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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Tony Scott
Cast:
Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson, Ethan Suplee, Kevin Dunn, Kevin Corrigan, Kevin Chapman, Lew Temple, T.J. Miller
Writing Credits:
Mark Bomback

Tagline:
1,000,000 Tons. 100,000 Lives. 100 Minutes.

Synopsis:
Hang on for the ride of your life as Oscar® Winner Denzel Washington and Chris Pine team up for the year’s most electrifying action-thriller. A runaway train, transporting deadly, toxic chemicals, is barreling down on Scranton, Pennsylvania, and only two men can stop it: a veteran engineer (Washington) and a young conductor (Pine). Thousands of lives hang in the balance as these ordinary heroes attempt to chase down one million tons of hurtling steel and prevent an epic disaster. Helmed by visionary director Tony Scott, this story inspired by true events delivers excitement and suspense that are - unstoppable!

Box Office:
Budget
$100 million.
Opening Weekend
$22.688 million on 3207 screens.
Domestic Gross
$81.356 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Portuguese
Mandarin Chinese
Cantonese Chinese
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
Spanish
Portuguese
Mandarin Chinese
Cantonese Chinese

Runtime: 98 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 2/15/2011

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Tony Scott
• “Tracking the Story: Unstoppable Script Development” Commentary
• “The Fastest Track: Unleashing Unstoppable” Featurette
• “Derailed: Anatomy of a Scene” Featurette
• “Hanging Off the Rail: Stunt Work” Featurette
• “On the Rails with the Director and Cast” Featurette
• Digital Copy
• Trailer and Sneak Peeks


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Unstoppable [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 2, 2011)

Tony Scott and Denzel Washington team up for fifth time via 2010’s Unstoppable. Set in Southern Pennsylvania, we follow what should be an ordinary day in the life of railroad workers. Will Colston (Chris Pine) is a fairly new conductor who gets paired with veteran Frank Barnes (Washington) to get additional experience. Being forced into early retirement, Barnes doesn’t much appreciate this duty, but he goes along with it anyway.

Their bland day jumps up a major notch when a massive engine “gets loose” and runs without anyone at the controls. While folks at corporate debate various ways to stop the vehicle – and also watch the bottom line – it eventually becomes clear that only Barnes and Colston can do anything about the situation, so they need to risk life and limb to halt the runaway train.

Hmm… “runaway train”… where have I heard that title? Oh, maybe 25 years ago, when it was used for a much better movie about an engine gone amok. That one worked because it didn’t simply tell a story about a potential railway disaster; it delved into niceties like character development and thematic drama.

Don’t expect those in Unstoppable, as Scott regards them as unessential. Characters remain one-dimensional, and dialogue favors clichés. While the flick comes with a nice cast, the script is so thin that they’re left adrift.

With better direction, Unstoppable at least could’ve become a decent popcorn movie. However, Scott shoots himself in the foot. Indeed, Scott's directorial style is by far the worst aspect of the film.

Would it kill Scott to let a shot last for more than 1/10th of a second? Would it be possible for the camera to remain still for an eensy-weensy moment? And how about all those quick zooms? Gotta give the movie that urgent sense of documentary realism, right?

Ugh. The film was a mess in terms of editing and visuals. It treated every second of the story like it was the climax. Even the press conference at the end featured quick cuts and spinning cameras. Tony, when you present the whole story like there's a bomb under a bus, none of it delivers tension or excitement. The whole thing becomes one long, stressful piece of mush, as none of the action scenes seem more intense than any of the others. Scott would treat two guys eating donuts like the climax of Die Hard.

Which is a shame, as the movie has potential. Good cast, interesting premise, and even with the over the top cinematic style, it still delivers a few jolts; the inherent drama manages the occasional zing. Unfortunately, we don’t nearly as many of those moments as we should due to the hyperactive director. Scott needs to remember that movies are movies, not really long music videos.


The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A/ Bonus B+

Unstoppable appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The transfer delivered a stylized image in a satisfying manner.

Sharpness seemed solid. Given the movie’s loose “documentary-style” photography, some soft shots emerged, but those stemmed from the camerawork. The vast majority of the flick was precise and well-defined. Jagged edges and moiré effects created no concerns, and no edge enhancement seemed to be evident. I noticed no signs of print flaws, as the image looked clean; we found quite a lot of grain, but that was a visual choice.

Like most modern action flicks, Unstoppable went with a highly stylized palette. Teals and drab blues dominated the movie; the 777 train gave us some red/yellows, and interiors with Connie demonstrated a warmer golden look, but those blues were the main focus. Rarely did the film offer tones that seemed “normal”, but the disc replicated them accurately, as its hues represented the flick’s design well.

