November 12, 2010
On the Big Board
||The plot hits ludicrous speed, but it is a tense, exciting ride. Most of the tension comes from anger at all the human error involved.
Tony Scott’s upcoming action thriller, Unstoppable, has one of those titles that just seems destined for bad puns in Hollywood Reporter headlines. “Tony Scott is Unstoppable at the Box Office,” in the event that the film succeeds, or maybe “Denzel Washingon is Anything but Unstoppable at the Box Office,” if it just performs in mediocre fashion.
Seriously, the folks over at 20th Century Fox should just be happy that this movie made it to the big screen. Financial woes at the studio have had serious impact on the film, cuts to the film’s overall budget as well as to the salary of both the film’s director, Tony Scott, and star, Denzel Washington. Negotiations got so bad that Washington even dropped out of the cast for two weeks after Fox pushed for him to reduce his paycheck down from $20 million to $16 million. Yep, he pulled the actor’s equivalent of stomping upstairs to your room and slamming the door.
But all these behind-the-lot shenanigans won’t matter if the final film is of passable artistic quality and makes a profit. Based on Scott and Washington’s previous three collaborations, I think we pretty much know what to expect. Their last three films together (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Déjà Vu, and Man on Fire) all grossed above $64 million at the box office, though none of them were able to score higher than 56% at RottenTomatoes.com. Thus, we’re probably looking at a moderate box-office hit with questionable quality.
Again, I doubt anyone at Fox would be disappointed with this outcome. The plot of this film is apparently based on a true story, though it sounds more like “Speed 3: Runaway Train!” to me. Washington plays a veteran engineer that gets drafted by a rail company to stop an unmanned, runaway freight train carrying toxic cargo from wiping out a city. In order to save all those women and children, he hops aboard another train, driven by hottie du jour, Chris Pine, to chase the runaway train and get it under control. Will they succeed? Or will the train prove to be UNSTOPPABLE? Stay tuned to find out - unless, that is, Washington storms back up to his room after his favorite dessert disappears from the cast’s food cart. (Jason Lee/BOP)