He won an Oscar for “Training Day.” Last year, he starred in the subway hijack remake, “The Taking of Pelham 123.” Now, he headlines the high-speed action film, “Unstoppable,” about a runaway multi-car freight train loaded with hazardous combustible chemicals, but devoid of an engineer.
Based on a true 2001 incident, “Unstoppable” is directed for maximum nail-biting suspense by Tony Scott, who has worked with Washington four times before (“Taking of Pelham” included). For pure action entertainment, “Unstoppable” is Washington’s best yet.
The Mark Bomback script does involve a “training” element. Veteran engineer Frank Barnes (Washington) realizes his employment days are numbered when he’s assigned to showing new “hothead” conductor Will Colson (Chris Pine “Star Trek”) the ropes.
Getting killed is almost what happens to them and many others as they launch a near-impossible two-man last-ditch effort to stop the toxic train, equivalent to a “missile the size of the Chrysler building,” from slamming into its final destination at the Stanton, Pa, train depot.
While the story is filled with some soap-opera back-stories and hints corporate corruption, the main focus stays firmly on heroic heart-pounding fast-paced spectacle.