Unstoppable (2010)

tn_unstoppableAfter the one-two Avid fart punch of MAN ON FIRE and DOMINO, I swore off Tony Scott for life. Or, it turns out, for five years. Those two movies sounded up my alley but they were brutally murdered by Scott’s reckless disregard for visual storytelling. I just couldn’t trust him anymore, even if the movie sounded good, which his last couple have not, even if everybody said he calmed down a little.

Now, through the combined magic of blu-ray technology, boredom and Christian forgiveness, I have given Tony Scott another shot with the Denzel Washington-Chris Pine-speeding train motion picture UNSTOPPABLE. The bad news: I didn’t like the movie enough to justify ending my boycott. The good news: at least he’s curbed his instincts to mark his territory by stylistically peeing all over every frame of film.

mp_unstoppable10I’m not saying its clean, crisp filmatism. It’s kind of Bourne-esque, lots of handheld shots zooming in and out to look like a documentary. But hey, you can basically see most of what’s happening, there aren’t any cuts quick enough to cause seizures in most people, and there aren’t, like, subtitles that move around or anything ridiculous like that. Just a normal shaky sort of thriller. Baby steps back to being a real director.

Now, I know people always say if you’re gonna do a remake it should be a remake of a bad movie. That’s why you shouldn’t remake THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE. But I don’t care how weak it is, why would you remake UNSTOPPABLE, a movie that’s only six years old? Why replace the great Wesley Snipes with his MO’ BETTER BLUES co-star Denzel? And why change the plot so that instead of being about Wesley being a CIA agent who gets  injected with a drug that makes him lose a grip on reality and think he’s back in Bosnia it’s about some guys trying to stop a train with no brakes? I mean, I get it. The train is a metaphor for Wesley. But still, is this necessary?

Otherwise it’s not a bad idea for a studio disaster thriller type deal. It’s kind of an APOLLO 13 type of “let’s all figure out a bunch of different things to try to solve this problem” type of movie. You got Rosario Dawson in charge, Kevin Corrigan at her side as a safety consultant, a corporate VP guy in another office making other plans, a redneck pickup truck driver on the ground chasing after the train, various local police forces waiting to help out when the train gets to them, and then our heroes are forcibly-retiring Denzel and despised-new-guy-on-the-job-also-going-through-marital-difficulties Chris Tiberius Pine. They’re on a train stuck playing chicken with the runaway one. They’re the rogue engineer and conductor who play by their own rules, and stick it to the man and what not by not believing other people’s theories and refusing a direct order to not be stupid and risk their lives to try their own plan for stopping the train. All these characters come up with different ideas of how to stop the train or derail it before it blows chemicals into some town in Pennsylvania. And they disagree with each other’s ideas or didn’t foresee what would go wrong or whatever and keep trying until they (SPOILER) stop the train.

Which is bullshit. If it’s called UNSTOPPABLE the train shouldn’t be so stoppable. To earn that title the movie would have to end with a time lapse of thousands of years of human progress, futuristic cities building up and breaking down and going to seed and being grown over with rain forest and the whole time the train keeps looping around the world, unable to stop. Or it should be like HALLOWEEN, the train seemingly is stopped but then it disappears and you hear its rumble echoing through mountains and valleys and dark territory all around the country. It’s here, it’s there, it’s everywhere and nowhere, it thinks it can it thinks it can, it’s unstoppable. I could’ve definitely done with some creepy music and long shots of the front of the train as if it’s alive and evil, like CHRISTINE or something.

It’s a good cast. It even has Jeff Wincott (MISSION OF JUSTICE) in it. And Washington and Pine have a pretty good anti-chemistry as dudes who don’t really like each other having to work together. Denzel does his usual asshole routine and Pine is kind of like Captain Kirk but a little darker when you find out why his wife has a restraining order against him. Of course they work things out by him almost dying on a train (SPOILER). She’s waiting for him at the end of the line, I was hoping her having the restraining order against him would force the train to stop once it got close to her. Or that after he saves the day the cops would arrest him.

I mean seriously, both of these look like DTV covers. Just throw Cuba Gooding Jr. on there I guess.
I mean seriously, both of these look like DTV covers. Just throw Cuba Gooding Jr. on there I guess.

