The Movie: 7/10
Tony Scott gave me True Romance, so I always look forward to any movie with his name attached to it. Yes, there was Domino and Deja Vu, but I’m the forgiving type, occasionally. I was looking forward to some good solid quality action, and that’s what Unstoppable is, pure and simple. There’s enough character development and touching base with the human condition without making it too involved. The train is the star of the show, and if anyone tries to tell you any different, they were not paying attention.
The story is reasonable, not a deep thinking venture, but a moment in time, human vs. machine tug of war (I just spelled ‘of’ ‘ov’ by the way….the brain has a way of slipping to the most basic mistakes sometimes. Need more tea. Need more tea) and there’s just a hint of something more, but not enough to overshadow the UNSTOPPABLE TRAIN. We get a corporation who’s bottom line is rearing it’s ugly head. We get the personal drama of a troubled marriage, an aging railroad worker, the politics of the workplace, even a bit of working man heroism, but none of that flooded my mind when I was watching and it still doesn’t take over when I am thinking back about the movie as a whole.
An early morning mishap at a train yard kick starts the slow moving and not yet unstoppable train. The motion builds slowly as we are introduced to our other characters. Let’s face it, the train gets top billing. Denzel Washington and Chris Pine are our leading men while Rosario Dawson holds the fort back at control central as the middle woman between good sense and corporate idiocracy.
I did enjoy everyone. I’m not a fan of Dawson, but this made me want to see her again. More drama, more of her letting her character be a real person and not so cartoony or “Attention attention this is Rosario Dawson being the hot chick, too cool for school”. She reigned it in and I was always looking forward to her from scene to scene.
Washington is who he is. I do like to watch him, and this time he’s solid as always. I just think he has moved into the “I can be the aging wise man in the story with a flashy smile and contemplative stare when needed”. He’s totally believable, has an ease about him that I think I have just grown to expect, which is good for this role, but I hope it doesn’t continue through every movie in the future. The Book of Ely showed his grit is still there so let’s hope for more more more and not just the sage advice man.
Chris Pine has the potential to be annoying, I have no idea why, but thankfully he’s not at all. He does a very nice job of offering up the tension behind his character that existed before we met him, his ignorance of adequate training of the job, and being weathered beyond his years. He does a good job because I was torn to like or dislike his character not like or dislike HIM. I think that’s quite a lot to accomplish with the sparse amount of dialog everyone gets in this story.
The reason I don’t go into detail about the people and their roles is because they are truly peripheral to the most important thing in this movie, the train. It’s massively intimidating and without any kind of agenda or reasons, it’s the bad guy I love to see in a movie. It can’t even be called a bad guy really. It is what it is, a huge moving hunk of steel and that’s it. It’s awesome. It’s unstoppable…..of course. The action come from all the shots of the moving train, from the air, from the ground, from on the train, from helicopters, from along side the road as it speeds past. It’s the kind of action I really enjoy.
There is something boring about a car chase, even with some similar elements as this runaway train, but this is exciting and riveting. You might have the occasional eye-roll for some of the choices characters in the movie make to stop the train, just get over it and move on. None of it really matters, focus on the train. You can pretend it’s a symbol of impending doom or unstoppable human destruction or something hokey like that if you want, but I am pretty sure it’s just a train.
It was a very satisfying movie watching experience overall. It’s exciting and even made me wiggle in my seat a couple times biting my already bitten nails. Tony Scott does a bit of his flashy camera work, but it’s restrained enough to keep things moving without being obnoxious (cough Domino/Deja Vu cough). I always want lots of character development and dialog in movies, but if more action movies were like Unstoppable, I might find room in my heart for them too:)
- Audio Commentaries – There is a focus on technical when it comes to Tony Scott talking about his movies.
- The Fastest Track: Unleashing Unstoppable – This is a good look behind the scenes. I do appreciate the extensive views of camera crews and interviews with the director.
- Derailed: Anatomy Of A Scene – How do you make it look like a train derailed on the big screen? Derail a train in real life.
- Hanging Off The Train: Stunt Work – There are lots of stunts in this movie and the ‘talent’ is always involved.
- On The Rails With The Director & Cast – Talking talking 🙂
- Theatrical Trailer – Hmm
- BD Live Exclusive Featurette – One extra, but if you are on BD Live, check it out.
- Digital Copy – Yes, a copy of the movie for your devices.
Cover Art and Menus: 3/10
I would not have this cover as a poster, however, that image just above this section, that one I do like. If only I had pursued a career in covers the whole world would be different 🙂 The menu is functional, nothing much going on which is fine with me. Hey, even the image below this section is a good one for a poster or the cover…come on people!!!
Audio & Video: 10/10 (By Ascully)
Unstoppable is a runaway train of a Blu-Ray disc (see what I did?) with outstanding picture & audio quality throughout its 98 minute runtime. Tony Scott is known for stylish visuals and while present here, Unstoppable is his most toned down film to date (this is no Domino, thankfully). On the other hand though Tony does amp up the color somewhat with a visually impressive primary color display that is exemplary. Black levels are rich and deep and fine detail is astounding. Check out any of the scenes in the main cab of the train to see an example of almost 3D visuals at work here.
Audio is handled by the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 codec and will turn your living room into a bona-fide train yard. We are talking reference quality audio here that will blow you away. Unstoppable was nominated for an Academy Award this year and the Blu-Ray showcases the sound design in a big bad way. We watched the film during a thunder storm and never once actually heard the thunder outside the film was so loud and booming.
Overall for me, I love Tony Scott and love this movie, I think (True Romance aside, nothing will ever beat it) this is his action opus! Pacing. Camera work and acting were all spot on. It’s almost like Pelham 123 was a practice lap to get him used to filming trains before the real fun begins…
It’s Tony Scott. It’s action well done. It’s got some good extras. I would have this on my shelf for the right price. If you find it for around 12-15 bucks in a few months, go for it. Right now it’s $20 and even though I really enjoyed it, that’s just a tiny bit too much for me to put out on one movie at the moment. If you just want to dabble in the runaway train experience AND soak up more of Scott’s movies, rent it along with True Romance, and Clay Pigeons.
Overall Score 7/10