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Rail Time - a Model Train Blog: Unstoppable!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Okay, yes, I went to see Unstoppable. I had every expectation of not liking it because my "train buddies" almost to a man began to pick the movie apart before it ever reached the theaters. I expected, at best, it would be like Twister was to us real meteorologists: amusing but agonizingly disconnected from reality. But all those shots of SD40-2s on former PRR and B&O lines, plus shots of Wheeling & Lake Erie trains called to me. So I took the family.

I liked it.

THERE I SAID IT. I liked it a lot, actually. The rote old guy versus new guy dynamic, the predictable evil corporate boss putting cash above safety, and the regular suspension of physics, along with a few just plain mistakes (an SD40-2 does not generate 5000 HP, nor does it have problems running in reverse) were not enough to keep me from wanting to own the Blu-Ray.

What's to like? Well, the scenery is awesome. The mud season in western Pennsylvania is something I'm very familiar with... It's brown and desolate. Perfect for the story. The trains, well... Awesome too. The SD40-2 was a workhorse of Conrail and many other roads. The AC4400CWs were in a somewhat hokey scheme, but they do look menacing. Overall, the use of railroad jargon was just enough to feel somewhat realistic and not enough to overwhelm a non-railroad fan. And, for the most part, it's pretty close to correct.

The movie makes the situation much, much worse and more threatening than the real event, the so-called "Crazy Eights" runaway in Ohio in 2001, involving CSX SD40-2 #8888.

Wikipedia article on Crazy Eights

Overall, unless you have a railroad spike up your tailpipe, if you like trains, you'll enjoy this movie. Leave the physics book at home, please.


Blogger Michael Clayton said...

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Michael Clayton

August 9, 2011 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Maila M said...

i have seen this movie and honestly its a good movie. their wide attention to railroads and trains o scale is great making it look almost real.

September 30, 2011 at 9:31 PM  
Blogger Jerry said...

Great point! I feel exactly the same way! I spent a year on the BN as a brakeman before I went on to the corporate world and although there were some obviously glaring problems with some of the technical aspects(and physics!), it was a very enjoyable film...they got enough 'right' about railroading to be acceptable in my book. Bottom line it was a fun, tense, and different type of action movie that I enjoyed as well!

November 21, 2011 at 9:22 PM  

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