I wonder if it’s common for a train master to be a good looking gal like Rosario Dawson? I gotta admit I don’t know a damn thing about the world of train operation, she might be a fair representation of most of them. I thought it was funny when the redneck guy was trying to explain to some cops who he was and mentioned who he works for, and one of the cops says “You work for Connie?” Everybody knows Connie. She’s the people’s train master.

This disaster is not Connie’s fault, she’s just here to clean up. The trouble was started by Ethan Suppley, the fat sidekick from that show I used to hate, My Name Is Earl. He’s supposed to be kind of a lazy dipshit of an engineer, he screws up by setting the controls of the train incorrectly, then getting off to manually flip a switch on the tracks and then failing to get back on the train. I guess this is what really caused the incident that the movie is loosely inspired by, but the movie also implies that if he just wasn’t so fat he could’ve caught up with the train. And then it makes a joke out of him, you’re supposed to laugh at him at the end. Ha ha, that slacker almost blew up a town. Ha ha. Luckily only one person was killed. The only thing missing is a subplot where he demands that Denzel recover half a bag of Doritos that he left on the train.

By the way, in a PG-13 movie you can mouth the word “FUCK!” twice if a train is drowning your voice out. It’s the yippee-ky-yay-gunshot principle. But you have to say “jag off” instead of “jack off.”

UNSTOPPABLE almost worked for me as just kind of a generic thriller. What killed it for me might not bother you guys, it might just be a weird pet peeve of mine. I didn’t have a problem with the action and peril being exaggerated and kind of ridiculous. I was willing to believe in these characters and what they were doing. My problem was with the two audiences within the movie, the people observing the main action: the media, and the people at home (and along the train tracks) watching. The way the incident is covered by the media and the way the people watching react both felt so blatantly false that it completely took me out of the movie and ruined it for me.

It’s a common problem in movies that I hate, the news reports that don’t sound like real news reports. It’s just like the fakey computers that are in so many movies, you wonder how these people who made the movie expect their audience to be made up of people who are not very familiar with computer screens or TV news. Are they making movies mainly for the Amish?

As far as I can tell this was not intended as any sort of satirical attack on the media, but the train disaster is constantly being covered by the newscopters and camera crews. They know what happened, they know the names of the people involved and they have good photos of them. They have logos and animated diagrams. They  are able to fly down close to the action, show it, and always be completely aware of exactly who is involved and what they are trying to do and they’re able to explain it as it happens. So you get that double-whammy of not being believable as news coverage and being insulting of your intelligence as an audience member who already understands that he’s trying to climb down and push the pin down so that the trains can lock together, or whatever. And if Chris Pine’s character is annoyed that a loud helicopter is flying maybe ten feet away from him blasting air on him while he tenuously hangs from a high speed vehicle with a very high likelihood of falling to his death then he was very polite and never mentioned it at all.

At the same time they’re pretty pessimistic, at one point naming our two heroes as about to become the first victims of Pennsylvania’s deadliest train crash. Seems a little presumptuous.

Last week I watched CNN covering this speech by Egyptian president Mubarak. It had been leaked that he was gonna make a resignation speech, but when he finally got up there he made a long, rambling speech about how he was not gonna step down. It was in desperate need of an Oscar orchestra to play him off. The huge crowds of protesters who were gathered in the square were of course upset, and chanting (according to the text on CNN’s screen) for him to get out. Meanwhile Wolf Blitzer was very confused and kept asking, both rhetorically and to various other people appearing on the broadcast, why the crowd was so excited when it seemed like they should be upset about the speech. If it took Wolf Blitzer 5 minutes to figure out that the crowd was angry when it was written on the bottom of the damn screen I really do not believe that this reporter would be able to spontaneously interpret and correctly explain all of Chris Pine’s actions as he jumps across and tries to couple the two trains.

I just find it very hard to believe that it would be covered this way. And hey, whaddya know, I can prove that it wouldn’t be, because the real incident was not covered this way. I looked it up. When it really happened everything was kept secret. It was months before the company admitted what caused the accident, and they never released the name of the engineer involved or said what happened to him (or her). The stopping of the train was shown on live TV, but it wasn’t so dangerous because in real life the idea of coupling the train worked much better than in the movie, so they didn’t have to jump from a moving vehicle FAST AND THE FURIOUS style. They actually slowed it down enough that a guy just ran alongside and jumped on.

