Unstoppable parents guide

Unstoppable Parent Guide

"Trains" and "brains" may rhyme, but both are in short supply in this movie about a locomotive that takes off without a driver.

Overall B-

A runaway loaded with toxic cargo is headed straight for a heavily populated area. Understanding the risks to the public, two railway employees (played by Denzel Washington and Chris Pine) ignore their own safety and attempt to halt the unstoppable locomotive.

Release date November 12, 2010

Violence B-
Sexual Content B+
Profanity D+
Substance Use A

Why is Unstoppable rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Unstoppable PG-13 for sequences of action and peril, and some language.

Run Time: 98 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

Trains and brains may rhyme, but both are in short supply in this movie about a locomotive that takes off without a driver. Dewey (Ethan Suplee) is the dolt who insists he doesn’t need to connect the air brakes just moments before he hops out of a moving cab to throw a switch. Not able to run any faster than he can think, his engine and its half-mile of cars are soon heading down the track without him. Even more surprising, his coworkers just laugh at the situation. When Dewey eventually finds the yardmaster (Rosario Dawson), he admits his mistake like a schoolboy who has cheated on a test, leaving Connie to figure out how best to cope with what is now described as "a missile the size of the Chrysler building."

Meanwhile at the other end of the line, veteran engineer Frank (Denzel Washington) and his rookie conductor Will (Chris Pine) have just pulled out with their load. And guess what? They are headed straight for the runaway. About the only thing more you could add to this already tense situation is a school field trip, tanker cars of hazardous chemicals and a small city with a big curving railroad bridge that can only be navigated at 15 MPH. Yup… they are all part of this movie mix.

If you come into this film expecting only exciting pictures of a train on the lamb and a passel of railroad workers wondering how they will stop it, then you may not be disappointed. However, being a big rail fan myself, I was hoping for a little more to get stoked over in this great locomotive chase. Pardon the inevitable pun, but this truly is a one-track script. Character development is virtually non-existent, with the exception of Frank and Will taking a few sideline moments to discuss marriage woes.

Then there is the critical lack of intelligence that overshadows much of what is on screen. Early in the movie, after being informed there is a train barreling toward him, Frank asks the obvious question: "Where is it?" Connie replies they don’t know. Yet Fox News (which is promoted to the point of saturation in this film that features dozens of fake embedded reports) has a helicopter tracking the locomotive with a live video feed. Too bad the yardmaster didn’t look at the huge TV in her control room. Later, when Connie finally is watching the news, she sees one of the company heroes madly driving his truck beside the speeding engine in an attempt to make a daring rescue. Shrieking, she gives this poor sap a call, forcing him to answer his cell phone while trying to pull off the difficult maneuver.

Along with the many moments of peril, an accidental injury with some blood effects is depicted. We also learn that railroad employees can swear up a storm because we are treated to a boxcar load of moderate and mild profanities, terms of deity and a sexual expletive.

Loosely based on an actual event from 2001, Unstoppable is a fast-paced, frenetic film with many hand-held camera shots that often tries too hard to convince us that a million tons of steel running out of control is a serious matter. For parents of older teens who are willing to tolerate the language and ignore the plot holes, this train may barely make the grade.

Directed by Tony Scott . Starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson. Running time: 98 minutes. Theatrical release November 12, 2010. Updated

Rating & Content Info

Why is Unstoppable rated PG-13? Unstoppable is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of action and peril, and some language.

Violence: A man injures his foot and blood is seen on his boot. A train crashes into an unoccupied vehicle. Many moments of peril are depicted involving an unmanned train.

Sexual Content: A man discusses the possibility of his wife having an affair. Two young women wear tight t-shirts while working in a restaurant.

Language: A single sexual expletive, frequent mild and moderate profanities and terms of Christian deity are used. Two crude sexual hand gestures are seen.

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Unstoppable Parents' Guide

This movie uses simulated live news reports as the backbone of the story. How do live newscasts shape events in the real world? Does instantaneous coverage benefit a situation like this?

For the details on the event in 2001 upon which this movie is based, check this page.

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Unstoppable movie is February 15, 2011. Here are some details…

Unstoppable releases to DVD and Blu-ray on February 15, 2011 with the following extras:

Unstoppable on DVD:

- Director Commentary Track

-Tracking the Story: Unstoppable Script Development

Unstoppable on Blu-ray:

- Derailed: Anatomy of a Scene

- Hanging Off the Train: Stunt Work

- On the Rails with the Director and Cast

- The Fastest Track: Unleashing Unstoppable

- Director Commentary Track

- Tracking the Story: Unstoppable Script Development

- Digital Copy

Related home video titles:

Actor Denzel Washington plays heroic characters in the fight against racial prejudice inRemember the Titans and The Great Debaters. Chris Pine risks all in his role as James T. Kirk in the sci-fi action/adventure movie Star Trek.