Directed by Tony Scott
Written by Mark Bomback
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson
A freight train carrying chemicals has gotten loose and is headed towards a dangerous stretch of track. With few options to stop it, a railroad veteran (Washington) and his less experienced partner (Pine) have decided to try to stop it.
This film was inspired by the real-life events surrounding the 2001 CSX 8888 incident in Northwest Ohio. The real events evolved into a screenplay that is more fiction than fact, written by Mark Bomback (Total Recall (2012)). This would be Tony Scott’s (The Hunger) last feature film as director before his death in 2012. The film stars Denzel Washington (Remember the Titans), Chris Pine (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), and Rosario Dawson (Gimme Shelter).
This film features a simple story that rarely deviates from the expected twists and turns found in similar films. This ends up being both a strength and a weakness for this movie. By staying within the expected arc of the film, the story doesn’t ever seem to jump the shark. This works since this film could easily become unbelievable with a few wrong choices. On the other hand, there isn’t much surprise in the way this one plays out. The end of the film still has a lot of emotional strength, but the payoff does suffer due to the predictability. Another nice aspect of the movie is way the dialogue is written. Nothing feels overly scripted, letting the characters connect in ways that feel real. Overall, this isn’t a great script, but it avoids making any huge mistakes that could hurt the overall production.
The acting in this movie is pretty good. Denzel Washington does a great job taking one of the central roles in the film. Right away he creates a great character that feels right for the story. He does a good job bringing out the good and bad qualities of his role. Washington also does a great job working alongside Chris Pine. Pine also handles his own role pretty well. Unlike Washington, Pine never seems quite as settled in his role. This is mainly apparent early in the film since the action takes over throughout the second and third acts. Rosario Dawson is one of several other cast members who all hold their own in this one. This one features a number of good performances from the cast, but no one really elevated the material.
This film features some very cool visuals as the action ramps up. The runaway train becomes another character in the story as it flies down the tracks. This is helped by good camera work, CGI, and solid editing. This one also earned an Oscar nomination for Best Sound Editing thanks to the work of Mark P. Stoeckinger (Face/Off). The score, by Harry Gregson-Williams (The Martian) also adds a nice layer to the experience of the film. Overall, this one has a lot of good aspects that come together in this solid movie.
This isn’t a great movie, and it won’t change the genre. It is a solid action thriller that will entertain most audiences. If you’re a fan of disaster movies this is one you might enjoy. I would also suggest this one to fans of the stars. So, pop some popcorn and put this one on if you’re looking for a little action and adventure. I give this one 3.3 out of 5 stars.