Director: Tony Scott
Running time: 95 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A
UK Release date: 24th November 2010
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 12th November 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I remember there was quite a lot of debate about this one when it came out but it managed to evade my attention until now. Much of the debate centred around the fact that this was just another Tony Scott action thriller. Well, in that respect they were correct, a Tony Scott action thriller is what it is. To be fair though, it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Scott is very practiced at the action thriller and he does do it rather well so I guess the debate could have centred around when Scott was going to make a comedy or something like that instead. I will give you my take on it after this very brief summary
A freight train carrying a very hazardous cargo manages to escape the clutches of its’ driver and heads off down the track at full power with no brakes. I won’t bore you with the details of how this happened, but rest assured it’s a series of very unfortunate events and quite a chunk of incompetence. The train yard supervisor, Connie, sets the wheels in motion to retrieve the train but it’s too late, it’s headed for a populated area with seemingly no means of stopping it. Meanwhile, rookie conductor Will and his veteran driver Frank are moving freight in the opposite direction. Can they avoid this out-of-control train and what’s more, is there any way they can stop it before it meets with disaster? Well, you can probably guess the Spoiler Police are standing right behind me right now with pick-axe handles just waiting for me to type the wrong words. Fear for my safety ensures I will say no more on the matter.
It’s all very well made with some spectacular action sequences and beautifully realised visuals throughout. All the performances were decent although nobody was really stretched. Honourable mentions go to; Denzel Washington as Frank, Chris Pine as Will, Rosario Dawson as Connie, Ethan Suplee as Dewey, Kevin Dunn as Galvin, Kevin Corrigan as Inspector Werner and Lew Temple as Ned.
As I’ve already said, it’s a very well made film with plenty of action and some great thrills. The trouble is, I’ve seen it all before. If it was the first action thriller I’d ever seen I’m sure I would have been enthralled, but sadly it wasn’t. I found it a little too predictable, although I did find myself rooting for our hero (or heroes… no clues) at the end. There are subplots about corporate responsibility and the back stories of Will and Frank fill in a bit, but I never really cared that much for the characters and the sense of threat to the town in the path of this runaway train wasn’t really conveyed very well. We did get a sense of the power of the train, but the real threat was supposed to be the cargo and that avenue was never really explored to any extent. Over all though, a very well made film that is great to look at but doesn’t really hold the audience in the way a film like this should. Having said that, it’s worth a viewing… just the one though.
My score: 6.7/10
IMDb Score: 6.8/10 (based on 49,694 votes at the time of going to press).
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Oscar Galvin: Did I or did I not tell you to get 1206 off the main?
Connie: I asked them nicely.
Inspector Werner: [Watching the red lights on the map] So, red means...
Bunny: 777 blew through a signal. Everything in red means trouble on the mainline.
Inspector Werner: That a lot of red!
Oscar Galvin: Maybe you didn't hear what I just said, Colson. I will fire you!
Frank: Well, that's too bad. I was just starting to like this job.