The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 98 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese, traditional Chinese
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson, Kevin Dunn, Ethan Suplee, T.J. Miller
Directed by: Tony Scott
Music by: Harry Gregson-Williams
Written by: Mark Bomback
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 15, 2011
"1 million tons of steel.100,000 lives at stake.100 minutes to impact"
Hang on for the ride of your life as Oscar winner Denzel Washington* and Chris Pine (Star Trek) team up for the year's most electrifying action-thriller. A runaway train, transporting deadly toxic chemicals, is barreling down on Scranton, Pennsylvania and only two men can stop it: a veteran engineer (Washington), and a young conductor (Pine.) Thousands of lives hang in the balance as these ordinary heroes attempt to chase down one million tons of hurtling steel and prevent an epic disaster. Helmed by visionary director Tony Scott (Man On Fire), this story inspired by actual events delivers excitement and suspense that are...UNSTOPPABLE!
If you have seen the trailer for Unstoppable you pretty much know what to expect. It is a dyed in the wool thriller that doesn't feature an intricate plot or deep characters but focuses on building suspense, interweaving its thrill based action and proper development of its antagonist which in this case is a runaway train with no hidden agenda. The plot includes some intermittent details on the personal lives of Frank (Washington) and Will (Pine) neither of which is substantive or effectively a part of the story. This isn't a problem since it's clear that with a 98 minute runtime the intent isn't to delve too deeply into the background on these characters but only to derive a serviceable connection so we can see what motivates them. No time is wasted as quick introductions are made and the train is off and running. The pacing works perfectly as the level of suspense rises along with the speed of the train.
The film's opening states that it is inspired by true events although I am not sure to what extent. Contrivances abound with stretches of eyebrow raising improbability but who cares? There are hair raising stunts (didn't see any obvious use of CGI), great cinematography, and well integrated thrills/action. The chemistry between Washington/Pine is believable and Dawson capably handles the strong female role. Tony Scott is a proven director who obviously knows his way around thrilling concepts and he makes this premise shine. It's funny but the inner workings of railroads and the coordination of the rail traffic isn't something I have ever given any thought to. Watching this film I can appreciate what must be involved and the expertise it requires. So, is Unstoppable a worthwhile addition to the genre? You bet it is. Its simple plot doesn't provide much of a platform for character emphasis or melodrama but the blistering pace and exciting thrills more than makeup for any perceived shortcomings in the development of the story. The result is a great popcorn flick that effectively entertains from beginning to end. You can't ask any more than that!
The rating is for sequences of action and peril and some language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Unstoppable comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.
This film's source elements don't lend themselves to overly vibrant, high gloss video but I was very pleased with the results I saw here. Images tend to lean toward darker color schemes, and grittier textures that provided the look that the filmmakers were striving for. This was done to good effect in my opinion. Shadow delineation is quite good and revealing of subtle details within dark backgrounds and low lighting sequences which gave those scenes better visual depth. Dynamic contrast and strong black levels allowed scenes containing mixed content to appear punchy with rich, dark highlights. Detail was rendered with aplomb and exhibited crisp textures and definitive resolution that brought forth subtle nuance within the images onscreen. Colors were visually satisfying with splashes of vivid hues that stood out nicely against the film's predominantly dark tone. Grain was intact and appeared faithfully preserved.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack offered extended dynamic range, aurally stimulating surround sound and potent low frequency effects. The sound field was broad with definable clarity and high level detail that reproduced dialogue and sound effects with defining realism. The surround mix was aggressive at times and easily filled the room with deep, punctuated bass, and dazzling sound effects that revolved around the listening position. Panning effects were seamlessly integrated with excellent near field spacing and 360 degree envelopment. I was most impressed with the transference of the train's visceral power to the room. The various segments involving the speeding trains (s) utilized the entire system to dynamically charge the room, via engaging surround sound and bursts of powerful, palpably rich bass that sounded awesome. Turn this one up to full throttle and enjoy the ride.
- (HD) The fastest track: Unleashing Unstoppable - 29 minute making of featurette
- (HD) Derailed: Anatomy of a scene - 10 minute featurette
- (HD) Hanging off the train: Stunt work - 14 minute featurette
- (HD) On the rails with director and cast - 13 minutes with Tony Scott, Denzel Washington and Rosario Dawson
- Audio commentary with director Tony Scott
- Audio commentary - Tracking the story: Unstoppable script development with Tony Scott and screenwriter Mark Bomback
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- BD-Live: Live Extras - Exclusive feature Feeling the heat: Unstoppable pyrotechnics
- Pocket BLU - with Wi-Fi download option (Apple products)
- Digital Copy
Unstoppable is a dyed in the wool genre film that is a little short story but engages with fast paced action, exciting thrills, and well executed stunts that result in a rewarding popcorn movie that entertains from beginning to end. It roars onto Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox featuring impressive high definition video and reference quality lossless sound that might just break your lease. The bonus supplements offer fans a decent look behind the scenes, includes interviews from the cast/crew, BD Live exclusive content, and a Digital Copy via the pocket Blu App or traditional PC download. This one is lots of fun and well worth the price of admission. Enjoy!
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JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Samsung BD-C7900 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package