Sunday, November 14, 2010

Riding the Rails with Denzel and Captain Kirk

So yesterday I went to check out the new Tony Scott/Denzel Washington/Chris Pine flick Unstoppable.  This is the first popcorn action flick I've seen in a long time, although I was actually munching on some Thai rice crackers I bought from the DeKalb Farmer's Market.  (Yes, I snuck the crackers into the theater in my purse. But I did buy a drink at the concession stand.) This isn't the first train adventure Scott and Washington have been on together.  The two did The Taking of Pelham 123 last year.  However, I liked this train ride infinitely better.  Once the movie finishes with 10 minutes of obligatory back story and the trains start rolling, it is nonstop action until the very end.  Trading up the newly rebooted Starship Enterprise for more earthly pursuits, Pine plays a newbie train conductor to Washington's 28-year train veteran.  There's no mad man to contend with like in Pelham, it's just man (or two men in this case) against a wayward machine which could derail and blow everyone in its path to smithereens at any moment. Putting their inner demons and ghosts aside, Washington and Pine are worth cheering for.  And to make the whole story even more relevant, Scott gets a few digs into corporate America and the economy by portraying the corporate train owners as ignorant overlords more concerned with the bottom line than their workers and the human life that is at stake.  Scott also uses the gritty landscape of the rail yards of northern and southern Pennsylvania, paying homage to the working men and women (Rosario Dawson as a yard boss) in an industry that is ailing but still necessary even in a more modern age.  All in all, a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

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