Starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pine and Rosario Dawson
Directed by Tony Scott (Man on Fire)
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action peril, and some language
Appropriate for ages 13+
Due to the negligence of a couple of train workers in Pennsylvania, a runaway train without a conductor is sent speeding towards a densely populated area with a payload that is able to kill tens of thousands of people. When two conductors in the area (Washington and Pine) get wind of the potential disaster, they go into hero mode in order to stop the potential catastrophe.
Considering Tony Scott’s last train movie (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3) bombed (no pun intended), it was hard for me to fathom him taking on another tracked thriller. Thankfully these films are very different, aside from the vehicle.
This film ends up working for a few good reasons. First off, you have two great actors in Washington and Pine in very physical roles. The two have great chemistry on screen and Washington doesn’t at any point attempt to hog the scenes.
Secondly, the writing is really strong here and the words are well performed by the talented cast. The exposition is given without placating the audience and comes across with real authority and credibility. By the end of the film you actually feel like somewhat of a train expert.
Lastly, the film mimics a man-vs-nature thriller rather than the typical good guy/bad guy routine. They could have easily made this a runaway train sent by a mad man, but instead chose stupidity as the villain and brains and bravery as the savior. Not having a character as the villain allows you to think more freely about how to stop a disaster from occurring, putting you right in the mix as the action unfolds.
So while I’m not a train person and was a little concerned about sitting through the movie, I ended up having a great time watching it. A-