or the thanklessness of working for the same company to simply be shown the door early, expand these thoughts into something more than a smoking gun with no plans of investigation.
The film’s only redeeming quality comes in the form of acting. The supporting cast, featuring names like Rosario Dawson and Ethan Suplee convincingly deliver their performances. Dawson flawlessly plays Connie, a spitfire, left cleaning up the fallout of Suplee’s bumbling errors. Her snarky demeanor towards a pack of self-centered upper management assholes are worth cheering for even if the film itself isn’t.
In her corner in the fight against upper management (as well as the fight against trains wiping out the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania) are Denzel Washington and Chris Pine’s character, Frank and Will (respectively). Creatively, regardless of Washington and Pine being the “stars” of the picture, more than half of the film’s adventure happens without them even knowing that the plot, which happens to be impending doom due to the runaway train, is happening. It is only when they’re told to get the hell off the track that they become aware of the emergency and decide to take the situation into their own hands. The interactions of these two characters are extremely amusing and worth watching. Their characters are believable. Washington’s character alone is worth checking out, as he checks his larger than life personality at the door and casts a very approachable and almost charming acting job. While it won’t be winning him any awards, it is safe to say he certainly earned his paycheck. However, that alone does not make this film worth it’s cost. Regardless of it being an unpopular vote, my advice would be to help blockbuster stay in business and wait until this film is a rental.
I give Unstoppable 1 railroad tie out of 5