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Are you familiar with the slow rising rumblings of a freight train you feel as it approach unseen, then the explosion of sound and blur as the train as speeds by in front of you at the crossing? This film feels that way. Knowing that the plotline deals with a multi-ton freight train “missile the size of the Chrysler building”, the film slowly idles along just until the aforementioned train leaves the train depot on its own power due to human miscalculation and stupidity. Once the train is gone, the slow rumblings of suspense and tension resonate and build until the “unstoppable” conclusion.
Director Tony Scott re-teams with his favorite go-to actor Denzel Washington, 28-year veteran train engineer Frank, to bring to life a story based on true events of a runaway train in Pennsylvania. Chris Pine, the new Captain James T. Kirk, comes aboard as well as rookie conductor Will, assigned to Frank for a training haul. Both Frank and Will come to the locomotive with their own baggage and issues. The older engineer tries to pass down some knowledge to the rookie, even though the rookie’s “yellow vest” is a symbol of the corporation trying to force him and his kind into early retirement. The young conductor deals with an deteriorating marriage, a restraining order and a job that was handed to him by his industry connected family.
Adding to the cast is Rosario Dawson as Connie, Ethan Suplee as the depot engineer Dewey who starts the triple 7 running as a crazy train, and his sidekick Gilleece who wanted to connect the air brakes, but didn't. Kevin Dunn stars as corporate operations manager Galvin whose days in the front office had made him soft.
The most important character in the story is the Triple 7 itself, a menacing "unstoppable" force of steel and diesel. Although inanimate, it moves beyond just a machine. All attempts to slow its march of destruction through Pennsylvania are merely annoyances as it barrels down the rails at 70 to 80 miles per hour with 8 cars of toxic materials on its back. Choppers trying to drop an engineer onto the Triple 777 meets with injury, the so-called "Derailer" set out by the corporation fails to live up to its name, and eventually all hope ends up resting on the shoulders of Frank and Will. How will their "little engine that could" even make a mark against the out of control goliath locomotive? As the tension builds, so does the excitement. "Unstoppable" is a wild ride on the rails!
Worth: Matinee and DVD