Unstoppable is a 2010 American disaster thriller film directed and produced by Tony Scott in his final film as director before his death in 2012. The film stars are Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. The film, loosely based on the real-life CSX 8888 incident, tells the story of a runaway freight train and the two men (Washington and Pine) who attempt to stop it.

The film was released in the United States and Canada on November 12, 2010. It has received mostly favorable reviews from film critics; it garnered a "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based upon aggregated reviews, and a rating of "Generally favorable reviews" at Metacritic.

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing at the 83rd Academy Awards, but it was beaten by Inception.

Plot Edit

While moving an Allegheny and West Virginia Railroad (AWVR) train pulled by two AC4400CW locomotives, #777 and #767, at the Veteran AWVR trainyard in the fictional city of Fuller, Pennsylvania, the two railroad engineers, Dewey and Gilleece, take ill-advised shortcuts and accidentally allow the train to leave the rail yard on its own power without the air brakes engaged. Initially believing the train to be coasting, yardmaster Connie Hooper orders Dewey, Gilleece, and chief welder Ned Oldham to drive and catch up to the train to stop it. When Oldham finds that the train has already passed where it was supposed to be, they realize that the train is running on full power and now poses a dangerous threat. Dewey and Gilleece manage to catch up to 777 using a high railing truck but fail to board the train in time. Hooper alerts Oscar Galvin, director of operations for AWVR, and also instructs the local and state police and sheriffs to secure all the grade crossings to prevent injury. Visiting Federal Railroad Administration safety inspector Scott Werner warns that eight cars being pulled by 777 contain highly toxic and highly flammable molten phenol, which would be a major disaster if the train should crash or derail in a populated area. Triple 7 is also filled with around 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel, which poses another serious threat. News of the runaway train soon becomes a media event.

Hooper suggests they purposely derail the train, but Galvin disagrees and believes they can safely stop the train by lashing it behind two slower-moving SD40-2 diesel locomotives helmed by veteran engineer Judd Stewart, which would slow it down long enough for AWVR employee and former U.S. Marine Ryan Scott to descend via helicopter to 777's cab and stop the train manually. Though the lashing initially works, a sudden hard bump as a result of Stewart applying the lash-up’s brakes injures Scott and renders him unconscious. In an attempt to get 777 off the main line, a switch to a siding is thrown down the tracks. Stewart is unable to slow down 777 sufficiently enough to take the siding, and the two SD40-2s end up derailing while going into the siding, causing them to explode, ultimately killing Stewart in the process. Due to its high speed, 777 goes over the switch without going into the siding or derailing, and continues down the main line. They realize that 777, traveling at its current speed, will certainly derail on "Devil's Curve", a tight, elevated portion of track in the middle of the city of Stanton, and would supposedly crash into a large fuel depot near the curve on the eastern side of the state. Plans are made to purposely derail the train outside the town of Arklow using multiple portable derailers.

Meanwhile, retiring AWVR engineer Frank Barnes and conductor Will Colson, a new hire looking to turn his life around after an incident with his now estranged wife, are pulling several cars with SD40-2 locomotive #1206 from Stanton. Though originally aware of 777 coasting away from the Fuller train yard, they are ordered at the last minute to pull into a Repair-In-Place track, making it just in time as 777 races by and clips the last few cars they are pulling. Barnes observes that the last car on 777 has an open coupler, which means that if they could catch up to the train, they could couple their engine to 777 and use their own brakes to slow the train before it reaches Stanton. As Colson unhitches their cars to give them the best chance of catching up, Barnes reports his plan to Hooper and Galvin and warns them that the derailing idea will not work given 777's momentum. Galvin then threatens to fire Barnes if he continues. Given that AWVR has already given him a forced early retirement notice, Barnes ignores Galvin and sets 1206 on course to catch up with 777. As 777 passes Arklow, police attempt to shoot the fuel shutoff switch on the engine, but fail to hit it. As Barnes predicts, the train barrels through the derailers without slowing down or derailing. Hooper and Werner fully support Barnes's plan and take over control of the situation from Galvin.

Barnes and Colson catch up to 777 and attempt to engage the coupling. Their attempts to connect with 777 cause the seal on the last grain car of the consist to break and leak grain at a blinding rate. Colson then notices the locking pin on the coupler is not engaged. He attempts to kick it in but the pair again hit 1206 and Colson gets his right foot crushed in the process. However, he is able to hold on enough to fully engage the locking pin. Barnes then begins to work his way across 777’s consist to its cab, manually engaging the brakes on the freight cars along the way, while Colson engages 1206's dynamic brakes, which initially slow down 777, but would prove to be no match for 777's speed. They are able to reduce the speed slow enough to clear the Stanton Curve without derailing by using the independent brake, but 777 remains out of control and threatens to crash into the Stanton train yard. Despite attempting to reach the locomotive by jumping on the cars, Barnes finds his path blocked to 777's cab, but Oldham arrives in his truck with a police convoy and drives on a road parallel to the tracks. Colson jumps to Oldham's truck, and Oldham drives him up to the front of 777, allowing Colson to get into the cab and engage the brakes. 777 is safely stopped before it reaches the end of the line.

Barnes, Colson, and Oldham are heralded as heroes, with Barnes retiring (with full benefits) and Colson reuniting with his wife and child. Hooper is promoted to Galvin's former position for her leadership, Ryan Scott recovers from his injuries, and Dewey goes to work in the fast food industry, indicating that he was fired.

Cast Edit

  • Denzel Washington as Frank Barnes, a veteran railroad engineer
  • Chris Pine as Will Colson, a young train conductor
  • Rosario Dawson as Connie Hooper, a train yardmaster
  • Lew Temple as Ned Oldham, a railroad lead welder
  • Ethan Suplee as Dewey, a hostler who accidentally instigates the disaster
  • Kevin Dunn as Oscar Galvin, vice-president of AWVR train operations
  • Kevin Corrigan as Scott Werner, an FRA inspector who helps Frank, Will, and Connie
  • Kevin Chapman as Bunny, a railroad operations dispatcher
  • T. J. Miller as Gilleece, Dewey's friend, also a hostler
  • Jessy Schram as Darcy Colson, Will's estranged wife
  • David Warshofsky as Judd Stewart, a veteran engineer who dies in an attempt to slow the runaway
  • Victor Gojcaj as Groundman, a railroad ground specialist
  • Meagan Tandy and Elizabeth Mathis as Maya and Nicole Barnes, Frank's daughters who work as waitresses at Hooters
  • Ryan Ahern as Ryan Scott, a railway employee and US Marine veteran of the war in Afghanistan who attempts unsuccessfully to board the runaway from a helicopter
  • Aisha Hinds as Railroad Safety Campaign Coordinator
  • Jeff Wincott as Jesse Colson, Will's brother who helps him on his family situation

Behind The ScenesEdit

  • Animal noises were edited into the film in order to make the AWVR 777 sound more menacing.
  • Much of the scene depicting the Stanton curve, such as buildings and train stunts, were made purely from CGI.