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or, um, stoppable...as it turns out...


Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson, Ethan Suplee, Kevin Dunn, T.J. Miller, Kevin Corrigan, Lew Temple

Connie: How the hell did this happen!?
Dewey: It just got away from me.
Connie: It got away from you?  It’s a train, Dewey, not a chipmunk!

A giant, demon-possessed train barrels through anything that gets in its way!  Okay, so it’s not demon-possessed exactly, but it is a runaway carrying several tanks of highly toxic chemicals that could kill a lot of people if it derails in a populated area.  And I swear they occasionally throw in a sort of growling noise when the train blasts through an obstacle in its path.

I wish I’d done this review like I did the Iron Man 2 review.  Just typing comments as I watched it.  I have a feeling it would have gone something like this:

Sheesh, what’s with all the helicopters?

(5 minutes later)

Isn’t this dangerous, having so many helicopters flying around haphazardly, all of them about 20 feet off the ground?

(10 minutes later)

Seriously, Apocalypse Now had less helicopters than this.

(5 minutes later)

Oh…my…gosh…this should have just been called Helicopters…

(10 minutes later)

I now hate helicopters.

(10 minutes later)

*curled up in ball, whimpering on the couch*  Can’t go outside, helicopters will get me.

This movie was ridiculous.  Entertaining at times?  I suppose so.  The back and forth between Washington and Pine has its moments, but the set-up and action sequences are so ludicrous that I could never really get involved in the movie seriously.

There’s too many “but couldn’t they just…” moments.  For instance, when they move another engine in front of the runaway, then start hitting the brakes to try to slow it down, why not have a guy jump from that engine back to the runaway?  I mean, they’re right up against each other.  Instead, they try to lower a guy down to the runaway from a…yeah, a helicopter.

Then there’s the dramatics with the tanker cars carrying the toxic chemicals.  Everyone is so worried about it derailing and spilling those deadly contents.  Yet, when they decide to derail it on purpose before it gets to Stanton, New Jersey, there’s a huge crowd of press and spectators gathered around at the derailing spot.  Um…peeps…you might not want to be right there where the DEADLY CHEMICALS might spill!

Aside from all of that ridiculousness, the characters are nothing special either.  Washington, Pine, and Dawson do as much as they can with their roles, but it’s just all so typical.  Frank (Washington) is the veteran conductor who has to train the young guy, Will (Pine), who is probably being groomed to take Frank’s job.  Naturally, Frank’s wife is dead and he has a strained relationship with his daughters.  But don’t worry, the two men can bond over such family troubles, as Will is also having issues with his marriage.

As the movie first got going, I thought it was going to be interesting to see an action movie that didn’t have a villain in it (unless you count the train), but then Kevin Dunn showed up as some sort of company VP.  He’s playing the role of the Mayor in Jaws who tries to sabotage every good idea that the main characters have.  Seriously, it’s screenwriting for dummies here…

Lastly, I’ll mention Tony Scott’s directing style.  I talked about it in my review of Man On Fire, and while his ADD editing is more appropriate here, it’s still very distracting.  That style does not add to the drama for me, it just adds to my annoyance level.

And why is a frickin’ helicopter flying by, 20 feet off the ground, at high speed during a press conference??  Enough with the helicopters!!

Edit: I just realized I forgot to mention how much I despise fake newscasts in movies like this.  And this movie is almost wall-to-wall fake newscasts.  Yet another cheap storytelling tactic employed to simultaneously create a sense of realism (that doesn’t work because they’re never anything like real newscasts) and get across information to the audience that the writers are too lazy to work into the story.

If you’re supposed to be driving a train, even just a short distance, don’t get out of it.

10 – 2 because the whole set-up is just so typical, predictable, and unoriginal – 2 because the directing style is so over the top and distracting – .5 for all the frickin’ helicopters = 5.5