Maybe even less excusable than the phony news coverage is the phony reactions from the people watching the news, or watching live from alongside the train tracks. This is one of those movies that has a whole damn lot of shots of crowds standing around looking nervous, scared, happy, triumphant, or whatever while watching all the action on TV. People reacting to the TV footage in control rooms, offices, living rooms and a Hooters restaurant (seriously – Denzel’s character’s daughters both work there. Apparently their bosses don’t send them home even though their dad is in extreme danger. And it’s even one of ’em’s birthday. What the hell? But at least they get to watch the TV, they’re not taking people’s orders or anything).

But like the news media the people watching all seem to have omniscient powers and understand everything that’s going on, as if they’re actually watching the movie themselves. For example, when one of our heroes has to jump from a truck onto the train or vice versa as soon as he transfers from one vehicle to the other all of the crowds smile and cheer. Why? He has not gotten himself to safety. He has moved from one out of control vehicle to another of the same speed. He is just as likely to die horribly right before our eyes now as he was a few moments ago. But somehow his wife instantly knows what we know, that movie conventions dictate that he will now survive. And that’s a good thing, because for some reason she has brought his very young son and is holding him up for a good view of his father’s almost-certain-but-apparently-now-just-barely-avoided horrible tragic live on TV heroic death.

I mean, how am I supposed to believe in the danger if the characters clearly don’t? Rosario calls the redneck guy on his cell phone while watching him drive 70mph next to the train, and the fucking guy answers! And she didn’t even have anything important to say, such as “Don’t answer your phone while you’re driving! Keep both hands on the steering wheel!”

So, sorry to say but UNSTOPPABLE is easily toppable. Not very good, and not Tony Scott’s best. But very, very far from his worst. Way to improve, I guess?


This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 at 3:02 am and is filed under Action, Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

67 Responses to “Unstoppable (2010)”

  1. I didn’t bother with this one in theatres because quite frankly, it looked like Tony Scott’s dumbass action movie remake of RUNAWAY TRAIN.

    Now that is a genuine action classic right there (in the traditional definition, not in the “action” we think now) which you should review Vern. Trust me, it’ll wash away whatever vile residue still junking your senses after watching Tony Scott piss away his decent legacy (True Romance, Revenge, BHC 2, The Hunger) in his continuing defiance, pathetic filmatic auteur exhibition of a midlife crisis on the big screen.

    Also TRAIN has Danny Trejo in it. Is that enough to convince you son?

  2. Just count your blessings you didn’t watch Deja Vu, Vern. Seriously…

    When did Scott’s retarded acid flashback style begin, anyway? Was it with The Fan? That’s the earliest one I can recall. Fuckin 90’s.

  3. Knox – I thought ENEMY OF THE STATE?

    Also I forgot another solid nugget in Tony Scott’s “respectable” legacy: CRIMSON TIDE.

    Not easy to produce a gripping Cold War-era thriller after the Cold War.

  4. I posted yesterday Vern. Don’t know if you got it?

  5. I haven’t watched the movie, so I don’t know how it really looks like, but I remember that Moriarty tore it a new one, called it Tony Scott’s worst looking movie and mentioned how he got a real headache from watching it. So I’m surprised that you are pretty light on your criticism of its visual style.

  6. “Jag Off” always sounded like a very unpleasant thing to do, to me.
    Why does Chris Pine look like a vampire on both those DVD covers, and why does the german one look like an Indiana Jones ripoff? This movie pisses me off. I’ve never watched it, but the title is annoying, because wasn’t UNSTOPPABLE going to be the name of one of the sequels in the scrapped UNBREAKABLE trilogy? So every time I heard the title I’m saddened by what could have been. Rosario Dawson wants to be in the Star Trek sequel very much. I wonder if she hassled Pine about it while filming.

  7. Yes and Yes. Phony news footage more often than not strikes a false note; don’t know if it’s because the dialogue is too tooled, or the actors won’t gear down to a reporter’s pseudo-neutrality, or the director is afraid the flow will be lost if the footage has its own pace instead of the film’s. And here the news footage is like audience training wheels. Look here, think this, be aware of that. Why distance the viewer with intermediaries? (Budget? Giving a kinda thin, linear story other things to look at?)

