Inspired by the true story of the unmanned train incident in Ohio in 2001, director Tony Scott’s latest film “ Unstoppable (rated PG-13) is entertaining and kept me on the edge of my seat. Denzel Washington, Chris Pine (Star Trek) and Rosario Dawson (Seven Pounds) star in this true story of an unmanned, half mile long train charging through Pennsylvania while carrying a toxic load of molten phenol.
We begin in Fuller Yard in Northern Pennsylvania when Dewey, played by Ethan Suplee, a train yard employee, is ordered by the yardmaster (Dawson) to move a train to a different track to make room for an outgoing train full of school children on a field trip. While moving the train, against a co-workers advice, Dewey sets the gears to a low speed and jumps off to switch the tracks leaving it unmanned. While Dewey is off the train the levers fall of their own devices leaving it to pick up speed and causing Dewey to unsuccessfully re-board the train thus allowing it to leave the yard unmanned.
Meanwhile, Will Colson (Pine), a young conductor four months out of training, and veteran engineer Frank Barnes (Washington) begin their day in Southern Pennsylvania with a routine drive of their locomotive to a nearby yard where they pick-up their train for the day. Only after attaching their train to the locomotive and beginning their drive are Colson and Barnes given orders to pull off the track. While idling in the siding, they witness the unmanned train speed past them. Hearing of several failed attempts by the company to stop its runaway train Barnes decides to put his train in reverse and catch the unmanned train, coupling it to his and stopping it from behind.
Knowing full well “Unstoppable” would be predictable I still experienced the intended suspense. Washington, Pines and Dawson perform their roles beautifully keeping me on edge for the full hour and a half. While I do not believe “Unstoppable” must be viewed on the big screen I do recommend it at least be viewed, by ages Jr. High and up, as a weekend rental. There are a few swear words spoken in fits of frustration, and Barnes’ daughters earn their way through college working as waitresses at Hooters, but overall it is clean and focused mainly on the action. (Reviewed by Stephanie Spurgetis)