As for the dark elements, they were deep and dense. I thought blacks seemed nicely replicated and presented clear, taut textures. Low-light shots came across extremely well. They looked very well-defined and delineated and made the movie quite attractive. This ended up as a solid representation of the original project.

I felt even happier with the aggressive DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Unstoppable. As I expect from an action picture, the soundfield offered a lot of activity throughout the film. Most of this came from trains, of course, though helicopters and other elements zipped around the room as well.

Railroad components became the most dominant component, though, and they helped turn this into an impressive piece. The trains filled out the spectrum in a truly engulfing manner, and movement/blending was excellent. The soundscape really plopped us in the middle of the action and created a stunning environment.

No issues with audio quality materialized. Speech was natural and concise, with no edginess or other concerns. Music sounded dynamic and full, while effects followed suit. Those elements were accurate and impressive, with crisp highs and rich lows. Bass response was especially deep, as that side of things threatened to trash my subwoofer. The excellent track nearly warranted “A+” consideration; this is the kind of killer ride that reminds you why you spent a lot of money for your fancy home theater system.

We find a good mix of extras here. These launch with an audio commentary from director Tony Scott. He provides a running, screen-specific chat that looks at what led him to the project, research, story/script/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, editing and visual design, camerawork, stunts and effects.

A veteran of many commentaries, Scott knows what he’s doing, and that experience shows. Scott covers all the appropriate bases and does so in a lively manner. He helps make this an informative and engaging discussion.

Though not listed as such, Tracking the Story: Unstoppable Script Development actually offers another audio track. We get to listen to story conferences between Scott and writer Mark Bomback. The piece lets us eavesdrop as they discuss various story/character topics and work through the screenplay. I really like this extra, as it gives us a fine “fly on the wall” view of the production; I’d love to see more material of this sort on other releases.

Four featurettes ensue. The Fastest Track: Unleashing Unstoppable runs 29 minutes, 40 seconds and includes notes from Scott, Bomback, producers Eric McLeod and Julie Yorn, supervising location manager Janice Polley, production designer Chris Seagers, Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad chairman/CEO Eugene H. Blaybey II, director of photography Ben Seresin, pursuit arm DP Brooks P. Guyer, pursuit arm driver Mike Majesky, aerial DP David B. Nowell, engineer/remote operator Steve Stertzbach, and actors Chris Pine, Denzel Washington, Rosario Dawson, and Ethan Suplee.

“Track” looks at story development and research, locations, Scott’s visual sense and shooting the film, action and camerawork, and aspects of the flick’s main train. Given how much territory Scott covers in his commentary, some repetition becomes inevitable. However, that’s not a problem, as “Track” still delivers plenty of fresh material. Combined with a lot of good footage from the set, the featurette gives us a solid look at the shoot.

For the 10-minute, one-second Derailed: Anatomy of a Scene, we hear from Scott, co-producer Diane L. Sabatini, special effects technicians Bruce Hayes and John Ziegler, special effects supervisor John Frazier, and special effects coordinator Joe Pancake. As one might expect, “Scene” looks at the work that went into the movie’s derailment sequence. It lets us see the details that went into the segment and becomes an entertaining view.

Hanging Off the Rail: Stunt Work lasts 14 minutes, 25 seconds and features Scott, Pine, Washington, stunt coordinator Gary Powell, and special effects set foreman Richard Cordobes. Like the title says, this one looks at stunts. It’s not quite as good as its predecessors, but it still delivers more than enough useful material to make it worthwhile.

Finally, On the Rails with the Director and Cast fills 13 minutes, 25 seconds with info from Scott, Washington, Pine, and Dawson. All four sit together on the set for a chat about various challenges and experiences. I like the round-table format, but the content tends to be pretty banal. Don’t expect much here.

The disc opens with ads for Love and Other Drugs, Street Kings 2: Motor City, and 127 Hours. We also find the movie’s trailer and Sneak Peeks for Machete, Casino Jack and the FX Channel.

A second disc includes a digital copy of Unstoppable. This gives you the chance to plop the movie on a computer or portably viewing thingy. There you have it!

A movie about a runaway train should be packed with excitement, and Unstoppable musters the occasional thrill. However, the film’s ridiculously active camerawork and editing render it nearly unwatchable, as the flick’s idiotic hyperactivity actually robs it of power. The Blu-ray comes with strong picture and audio as well as some supplements led by a good commentary and an enjoyable look at the script-revising process. While this is a top-notch Blu-ray, I find the movie itself to disappoint.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.1025 Stars Number of Votes: 39
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main