Oscar® Nominee for Best Sound Editing
Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
Action Thriller Drama
1 hr. 38 min.
Year of Release:
November 6, 2010 (sneak preview)
November 12, 2010 (wide—3,100+ theaters)
DVD: February 15, 2011
FEAR, Anxiety and Worry… What does the Bible say? Answer
“1,000,000 tons. 100,000 lives. 100 minutes.”
Based on a real life runaway train incident in Toledo, Ohio, on May 15, 2001, “Unstoppable” is a thrilling movie full of high-powered action and nail-biting suspense. On that fateful day in May, a 47-car CSX locomotive left a Toledo, Ohio rail yard without an engineer and wasn’t stopped until it had run 66 miles through three counties. For the film, the area has been changed to Pennsylvania, names have been changed, but the story remains full of drama and real life portrayals.
Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) is a 28 year veteran of the railroad industry and widowed father to two teenaged daughters. On a work day that starts out just like any other, Frank finds himself teamed with a new trainee named Will Colson (Chris Pine) who has his own life issues. The relationship starts out strained, as both men attempt to find their ground with one another, but soon a much bigger issue starts to loom over their lives.
Frank and Will’s train is on the same main track as an unmanned runaway train which is headed toward the highly populated area of Stanton. The escaped train, effectively the length of a skyscraper, is traveling at brake neck speeds, has no air brakes, and is carrying multiple freight cars full of hazardous chemicals, which are destined to explode, if derailed. After two failed attempts from corporate are made to stop the speeding train, and the loss of his best friend who tries to stop the death “missile” during those attempts, Frank takes matters into his own hands.
With support from yard master Connie Hooper (Rosario Dawson), the woman at the monitors and controls of all the trains in their part of the state, Frank and Will decide it’s up to them to stop the warp speed train using their own ingenuity, by latching onto it from behind—a risky and death-defying concept on it’s own.
Action-packed from start to finish, we are involved in every gritty three dimensional way, as we ride along with Frank and Will racing the clock, as they chase down that 1 million tons of seemingly unstoppable steel. Every moment of this film is spent on compelling drama and thrilling energy, as the characters vehemently risk their lives to save 100,000 other’s—their loved ones watching in horror while the media plasters the rescue mission on national television.
“Unstoppable” is rated PG-13, for sequences of action and peril, and some language; I believe it to be correct and caution parents to be prepared to making their families subject to high powered and very realistic scenes of death, near death, blood, injury and intense perils. There is a scene where a character gets his foot clamped between two rail cars. There is, also, a scene where a character is thrown into the glass windshield of a speeding train. There are several scenes where cars are crashed and blown up, and one scene where a speeding locomotive is blown up in a ball of fire and a character is killed in the process. This film is dedicated from the first scenes to the finish to getting the viewer involved on a very vivid and extremely realistic level, as if you are riding the rails right along with its characters. If parents feel their 13 year olds, and especially younger children, cannot take this type of experience, be advised.
As the profession in the railroad industry is portrayed in “Unstoppable,” one must consider it is unique and the people of a certain caliber, not unlike that of police officer or fireman. The characters in this story are like family and live by a special code. and the language used at times is brash. I counted the words a** (7), hell (24), sh*t (11), d*mn or d*m it (2), son-of-a-bi**h (11), the f-word once, along with the finger being used several times. Other objectionable language is ball buster, p*ssy (as in being a coward), j*ck off, numb nuts, and other such explicatives. The Lord’s name is taken in vain three times, as well.
On the other hand, this film is an excellent portrait of human beings who are willing to sacrifice their lives to save other lives on a grand scale. It shows bravery, unselfishness and great love on the part of the main characters, as well as others on the sidelines. It is a wonderful example of forgiveness and pure valor. And I am happy to note the end is a happy one, although some may feel it contrived, we must keep in mind this script was based on a real life event, and that, in itself, proves that we do have positive outcomes in the face of insurmountable odds in our very real world. It underscores the fortitude and resolution of the human spirit.
For anyone who enjoyed movies like “Speed,” this film is for you. I enjoyed it and found it well worth the price of admission. Fasten your seat belts!
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.