    Weirdly, the crowd scenes didn’t ring true, but didn’t bug too much because of all the cutting. It’s a hoary technique, but at least it’s not dwelt upon. Thought the movie overall was tolerable, but in the way like settling on a box of Wheat Thins instead a real meal.

  8. I´ve never gotten a headache of watching Tony Scott´s movies. The only visual terror that´s gotten to me is the constant lightflashings at the end of Alien. Personally I can´t stand that sequence.

  9. I lived in Pittsburgh for 5 years – “Jag-off” is a VERY popular and common local colloquialism in western pennsylvania/eastern ohio for people who are behaving in a manner befitting – as the rest of the world would call it – a jerkoff. I’m not sure of Mr. Scott was pandering for the pg-13 rating, or really did his research regarding local slang. just thought i’d throw this out there…

  10. I was just talking to someone about Tony Scott’s better films. I had forgotten that he has produced some real classics. Both Crimson Tide and True Romance are solid films. I wonder what it was that made him go off the rails. Something very tragic must have happened to that man in the late nineties.

  11. Maybe it was just the midlife crisis. Harrison Ford wears an earring and dates AllyMcBeal, Tony Scott tries to out-Bay Michael Bay.

  12. CRIMSON TIDE is one of my favorite popcorn movies. The steady erosion of Tony Scott’s film skills since has been baffling to me.

  13. Let’s not forget his masterpiece: THE LAST BOY SCOUT.

    I’ve probably seen it 50 times. There are lines from that movie that pop up in my daily speech with disturbing regularity.

    “I’m trying to decide which one of you looks the most like my dick.”

    “Sure, an accident. Coulda happened to anybody. You trip, slip on a wet floor, and accidentally stick your dick in my wife. ‘Whoops! Sorry, Mrs. H., I guess this just isn’t my week!'”

    And of course: “Touch me again I’ll kill ya.”

    A classic. I still cut Tony some slack because of it.

  14. Horror Express is one of my favorite train based pictures. Just sayin’

  15. Nice work slipping in the dark territory reference.

  16. Agree with you on THE LAST BOYSCOUT, Mr Majestyk.One of my all-time favourites! Full of great lines
    Especially that wife-shit:

    “How fat is she?”
    ” She´s so fat I had to roll her in flour and look for the wet-spot!” Classic!

  17. HORROR EXPRESS – they should have gotten Telly Savalas on that train sooner, then it’d just have been MILDLY DISAGREEABLE EXPRESS.

  18. The best thing about this movie is that Saturday Night Live actually made that funny parody trailer about it.


  19. I find THE LAST BOYSCOUT is better in the memory, than in the watching.

    I showed it to a Boyscout virgin recently and he commented on the almost complete lack of action in the first hour. I guess he just expected more from it because I built it up as this totally badass angry violent action film, but there’s actually a lot of talking going on because it’s a Shane Black script (I think).

  20. HORROR EXPRESS, the Christopher Lee/Peter Cushing monster-on-a-train vehicle with awesome Telly Savalas? I love it too. Its one of those great movies which just keeps evolving and defying your expectations.

  21. So…a shooting on a football field, two massive car explosions, a shootout involving a machine-gunned stripper and a guy with his legs crushed between two cars who then gets shot through the head, and that part where Damon Wayans jumps off a highway overpass for no good reason…all that counts as an “almost complete lack of action”? Man, you kids today and your short attention spans. You’re just proving latter-day hyperactive Tony right, you know. If he reads this he’s gonna go back and Lucas in some wobbly subtitles so there’s no chance of anyone getting bored.

  22. I started smoking after watching The Last Boy Scout when I was about fifteen.

    “What’re you gonna do today Joe?”
    “Thinking about smoking some cigarettes”

  23. “Can you postpone?”

    “I don’t know. These are some pretty good cigarettes.”

  24. Complete lack of action THE LAST BOYSCOUT is not. More lack of attention-span i would say!

  25. “Why did Mr Milo cross the road?”
    “Because his dick was stuck in a chicken!”

