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UNSTOPPABLE ($40) is a tight, efficient, well-crafted thriller that keeps one on the edge of their seat during pretty much its entire run time. Under Tony Scott’s concise direction, UNSTOPPABLE is a well-oiled machine of motion picture entertainment, which is completely situation and action driven for its forward momentum. Additionally, UNSTOPPABLE is the kind of movie that doesn’t require much by way of character development; instead it relies casting the right actors in the right roles and just letting them do what they naturally do. The story is bare bones, the characters are bare bones, but everything falls into place, which makes UNSTOPPABLE, a well honed, popcorn munching force to be reckoned with.

The premise of UNSTOPPABLE follows a runaway train on the Allegheny and West Virginia Railroad. Through human error, stupidity, and just plain old bad luck, a train gets away from a pair of railway employees, who assigned to move it to another track in the train yard. The unmanned freight train winds up on the mainline, with its airbrakes disconnected and the throttle engaged. As the runaway train picks up speed, and begins rocketing towards population centers, the cargo manifest reveals that the freight cars are carrying tens of thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals.

Meanwhile, veteran engineer Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) and newly hired conductor Will Colson (Chris Pine) find themselves on a collision course with this half-mile long rocket. Barely getting off the main line onto a repair track, as the unmanned freight train goes barreling by, Barnes understands better than anyone what’s at stake, if the runaway train isn’t stopped before it reaches the highly populated town of Stanton, PA, and a stretch of track that is marked by a sharp elevated curve that would derail the train at its current breakneck speed. Of course, because of his twenty-eight years of experience, Barnes doesn’t see any of the plans formulated by railway executives for stopping the runaway train as viable, so he, along with Colson, unhitch the engine from their own train… and begin a seventy mile an hour pursuit in reverse. The cast of UNSTOPPABLE also features Rosario Dawson, Ethan Suplee, Kevin Dunn, Kevin Corrigan, Kevin Chapman, Lew Temple, T.J. Miller, Jessy Schram, David Warshofsky, Andy Umberger, Elizabeth Mathis and Meagan Tandy.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made UNSTOPPABLE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is really quite stunning. Everything appears wonderfully sharp, finely detailed and highly dimensional. Textures, individual hairs and even the lines in the actors’ faces are all cleanly visible. Colors are fully saturated, while the flesh tones look realistic. Blacks are dead on perfect and the whites are crisp. Contrast and shadow detail are generally excellent. The elements from which UNSTOPPABLE has been mastered are pretty much without flaws. Grain is noticeable, and adds a nice gritty quality to the proceedings, which helps to maintain the organic quality of the presentation.

UNSTOPPABLE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The sound design is a first class ride and everything one should expect from this type of movie- the sound design is highly aggressive, big, loud and dynamic. All of the outlying channels are exceedingly well utilized, with sound effects bumping, squealing, grinding and exploding all around the soundstage. Fidelity is pretty terrific throughout. Thanks, to the lossless encode, the music has a full-bodied quality, while the sound effects have plenty of weight, because of a pulsing and pounding bass component. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese and Traditional Chinese.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Starting things off are two running Audio Commentaries; the first is with director Tony Scott, while the second entitled Tracking The Story: Unstoppable Script Development features screenwriter Mark Bomback and director Tony Scott, who dissect the screenplay. Featurettes and other programs include the following: The Fastest Track: Unleashing Unstoppable (thirty minutes), Derailed: Anatomy Of A Scene (ten minutes), Hanging Off The Train: Stunt Work (fourteen minutes) and On The Rails With The Director And Cast (thirteen minutes). A Theatrical Trailer and Bonus Trailers close out the standard supplements. UNSTOPPABLE is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). Disc two offers a Digital Copy of the film.

As I stated above, UNSTOPPABLE is a well-crafted thriller that keeps one on the edge of their seat. The Blu-ray offers excellent video and audio, so you can’t go wrong with the disc.


Unstoppable [Blu-ray] (2010)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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