Saturday, January 22, 2011

Unstoppable (Tony Scott)

"Damn Ethan Suplee!"

Tony Scott/Denzel Washington action vehicle (with Chris Pine somewhere in the backseat) that inherited its tension and suspense from films likely to have gotten such factors from: Yes, you guessed right, "Speed" and "Die Hard". But this time, there's no lunacy-drowned Dennis Hopper or a smooth-talking but devious Alan Rickman to thwart, but a train of doom propelled into a certain explosive destruction via the incompetence of Ethan Suplee's character aka the 'indirect villain of the film'. The initial relationship between Chris Pine and Denzel Washington's characters was kind of a good-natured version of that in "Training Day". It mirrors Denzel's interaction with Ethan Hawke in the said film enough for me to anticipate him to convince Chris Pine to smoke a joint while they operate on some trains.

Do not get me wrong, their bond, though a bit pushed just for the sake of putting some emotional meat into the characters, is about to head into a very good chemistry. But because of the film's cliched characterizations, both of them transformed into, well, cardboard heroes engaged to save the artificial day once more. And as if implying our ignorance of some heavily complex machinery involving locomotives and railroads, director Tony Scott smartly inserted some perfectly detailed situational graphics and explanations on how the various plans would turn out. Disguised as media snippets. Yes. You reckon how reporters expound certain things to television viewers? That's how it is.

On a different note, I'm also at odds with certain emotions involved in the film, such as all the other characters, except the two leads, clapping and shouting ecstatic cheers ("You can do it, daddy!) every time Chris Pine dodges certain death or when Denzel Washington successfully jumps through tank cars. Come on, you're not watching televised sports. And while they're on the mood for that, they could have distributed some beers and placed bets. It should have sealed the deal for some maximum television entertainment.

And one other thing, as proven with an exclamation point and fully suggested by an epilogue title card, if you're an action movie character separated from your wife and kids and is living a meaningless existence, do something heroic. No, not helping an old lady cross the street. Not even saving a kid from a house on fire. To ensure tearful reconciliatory realization, stop an explosive train. And to regain your daughters' cheery attitudes, receive a kiss from Rosario Dawson. Now you see how paradoxical Hollywood can get in solving certain domestic problems? There's "Unstoppable" for you.


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