  26. “What’s that number on the back of your head? Is that like a license plate in case you lose it?”

    Oh, Danielle Harris. If our 12-year-old selves had met we’d have three kids by now. Wisecracking little fuckers, the lot of them.

  27. Usually kids are badly written characters in movies. But Danielle Harris´s character actually seemed like a rebellious teenager. Remember that 12-year old girl in JOhn Woo´s BLACKJACK? Who still cuddled with hear favourite teddybear and drinking milk?!! I guess the writers of that movie didn´t have any kids of their own.

  28. Complete lack of action? Get outta here!

  29. I hated this movie precisely because of the action and peril being exaggerated and kind of ridiculous. The movie worked so hard to put the word “hero” in glowing letters above every character’s head that i couldn’t stand it

  30. THE LAST BOY SCOUT is a fantastic movie–a friend once pointed out that almost every single line is some kind of wiseass joke–but Tony’s masterpiece is TRUE ROMANCE, folks. Sorry, no contest.

    My personal list of T. Scott’s best:



    REVENGE (original cut, not the horrible post-action mess he released on DVD a few years ago)


    CRIMSON TIDE (with it’s uncredited production draft by Quentin Tarantino)


    and TOP GUN is not “good”, exactly, but it’s fun and has an iconic place in pop culture and memory.

    BEVERLY HILLS COP II is not “good”, nor is it good, nor is it iconic as anything but how lousy sequels can be, but it’s an example of a bad Tony Scott movie that is just a bad movie, and not a seizure-inducing hideously ugly mess.

  31. Could we please from now on refer to this film as THE TRAIN THAT COULDN’T SLOW DOWN?

  32. One thing that I personally couldn’t buy was that the people in charge of hooking the brakes up on the train, coupling cars etc, etc didn’t know the (thanks to the article about the true story, exaggeratedly) volatile nature of the chemicals that were onboard. I can buy someone not wanting to do their job properly because people cut corners all the time, but for them not to know when the risk is that much greater seems a little silly. I know a train is always x tons of potentially out of control metal, but when that thing is full of stuff that can go allegedly blow shit up real good I think I’d like to know.

    The movie also resists trying to paint Ethan Suplee and TJ Miller as the people responsible for this fiasco, which they are, and it’s a huge mistake because then when you have to go through the motions of revealing why this is such a disaster and the fact that someone, somewhere actually touching the trains had no idea what was on it makes everyone look a little bit spectacularly incompetent.

    But it was a nice touch making Kevin Corrigan the random chemical exposition guy.

  33. Regarding the “almost complete lack of action” in THE LAST BOYSCOUT.

    It’s not my attention span that was the problem, and I’m not a kid, I’m in my 30s… but maybe that makes me a kid because you guys are like 65 and smoke pipes, and have a giant mustache, and the world’s longest attention span in the history of attention spans?

    Nah, actually it was my friend who commented on the lack of action, and he actually has ADHD! So there you go. Case closed. BOYSCOUT does in fact contain action scenes.

    Though I do wonder which Bruce Willis film has the highest bodycount and where BOYSCOUT fits in?

  34. Bruce Willis bodycount: http://www.moviebodycounts.com/Willis_Bruce.htm

    26 kills in BOYSCOUT. 9 attributed to Bruce. Which is less than any of the DIE HARD’S. Still not a bad effort.

  35. Wait, he doesn’t kill 11 of the 12 terrorists in Die Hard? (Al Powell finishes Karl I know.)

  36. Yeah I don’t trust those talleys. I’m pretty sure he killed at least 3 people in PULP FICTION (not just the Gimp and Maynard at the pawn shop, but he also kills his opponent in his boxing match. I guess they didn’t count that one because it’s offscreen).

  37. And I forgot to say John Travolta too.

  38. in the spirit of openness and transparency I gotta admit that I just added a new paragraph to this review making a point I forgot to make about Wolf Blitzer.

