Unstoppable jumps the tracks

Rating: **

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By Matt Brunson

UNSTOPPABLE

**

DIRECTED BY Tony Scott

STARS Denzel Washington, Chris Pine

UNSTOPPABLE

The inspired-by-true-events Unstoppable isn't unwatchable like far too many movies helmed by Tony Scott, but viewers hoping that their hearts will be racing as fast as the film's runaway train may find themselves disappointed by how frequently the picture brakes for tedium.

Denzel Washington, who should have steered clear of trains after the ill-advised remake of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, plays the saintly, sage engineer at the end of his career; Chris Pine, Star Trek's new James T. Kirk, plays the brash, brawny conductor on his first assignment. Ultimately, it's up to these two to somehow stop an unmanned train that's barreling along while carrying tons of explosives. It's as straightforward as an action flick gets, but even at a trim 98 minutes, its lack of substance and variety limits its appeal, with lame backstories for both lead characters only slowing it down even more.

Because this is a 20th Century Fox production, Fox News actually plays a starring role, with huge chunks of the action being shown via the network's live news coverage. But because the studio wants the film to score with all demographics, it pulls its political punches — after all, in the real world, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity would be frequently interrupting the live feed to squarely place the blame for the runaway train on Obama.

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