Thrill ride is off the rails.
IN a Pennsylvania rail yard, Dewey (Ethan Suplee) foolishly jumps off a slow-moving freight train in order to race ahead and change a set of points.
Unfortunately, the throttle jars forward and the carriages speed down the line without a driver... or any air brakes. Yardmaster Connie Hooper (Rosario Dawson) clears the line to prevent a head-on collision while her boss Michael Galvin (Kevin Dunn) concocts a plan of action to minimise loss of life.
Further down the line, veteran engineer Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) and conductor Will Colson (Chris Pine) learn of the impending disaster. With little thought to their own safety, the two men orchestrate a daring rescue plan to slow down the runaway train.
Unstoppable is a cinematic rush of blood to the head inspired by true events - think Speed on two rails. Tony Scott's film is a breathlessly orchestrated thrill ride that spends the minimum amount of time fleshing out Frank and Will as flawed fathers, before contriving a nightmarish scenario for both men to redeem themselves in the eyes of their children.
Washington and Pine are an appealing double act and Dawson is suitably feisty, mocking Dewey for complaining the train got away from him with the putdown, "It's a train, not a chipmunk." From the moment the train chugs away from its hapless driver, the film steadily gathers momentum, careening through the set pieces, which invariably involve something being smashed, and we delight in every crash and bang.
TRUE-LIFE TALE Denzel Washington battles a runaway train as Frank Barnes in Unstoppable