  39. i am no tony scott defender, but am i the only person who thought ENEMY OF THE STATE was suprisingly fun, entertaining, and not as dumb as you would expect? and the fact that it is a secret, unofficial sequel to THE CONVERSATION is weird and pretty hilarious. to be honest, i only saw it once, years ago (with low expectations), so i don’t really remember how the action scenes fit into the recent history of the death of action filmmaking aka “post-action” (shit, a huge amount of the responsibility for this tragedy lies with two brothers!), but i don’t remember not being able to follow what was going on, and i think of myself as pretty sensitive to these things.

    will smith was good, hackman was great as always. the only thing i really didn’t like was the geek-chic team of smart-ass computery guys, played by seth green and jamie kennedy (both of whom i can’t stand) and others (though, was jack black, whom i DO like, also one of them?).

  40. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Man on Fire. It’s one of Scott’s best. And Denzel’s best ever.

  41. Better than MALCOLM X? Better than RICOCHET? I don’t know about that bud.

    I don’t know, some day I gotta try that movie again, but I expect I’ll regret it. You gotta direct it pretty fuckin bad to make me hate a Brian Helgeland scripted revenge movie starring Denzel Washington.

  42. Vern, have you heard?

    UNIVERSAL SOLDIER 4 with Michael Jai White just got its first major steps in moving!


  43. CC – no offense but how can you call DAYS OF THUNDER as good, but not TOP GUN?

    Both are shallow turkeys if you ask me, with the same basic plot to the point that maybe I can understand why people could like TOP GUN (I’m not one of them, but ok), but THUNDER?

    The only excuse is if you’re sporting a big beer belly in your trailer park home, bitching about Obamacare socialism while waiting on your next welfare check so you can spend it at the local racetrack.

    At least from my observations in East Tennessee.

  44. And I’m disapointed that I’m the only one who is vouching for RUNAWAY TRAIN. It’s better than LAST BOY SCOUT. There I said it, I shat on the bed.

    ~But a quick clarification: I’m not dissing SCOUT, its pretty good. I just forgot Tony Scott made that quite honestly.

  45. THUNDER does have a tad more self-deprecating wit than TOP GUN, a slightly better cast and if you’re the kind of person who can’t enjoy a movie because of its ideology its certainly less objectionable, but it’s a film where everyone “knew” they had a hit in the bag, so they just faxed in the script as they went along, and it shows.

    I’ll repeat myself hear and point out UNSTOPPABLE got a 86% rating on RT. I know the “Tomatometer” has to be taken with a pinch of salt, but seriously, between this and STAR TREK ORIGINS: KIRK ‘N’ SPOCK do critics all have some kind of ravenous crush on Chris Pine or something? Will their be a raft of retrospective praise for JUST MY LUCK as its half-decade anniversary approaches?

  46. *Here* and *There* obviously

  47. I wouldn’t dream of comparing any of Denzel’s other movies to Malcolm, Vern. But, yes, I think he’s much better in Man on Fire than in Ricochet (which should be renamed The John Lithgow Show). Runaway Train is THE train movie, and make everything else look like Thomas the Tank Engine in comparison.

  48. I like the chilled-out Denzel of Inside Man. I’d watch that cop character in another film, as long as it was directed by chilled-out Spike Lee.

    Also, yeah, the news stuff is lame. “Hooray! Success! The train has stopped! The crowd breathes a sigh of relief! Everyone is ecstatic!… apart from that one old guy that tried to stop the train back there. He’s still dead.”

  49. I thought Chris Pine was hilarious in Smokin’ Aces. Then again, I thought Martin Lawrence was a riot in Nothing to Lose.

    “You want a cookie? Here’s your cookie, motherfucker!”

    Oh, how we laughed…

  50. Hey, is no one else accusing Vern of raping their childhood by going back and jimmying with this review and only saving the rejiggered edition?

  51. Like RRA, i also vouch for RUNAWAY TRAIN. It is a damn good movie. And since the movie has lots of believable badass hardmen, i think Vern would be for a treat.

    And the fact that Akira Kurosawa wrote the script and at one time almost got to direct it himself.

  52. Tony Scott made some good movies. THE HUNGER (his best), REVENGE, TRUE ROMANCE.

    Some are partially good for different reasons. CRIMSON TIDE is good if you know nothing about proper navy proceduals. And LAST BOY SCOUT is a one great scene (Willis and his daughter shouting match when we first see her) surrounded by a whole bunch of 80s action movie banality, while hardly being as smart as it think it is. It’s low tier Shane Black.

