Director Tony Scott clearly hasn’t had enough of Denzel Washington and locomotives; after their half-hearted remake of The Taking of Pelham 123, Unstoppable puts both director and star back on the tracks for a slick action film about a runaway train.
Scott’s film claims to be based on an actual incident where an unmanned train with an explosive cargo steamed through several states before being brought to a halt, but Unstoppable ends up as pure Hollywood moonshine. Writer Mark Bomback (Die Hard 4.0) at least creates a degree of blue-collar authenticity by reshaping the narrative as a buddy movie, with old hand Frank (Washington) and rookie Will (Star Trek’s Chris Pine) bonding as they attempt to board the errant locomotive.
Whatever the narrative deficiencies of his other work, Scott is consummate visual stylist, and creates a fresh, colourful palette that makes the ongoing pursuit fun to watch. Less effective is the use of commentary from various Fox News anchormen to explain the technicalities of the chase, constantly setting up obstacles for our heroes to surmount with predictable ease. Unstoppable is a fast and furious popcorn movie, but ultimately adds up to little more than an expensive thrill ride.
General release, Wed 24 Nov.