Thursday, February 9, 2012

3 Short Paragraphs: Unstoppable


2010, Tony Scott (DejaVuDominoMan on Fire) -- Netflix

It's funny but when most people think of Tony Scott, the other Scott brother, they  think of his post-Man on Fire days, the distinct saturation factor and ... well, Denzel Washington.  But think back a little further and you will see a lot of the staples of the 80s and 90s, like True RomanceThe Last Boy Scout and The Hunger. I would say his brother is known for the bigger films, the flashier films, like Gladiator or Black Hawk Down but Tony has been doing a lot more work over the long period.

This one's another Denzel vehicle but not a cop story. This time it's a working man hero thriller. You wouldn't think such a plot would allow for the signature Scott look, the cut scenes, grainy angle and saturated excitement and the pulse pounding tension.  But it does, with the speeding train taking on the role of the antagonist that he can dose with his visual cues.  So, the movie is not so much the train wreck it could have been, hyuck hyuck hyuck. Besides, as the poster shows, there is ACTION, like trains crashing into cars and people running on top of them and others JUMPING ON TO THEM. I have a feeling that poster is from the Quebec DVD box.

So, really, the plot is basically this: two doofuses (is Ethan Suplee doomed to idiot roles post-My Name is Earl ??) let a train get away from them. Not such a bad idea, or they wouldn't have hopped off while it was moving, but they left the throttle increasing and well, there is a nasty explosive chemical in some of the cars.  Thus begins a story how a seasoned veteren (do I have to tell you it's Denzel?) of driving trains from one yard to another, between actual use, matches wits with the brave & plucky union guy (Chris Pine) as well as the corporate establishment.  Huh? It's not a seasoned union guy?  Is the Hollywood establishment now anti-union after the Writers Guild strike a few years ago? Anywayz, the focus is age & wisdom over training & youth. Surprisingly, Scott gets some pretty decent acting out of the low key characters, especially Rosario Dawson as the ... train dispatcher?  Her entire role takes place in a control room where she is trying to understand the situation and save lives, not dollars. I have always liked all-dialogue roles; gives the actor a chance to work.  And of course, they save the train and all the little children.