“Unstoppable” is how my mind is working at the moment to try and come up with the right words to describe my feelings for Tony Scott’s and Denzel Washington’s fifth outing together.
Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not that I was white knuckling it in the theatre with heart palpitations do to the gripping material spooling out before me. It was more for the sheer mixed bag guttural smorgasbord that my mind was dealing.
“Unstoppable” isn’t a bad film; quite the opposite, it is an entertaining and fun ride of the MTV bubblegum variety. With all it had going for it, premise, director and stars, I just wanted to like it more than I did, which is a shame.
Now when you say that you have Malcolm X and Captain Kirk going up against a runaway train, I’m sold, no if ands or buts. Right there you should have gold, a sure fire grand slam. Between the two of them you have enough charisma to hold the attention span of an ADD afflicted squirrel. Whenever the two are on screen you feel the chemistry and get lost with the characters and the tension of the situation that they involve themselves in.
While with the two of them or in the control room you’re there, glued to the events unfolding before you. You’re biting your nails as they try to figure out the best course of action in dealing with this “Unstoppable” disaster on wheels.
The issue lies with the dead filler and unrequired exposition that are riddled throughout the film distracting the audience from the focal point of this thriller.
It almost feels like Scott has such little faith in his subject matter that he needs to hold your hand and coddle you through till the end. While using every last trick he has in his cinematic arsenal. All in the hopes of keeping your invested. In most instances he fails.
To too many underdeveloped side characters and hollow clichéd plot devices, he unintentionally derails (pun intended) the magnitude of the situation. If he had focused on his two stars and let their character interaction tell the story and treated the train as an ominous character instead of just a poorly conceived convention “Unstoppable” would be just that.
The film had an opportunity to be great but there were so many missteps on Mr. Scott’s and writer Mark Bomback’s part that it just wasn’t so, leaving us with a forgettable weekend popcorn masher. This isn’t always a bad thing. So for a lazy afternoon or a fun date night, check your brain at the door, grab yourself a tub of kernels, a 32 oz. and enjoy yourself.
“Unstoppable” has a running time of 110 minutes, is rated PG-13 and is playing at Trademark Cinemas Victory Square Stadium 9 at 12:20 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:40 p.m., 7:10 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.