Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Unstoppable (Tony Scott, 2010) -- C

Tony Scott is just obsessed with things that go real, real fast. Following his disappointing 1990's actioner-throw-back The Taking of Pelham 123, he unwisely elects to throw-it-back even further to the disaster/wreckage films of the 1970's with Unstoppable - to considerably muddled results. Lacking enough creativity or passion to circumnavigate the obvious trappings, Scott lazily ticks off the narrative beats: odd couple duo with family issues must ultimately confront their indecision through an act of heroism; tyrannical corporation head holds the company's interests dearer than human lives; eclectic group of supporting characters quip and look with concerned stares from afar; climax gathers families watching TV monitors as their loved ones get banged-up, but save the day just in time. More banal than the narrative beats is Scott's ice-cold visual style, equipped with his usually blurry transitions, and fulfilling nothing more than looking serviceably drab. Denzel Washington has rarely looked this tired. Chris Pine is a decent actor, but he's given nothing more to do than pout and appear troubled about his crumbling marriage. Infused with a tighter sense of blue-collar angst (and exuberant, rather than hackneyed humor), Unstoppable would be exciting - as is, there's a persistent certainty that all artistic parties involved are coasting.

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