Saturday, November 13, 2010


The Flick: Unstoppable

The Actors: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson, Ethan Supplee and Kevin Dunn (played any cool guys lately, fellas?), and Lew Temple.

The Dealio: 'Inspired by a true story', Unstoppable recounts the classic race against time scenario- this time, pitting two railroad employees having a worse than usual first day as partners, against a runaway train, loaded with toxic waste, and hightailin' it towards a densely populated town. The old hand (Washington) and the newbie(Pine) with the family connections, but scant real life experience, are forced to find some common ground and put their heads together to find a way to avoid an incident of catastrophic proportions. Aiding and abetting them is the yard supervisor- a spirited and irreverent Dawson- who doesn't mind the head honcho overhearing himself being labelled a jackass, as long as he eventually comes to his senses and takes action that might actually have a shot at rsulting in the survival of the 'little people' caught in the impact zone.

The Grading Session: 4.899 pengies out of 5. The soundtrack was totally forgettable. All the actors do a creditable job, but one rather secondary character ('Ned' as portrayed with hellacious elan by Lew Temple) really sets the bar for everyone else. He is never 'off' or 'down' or at a loss for what to say or do. OK, some would say he high jacked this movie, while others would dismiss his role as a throwaway comic relief valve. But I literally could not pull my eyes away whenever he shared the screen: whether ordering coffee, serving up some innuendo, taking over a press conference or cussing out some slovenly railroad employees, Ol' Ned really sparkles up t he screen. This is the kind of a movie where I never felt the back of my chair once. Edge-o-the-seat-ville, baybee! If you favor that sort of thaang.

Lessons Learned: In certain arenas, like brain surgery and railroad/airline prep, procedure and management, there is simply no room for cutting corners or skipping steps. This always (repeat after me: 'Always!') leaves behind a tab you really don't want to have to pick up.
Also, how interesting is it to learn the specialised jargon of a very small culture- like that of the railroad biz?
Lastly, while watching this film, I had to visibly suppress my anger at the media- specifically, the portrayal in this show of how the news chopper fleet consistently appeared to be getting in the way, even making things worse. When, finally, about three minutes from the final denouement, the Feds loud hail the chopper chumps and shoo them away, I felt like yelling, (in typical NJ fashion), 'Hey! Where the aitch were you guys over the last 50 minutes!?'

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