Based on a situation that happened in Findlay, OH on May 15, 2001, the latest thriller from director Tony Scott is “Speed” on overdrive. Given that it’s got a runaway train that’s traveling 70 MPH towards a small town with hazardous material en tow, Scott ramps up the excitement with energized film work and frantic editing. And with the superstar wattage in Denzel Washington, Chris Pine (Star Trek’s Capt Kirk) and Rosario Dawson, this movie might not be Oscar caliber, but it sure does take you on a heart-pounding ride!
Truthfully, this is the little movie that could. Character development is bare and even if there are dramatic individual moments, they really don’t move anywhere. Washington is the elderly railroadman, 28 years on the force and counting his days to his retirement. Pine is the newbie, right out of training and still wet behind the ears. And Rosario Dawson plays the woman in charge of trying to contain a possible disaster. All 3 do a great job with their roles and setting up the action. Washington is his usual cool self, showing emotion in simple facial movements and glances. The man is a great actor and carries this role like many others before it.
But the real treat of this movie is watching the train hurtling through the Pennsylvania countryside, heading for disaster. You just know it’s gonna turn out okay, but getting there is all kinds of fun. My heart was racing through several scenes and Scott slices and dices to camera shots under the train, behind the train, over the train and in front of the train to give you a front row seat to certain mass destruction. And he also uses the tried & true method of editing in news footage to add to the story. So what for many directors would have been a simple “go catch the train and make it stop” kind of film is instead a fast paced, Energizer bunny of a movie that never lets up.
All in all, almost more of a summer blockbuster than a winter movie, but who cares when it can get your blood pumping the way this one does. Go see it on a big digital screen with Dolby stereo! It’s worth it!
Overall Rating: A-
Rosario Dawson. Just because…