Unexceptional. When two of a movie's three Executive Producers are
Rick Yorn and Jeff Kwatinetz and the movie is dedicated on screen to
Ed Limato, you know it's going to be pure Hollywood product. And in
fact, this comes right from the Tony Scott action template, with way
too many pauses (some in the very heat of the thrills) for who-cares
personal backstories involving a restraining order (for Pine) and a
single father (that'd be Washington). As for those thrills, the
problem is that all the big set pieces seem the same: the aerials over
the train, the sparks flying off the wheels, the old-time-serial leaps
from boxcar to tanker and truck to train. You're set up for a big
finish at a massive trestle curve — but the scene comes and goes with
just a brief “whew”, then keeps on going and going like… a runaway
train! Denzel and Chris are way better than this movie deserves; they
are easily the best thing about it. — Jeff Schultz

The only UNSTOPPABLE part of this movie is the never ending use of “news” reports to move the story along, but more on that later.  This is a better than average action thriller and what makes it better than average are Denzel Washington, Chris Pine and Rosario Dawson.  The story is based on a real runaway train incident that occurred in 2001.  The characters are stereotypes.. the veteran who's facing forced retirement training the new guy who seems to know it all and is dealing with personal issues.  The supervisor caught in the middle (Dawson) and the loathsome executive who puts profits above people (Kevin Dunn).  It is all fairly routine but engaging.  If they didn't have A-List actors this would have been monumentally awful, a worse disaster than a real train derailment.  But tony Scot knows action and keeps it moving at a brisk pace.  Back to my initial complain about the use of “news” reports as a storytelling device.  STOP!!! It's lazy.  rather than having to think about plotting and arc, lazy screenwriters use this device to advance the story.  In this case it's just too much.  And in case you didn't realize this was a 20th Century Fox production, there are enough Fox News bugs and Breaking News billboards to bludgeon you over the head with it.  And this puts real news reporters in the uncomfortable position of having to act.  And in case you weren't sure, they're not actors (and some of the too earnest stand-ups prove my point).  So, learn how to write and stop falling back on this “news” device to tell your story! — Alan Yudman

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