Unstoppable: Train 777 is my new favorite villain

Last November I had guest reviewer Sam LeGassick from The Wild Bore tackle the latest Tony Scott film, Unstoppable for the website. Sam’s a fellow movie nut like The Mike and I and I’ve always enjoyed hearing his take on films. He was quick to pan Tony Scott’s runaway train film and told audiences to steer clear of the film. Frankly, at the time I wasn’t surprised. Tony Scott hasn’t made a good film since 1996’s The Fan (and no, Man on Fire was not good, you just want to think it was). Scott became too tied up in the art of film making and forgot how to make a good film. So when Sam panned it, I shrugged and said to myself, “figures!” The problem is, I am drawn to Tony Scott films like a moth to a light. Even if I know in my heart they will be bad, I’ll still add them to queues and watch them on DVD from my favorite DVD by mail service.

Amazingly I learned something very different from Sam’s original review posted on our site.  Unstoppable turned out to be a much better movie than I had ever expected.  Now, coming off of another Tony Scott train wreck of a movie called The Taking of Pelham 123, it wouldn’t take much for Scott to create a masterpiece in comparison.  Scott again returns to the train yards for Unstoppable and once again brings his buddy Denzel Washington with him.  This time Washington is an aging conductor nearing retirement who is training a rookie (Chris Pine) on the day that an unmanned, runaway train is speeding down the tracks with enough explosive compounds to be a missile the size of the Chrysler building.  Being the wise ol’ railroader he is, Denzel decides to run this train down and he and his new rookie are going to do what no one else can do- stop this run away  choo-choo.

What I really liked about Unstoppable was that Scott didn’t push the arty style.  He stopped over saturating the screen with grey/green filters, and stopped doing wicked ADHD induced jump cuts from scene to scene.  Hints of these stylistic choices were there, but he didn’t rub your face in it as he has been prone to do in his latest films.  I found myself for the first time in over 10 years saying, “That’s a great, classic Tony Scott shot!”  It was rich in color, contrast and it kept a steady pace that didn’t feel disjointed and choppy.    I didn’t feel like the director had just snorted speed before yelling action.  I had a great time with this film.  Scott took something so simple and made it intriguing, suspenseful and just plain fun.  You found yourself rooting for the good guys and wanting “the bad guy” to be brought down.

Which brings me to my next point, the film’s villain.  After watching Toy Story 3 and meeting Lotso Bear, I thought I preferred that my villains smelled of strawberries, but train 777 from Unstoppable taught me that a runaway train is also a worthy adversary.  Tony Scott found a way to make a moving hunk of metal become a villain.  You actually hated the train, despite the fact that it had no “reason” for doing anything.  It wasn’t motivated to kill anyone, it simply was doing it’s job-transporting cargo on a track.   None the less as a viewer you felt connected to the characters and you wanted the big, evil, runaway train to be stopped.  The fact that there was no bargaining and no reasoning with the train meant that it was just a match of brains vs. brute force,  or man vs. machine that would eventually win the day.  Something about that theme resonates well in this film and Scott reigns in on it and takes advantage.

Certainly there are things about the film that could use some improvements.    The film brags that it was “based on a true story”, which translates to in real life an unmanned train rolled down the track at 10 MPH for a good stretch until someone jumped back on it and hit the brakes.  However in Unstoppable the train barrels down the track at 60 mph.  Despite long stretches of track, countryside and high speeds train 777 only manages to knock around a few things.  I actually wanted to see some more train destruction.  Don’t get me wrong, the film had suspense but things going “Kaboom!” keep my attention span even more and look really cool.  What can I say?  I’m a guy!  I like seeing stuff blow up and stuff being destroyed.  Also, Denzel leaves a bit more to be desired.  Denzel has become a cookie cutter shell of himself, and in Unstoppable Denzel plays Denzel.  You know every one of his “cool” antics, and feel like you’ve seen this performance 1000 times.  Whether he is teaching Ethan Hawke about life on the streets as a cop in Training Day or teaching Chris Pine about life on the tracks in Unstoppable, he’s the same guy.

As Unstoppable hit theaters, Saturday Night Live did a digital short that did a nice job of nailing the sheer silliness of Unstoppable.  I’ve linked the video here in the post and encourage you to check it out for a good laugh.  The Denzel impersonation is about spot on for what you will get out of the film, and the premise sadly enough really is * almost * that cheesy.  But it’s cheese that is done well.  I had a lot of fun with Unstoppable.  If Tony Scott can promise me another film like this, I’ll be at his next movie in theaters opening night.  That would mean I’d have to take time off from work from my day job of selling popcorn to folks on opening night- but if it means the return of the good ol’ days of Tony Scott, count me in.

21 thoughts on “Unstoppable: Train 777 is my new favorite villain

  1. I had a thought: What if Train 777 was carrying Bomb #20? It’d be false data the size of the Chrysler Building!

    The Mike

  2. Hi, I do think this is a great website. I stumbledupon it 😉
    I’m going to return yet again since I book marked it.
    Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.

    眼鏡 心細く制作

  3. My programmer is trying to persuade me to move to .net
    from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type
    on a variety of websites for about a year and am
    nervous about switching to another platform.

    I have heard good things about blogengine.net.

    Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress
    content into it? Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

    Here is my web blog; 2013 トレンチコート 公式; Marylyn,


  4. Hello, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and
    i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you prevent it,
    any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately
    it’s driving me crazy so any help is very much appreciated.

    Take a look at my website … ミュール 最安値

    ミュール 最安値

  5. Thank you for some other excellent post. The place
    else may anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect means of
    writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m at the look for
    such information.

    Also visit my web blog; 正規 ウォーキングシューズ 専門店


  6. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and
    I to find It really helpful & it helped me out much. I hope to present something again and help others such as you aided me.

    Also visit my blog post … 通販 サンダル 豪華 (Jason)


  7. Hey There. I discovered your weblog using msn.
    That is a really neatly written article. I will make
    sure to bookmark it and return to learn more of your helpful information.
    Thank you for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

    Feel free to surf to my site – Psychic Reading By Phone

    Psychic Reading By Phone

  8. Hello, I would like to suhscribe for this website to get newest
    updates, therefore where can i do it please help out.


  9. Excellent beat ! I would like to apprentice at the same time as you
    amend your site, how can i subscribe for a blog site? The account helped me
    a acceptable deal. I have been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered vibrant transparent idea

    garcinia cambogia extract gce potassium

  10. Wonderful beat ! I would like to apprentice whilst you amend
    your website, how can i subscribe for a weblog website?
    The account helped me a applicable deal. I had been tiny bit familiar
    of this your broadcast offered brilliant clear


  11. It is perfdect time to make a few plans for thee future and itt is time to be happy.
    I’ve learn this submit and if I could I wish
    to suggest you some attention-grabbing things or tips. Perhaps you could write next artticles referring to this article.
    Iwant to learn even more issues about it!

    my page … slendera garcinia essential elements
    ffor stringgs (Thalia)


  12. It’s going to be ending of mine day, but before finish I am reading this fantastic paragraph to improve my know-how.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>