Review in a Hurry: An unmanned train full of toxic waste is hurtling through the countryside. But fortunately, two railroad workers who look a lot like Malcolm X and the young Captain Kirk are on the case. Director Tony Scott's almost family-friendly adventure plays like the coolest storyline you ever cooked up as a kid playing with toy trains.
The Bigger Picture: Most kids we've known who had train sets liked nothing better than to crash the cabooses into each other. We're thinking Tony Scott was once like that, too, because he's just created the most expensive game of crashing trains ever made.
You might think that there's only so much to be done with this story--people go after the train, and they either stop it or they don't, right? Well, let's just say you'd be surprised how many other things a train can crash into along the way.
Denzel Washington has officially now become '80s Danny Glover: the retiring veteran hero who's getting too old for this, um, crap. Chris Pine ain't Mel Gibson, thank goodness, but he's the young punk who can learn a thing or two from the codger if he can put his own hot-headed ego--and cell phone--on hold.
What's surprising is how long it takes our heroes to get in gear and go after the lethal locomotive, which after a while starts to resemble an angry, wild animal.
At first, it's up to Rosario Dawson to make some calls and bring in Lew Temple, a character actor you might remember from Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects. (You may not be surprised to know that he plays a redneck with a ponytail here.) Temple's character speeds around in his truck trying to get everybody away from the train tracks...but how can he succeed when we're really waiting for Denzel and Chris to save the day?
By the way, Tony Scott: Love the subplot about Denzel's daughters working at Hooters. Desperation play to bring in some sex appeal, but it totally works.
Though it's not quite as fun as Scott's previous train adventure, The Taking of Pelham 123, folks who expect to enjoy Unstoppable will get exactly what they were hoping for.
The 180--a Second Opinion: This may seem like an odd criticism, but considering that Unstoppable could have been that rare action movie suitable for all ages (no shooting or fistfights), it's an odd choice to have Chris Pine swear so much. Feels like a gratuitous move to garner a PG-13 and avoid a kiddie stigma.