So there I was, trapped in a doctor’s waiting room, pacing like a caged tiger. We’d been waiting for two hours and were the last ones left, and if I had a tail it would have been lashing. The nurse, sensing how dangerous the scene was becoming, put on a movie. I sat down, irate, but was soon distracted by the fact that Denzel Washington was on.
Something about a train. I intuited this from the huge freight train that Denzel was riding in along with Captain Kirk. The camera seemed to be loose on its gulley or fligswitch or whatever it’s called because every single shot was a rapid pan. Rotating dynamically around Denzel as he yells something into a mike. Pan flash past Captain Kirk as he stares grittily out the window. Then we’re in some HQ, and Rosario Dawson is trying not to cry, biting her lips, and then yelling as the camera dives around her in wild swoops. Within two minutes I was feeling nauseous.
Turns out this is Speed with trains. Denzel’s trying to catch up with a runaway train on his own train and stop it. Rosario Dawson is being brave and yelling support, and somewhere a guy who looks like the Mayor of NYC from Ghostbusters is yelling abuse and telling everybody they’re fired for being big goddamn heroes.
I turn and stare at Grace. This movie is ridiculous.
“You’re fired!” screams the Mayor from NYC.
“You already fired me,” whispers Denzel.
Denzel stares bleakly out the window, “I got my 3 months notice 76 days ago. Half benefits.”
Everybody winces, stunned at this horrid news. Denzel looks even more heroic as the camera tears around him at ridiculous speeds.
“And… you’re risking your life for a job you’re only on for another week? Why are you doing this for me?”
Denzel turns and stares right at the camera. A tear runs down his cheek. “I’m not doing it for you. I’m doing it for the starving children in Africa.”
I mean, over the top! There are like a million cop cars following both trains, helicopters swooping around like gnats, and still Denzel and Captain Kirk manage to have these soulful moments where they murmur deep dark truths about their own lives, bonding in this super macho way. Denzel’s wife died of cancer. He misses her when he wakes up, the smell gone from her pillow. Captain Kirk shot a cop who texted his wife or something, I missed the details. I mean, between yelling into the mike about how they had no choice but to go faster, safety precautions be damned, they practically enact Kabuki plays.
So the whole world is watching this on Fox news in the movie. They cue to crowd shots. I nearly choked on my metaphorical popcorn. One of the key crowds watching the train drama was a gaggle of Hooters waitresses, who would slowly shake their heads, eyes tearing up, silently mouthing ‘no’ in complete despair. I mean, utterly heart wrenching!
There’s a great moment where two cop cars flip over for no reason other than bad driving. Completely gratuitous.
Later, after a bunch of shenanigans, Captain Kirk leaps off the train onto the bed of a flatbed truck, which races to the front of the runaway train. He then leaps onto the engine, mangled foot and all, and stops the train by pulling on the brake.
Now people. Hold up. This train has been barreling along for like three hours. Filled with nuclear mutants or something, so that when it wrecks all of Pennsylvania will disappear. And nobody thought to drive up a competent SWAT officer to the front and load him on board? The thing was only going like 60mph. Why all the freaking drama? I stared at the screen in disbelief as Captain Kirk made as big a deal of his mangled foot as he could limping into the engine cabin, as if even at this point it could ruin his ability to press the big ‘STOP’ button.
Ridiculous. And the whole time the camera was savaging back and forth like a dog trying to pull a chew toy from your hand.
OK, I just googled this thing. It’s called Unstoppable, and got 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. I mean, who driving? Bear driving! How can that be?!?