    The rest of Tony Scott’s career is made of shit. None worst then TOP GUN.

  53. Hi guys, late to the party but although True Romance is a great film I have to wonder if it’s really Tony Scott’s doing or if it wasn’t just the lucky alchemy of the truly fantastic cast and also Gary Oldman who despite being in the cast I just mentioned is so unthinkably good he deserves separate accolades.

    Also Brad Pitt as the potsmoking roomie, possibly his best role after Johnny Suede.

  54. Shit, guys, Tony Scott just killed himself. RIP :(

  55. Nice of Vern to apologize for his DOMINO review on Twitter.

  56. This hit me hard. I was a big fan.

  57. Tony Scott, Ranked:
    1: Deja Vu
    2: Enemy of the State
    3: Spy Game
    4: One of the Missing (Short)
    5: The Taking of Pelham 123
    6: Revenge
    7: Unstoppable
    8: Crimson Tide
    9: True Romance
    10: The Hunger
    11: Man on Fire
    12: Loving Memory
    13: Domino
    14: The Last Boy Scout
    15: The Fan
    16: Top Gun
    17: Beverly Hills Cop II
    18: Days of Thunder

    1 thorugh 15 are very much worthwhile, IMO. I was a big fan, particularly these last few years. Tony Scott may not have made his Alien or Blade Runner, but he was the most talentet of the two Scott brothers.

  58. Damn! Just woke up to these shitty news. He made two of my favourite movies of alltime (TRUE ROMANCE and THE LAST BOYSCOUT) and I liked pretty much most movies he has ever made. Felt like REVENGE never got the appreciation it deserves,pretty great movie as well.But its nice to see that Forrest has it pretty high up on his list.
    I feel shitty for saying this, but the directors cut of REVENGE is not as good. Stay away from it.

    I liked CRIMSON TIDE,MAN ON FIRE and DEJA VU. THE FAN is also good. DeNiro really gives a good performance in that. You can´t fuck around with TOP GUN or BEVERLY HILLS COP 2 either. I actually prefer BHC2 to the first one in some ways. DOMINO had some great ideas. Could not stand the visual excesses,though.


  59. CRIMSON TIDE is way tops for me, with Top Gun, Days of Thunder, Cop Ii and Deja Vu pretty high. Hey i liked Unstoppable quite a bit too.

  60. Is anyone interested in doing a Top 10 for the decade gone? I know it’s a bit into the 2020’s already, but a decade is worth pausing for. I’m basing my below list purely on how often I’ve returned to the film out of love for it. Will leave commentary out for now and just let the titles do the talking. In no particular order –

    1. The Grey
    2. Zero Dark Thirty
    3. Man Of Steel
    4. Mad Max Fury Road
    5. John Wick
    6. The Woman
    7. Godzilla
    8. Mandy
    9. Drive
    10. Universal Soldier Day Of Reckoning
    Sneaky 11. The Irishman

    And there’s a ton more I haven’t thought of yet.

  61. Ah shit I forgot CREED, DJANGO, BLOOD FATHER, NIGHTCRAWLER, and Zahler’s two gut punches BONE and BRAWL.

    There’s way too much great stuff in a decade to narrow down to 10. Also I feel like there’s been an overload of content available now because of streaming, so it’s super hard to keep up with the latest greatest now-est wow-est, unless I’m willing to sacrifice job, wife, kids, life etc.

    I’ve decided to go slow this year with movie watching, maybe go back and see some old Hitchcock’s, pre PSYCHO, see what all the fuss is about.

  62. The Undefeated Gaul

    January 27th, 2020 at 4:32 am

    Top 10s, always a fun exercise. I’ll use the same method of selection, choosing films I return to the most, even if that means this list will primarily be made up of a specific type of film. I also decided to put only titles on here I like to watch as a whole, because there’s certain films I tend to put on again and again, but then only watch the best parts (i.e. the kitchen fight in THE RAID 2, the fights from UNDISPUTED III/NINJA II, the tank and airplane sequences in FURIOUS SIX, and so on).

