This film, based on actual events, suggests what happens when determination and experience are brought forward to solve a pending disaster. All of the elements – story, character, action, and cinematography – come together as director Tony Scott takes Mark Bomback’s script and spins a great story into an action flick that delivers some fine entertainment.
The story begins when an engineer (Ethan Suplee) mistakenly sets a train in motion. It happens when Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) takes on a new guy, Will Colson (Chris Pine), on another train. We soon discover the two trains are on the same track. To add to the thrills, the unmanned train is carrying toxic chemicals and is headed towards a not so rural area. The person in charge of operations for the railroad, Connie Hooper (Rosario Dawson), is alerted of the situation and discusses with other personnel how to handle the situation. Meanwhile, an executive in the main office, Galvin, played by Kevin Dunn, is more concerned about the cost of losing the train than arriving at a solution that would be beneficial for everyone. After failed attempts at stopping the train (which was warned by Barnes from his 20 plus years of railroading experience that everyone fails to listen to), Hooper begins to take Barnes’ experience into play, despite the continued hesitations from Galvin. A new plan is made on how to slow the train down and it begins to work for a little bit. However, a new plan is made and Barnes and Colson spring to action as a final attempt to stop the train.
Scott uses masterful shots of the train speeding down the track as news choppers hover around providing coverage of the impending disaster. The high-speed velocity of the train adds to the action and builds up, as the train gets closer to the populated town. Character development is somewhat lacking in this film, but that doesn’t seem to really matter as the attention is focused on the actions Barnes and Colson and their actions on stopping the train. There are some character moments from the pair that dives into their lives and explains where they are at that particular time and place, and that only adds to caring what happens to them and whether or not they will succeed. Galvin is your typical greedy executive. Hooper is the character that seems to lean towards her own judgment or executive judgment rather than the experienced employee and soon changes her views. These characters, and the supporting cast, play their characters well enough to care about a few and add to the tension to dislike a few (like Galvin).
Unstoppable is a full throttle train ride of action, tension, a little suspense, and some humor thrown in to make this film an enjoyable film and delivers enough to keep you on the track.