I hate movies "based on" or "inspired by" a true story. Most of the type, it's over-dramatized garbage. I'm also not a big fan of disaster movies, man-made disasters, or natural disasters. Usually, you're just waiting around for the disaster to hit, twiddling your thumbs...
So, why did I go see this movie again?
I like Denzel. That's basically it. Oh, and my Dad wanted to go, and my Mother wouldn't go with him, yadda, yadda, yadda. So, I went and saw this flick. Guess what? It's actually, really, really GOOD! I kid you not.
See, the guy behind this, Tony Scott, was smart. He didn't make us wait around for the action to start. Within 10 minutes, that train is barrelling down the track, unmanned, and with no one with any idea how to stop it. Denzel and Chris Pine do go after the train, but they find out about it when we were already about 60 percent into the movie, so you have a lot of the supporting characters trying to stop it.
So okay, the plot is simple, and we know how it's going to end. Why is it good? The editing is really good. It doesn't relent and keeps the focus on that train, and the efforts to stop it. That's all it's about, stop the train, stop the train, STOP THE TRAIN! I also liked the use of news footage style shooting, there was a lot of dynamic angles, and it just really kept you in the excitement of the moment. Then there's the soundtrack. It reminded me a bit of Bangkok Dangerous, it was very fast, very duh-duh-duh-duh duh-duh, it accented the action nicely. You would think that with the ending pretty obvious, and bound to one straight path, the action would not be that exciting, but trust me, the suspense and the action was pretty darned good.
Then there's the suits. In the movie, when the suits for the railway are contacted about the calamity unfolding, they worry about the potential cost of of de-railing it, and how much the stock would drop, not the people. Now, 10 years ago, I would have scoffed at this as being ridiculous. However, nowadays...it's not only possible, it's likely! I have worked for a major corporation for the last nine years, and trust me friends and folks, they DO NOT care one ounce about you. It is all cost, and stock depreciation, and all that garbage. I actually had something come up that could be harmful to customers, and had a manager say to me "well, it's only going to affect 10 percent of the people, so that's not bad." Only 10 percent. Yeah, only 10 percent of the population will get AIDS, that's not so bad, is it? When it gets to 25, call me. That's why these big telefons and charities tell you 10,000,000 are affected by this disease, or this social problem...if they told you the percentage, you wouldn't care! Also, like in real life, everything the suits try to stop the train doesn't work. Why? Because they know jack about the employees...just like real life. Oh, P.S...I hate suits, so anytime they look stupid, I'm happy.
This movie had a lot of jargon, which is sometimes bad. Bad because the average layman doesn't understand the terms, and the ones who do, call out the inaccuracies. It's also stupid to add too much jargon. This movie had too much jargon in my opinion...and didn't really need all the inside terms stuff. Really, did I need the term "riptrack" thrown at me? It didn't matter, did it? The train's out of the control, that's all that matters! So, half a star off for jargon for jargon's sake.
As for the actors, Denzel was Denzel. I didn't like Chris Pine for the first half of the movie, because he seemed to be channelling Captain Kirk, but after that, he was alright. I'll give him a pass in this one, but I don't think he's going to be nearly as good as they're making him out to be. Everyone else was fine.
All in all, this was one enjoyable ride. Yes it's predictable, and yes, it's nothing new, but it was a tight, well-paced, well-shot, well-scored action/thriller, that kept me engrossed throughout the entire film. At the end of the day, what more could I want?
Rating: 4 out of 5.