    2. KICK-ASS
    5. JOHN WICK
    6. AQUAMAN
    8. FAST FIVE
    9. MOANA

  63. I did a Top 20 list of action movies I liked the most in the 2010s. Here is the list.
    1. The Raid
    2. John Wick
    3. John Wick 3
    4. Fury Road
    5. Drug War
    6. Winter Soldier
    7. The Night Comes For Us
    8. Beyond Skyline
    9. Security
    10. Dredd
    11. 24 Hours to Live
    12. Scott Pilgrim
    13. Avengement
    14. Accident Man
    15. Man of Tai Chi
    16. Upgrade
    17. Baby Driver
    18. Master Z
    19. Gridlockd
    20. Mr. Right

    Yeah my list is fucking weird, I get that.

  64. I think the 2010s were a damn good decade for movies, but I’m terrible at lists. If I had to narrow it down to a single movie that I’ve returned to over and over, both alone and watching with other people, I wouldn’t be able to pick between FURY ROAD and DREDD. To me those movies are pretty much perfect. They give me everything I love in action movies and nothing I hate. I’ve loved many other movies this decade too, but none match those two in terms of sheer rewatch numbers.

  65. Ooh, lists are fun. Having in mind that you could slide the following entries a couple of places on either direction depending on how I’m feeling that day, except for the beast sitting pretty at number one –

    1 – Mad Max Fury Road
    2 – The Raid
    3 – John Wick 3
    4 – SPL2
    5 – 13 Assassins
    6 – Dr Strange
    7 – Night Comes for Us
    8 – Day of Reckoning
    9 – The Villainess
    10 – Last Jedi
    10 – The IP man sequels
    10 – Accident Man
    10 – reserved for all the good ones I’m forgetting right now.

    A few of these I discovered due to this very site, so cheers!

  66. I can’t say that I ever expected to see UNSTOPPABLE. I vaguely remember it coming out and looking like a bad movie and then immediately forgetting about it forever.

    A couple things changed that in the last few weeks. First, I finally got around to watching a movie called TRAINING DAY. Not sure if you guys have seen it, I guess it’s a bit obscure, Vern hasn’t even reviewed it. But this guy, Denzel, he’s pretty great in it and I’ve somehow barely seen any of the guy’s movies. Like, I could count them on one hand.

    Second, I’ve been listening to a lot of the Rewatchables podcast and it’s made me rewatch and appreciate a lot of flicks lately. They have 3 episodes where Tarantino joined them and they let him pick whatever movies he wanted. He chose: 1) DUNKIRK; 2) KING OF NEW YORK; and 3)….UNSTOPPABLE. And this one is on Netflix so I figured it was meant to be.

    I really wanted to like UNSTOPPABLE. I’m still trying to like it. It did have its moments. And it very effectively used one of my all-time favourite movie tricks with the fake newscasts (Inspector Li – apparently they used the real newscasters from that part of PA).

    But this movie was really fucking terrible. Not in the BLACKHAT, how could anything think any of this was a good idea way, but just a very average story with a lot of dumb ideas thrown in, which could still work if not for Tony Scott’s “style”. It’s weird how he really commits to the craziness and then edits it all to make it look like shit. That podcast I mention put it well – at a certain point the camera pulls back and you can see multiple helicopters, two trains, cars, trucks, crowds of spectators, etc. all in the same shot and it really is amazing. But where they were praising this, I just see a missed opportunity because instead of lingering and taking it in, they just add like 15 cuts of shaky cam.

    So then I listened to the podcast to see what they, and especially QT, had to say about it. They absolutely praised the shit out of it. I don’t get it! Not only that, QT put it on his list of top 10 movies of the fucking decade! And they mentioned that Ebert gave it 3.5 stars. Am I taking crazy pills or what? I’m totally mystified by this. It’s an OK movie at best if it was just shot and presented normally. But all the frantic cuts and zooming around and everything made it nearly unwatchable. The only saving grace was the family and friends watching the fake news reports which, again, I am an absolute sucker for.

    Also, you know what bothered me the most about this fucking movie? In the end, they saved the day by driving a truck next to the train and jumping on to it. What the fuck stopped them from doing that the whole fucking time??? Am I actually taking crazy pills?

  67. Nah, I think you’ve got this movie’s number. It’s a whole lot of not much. The main thing I remember about it is that the ending makes the whole movie pointless. What did Tarantino like about it?

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