I tend to run hot and cold on Director Tony Scott: I thought "The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three" was great but hated "Cyrus." On the other hand I've pre-ordered "Pillars of the Earth," so I went to this movie with an open mind; I was NOT disappointed.

The pacing and editing on this actioner are excellent; we have time to get acquainted with the principal characters:
  • the two bunglers T.J Miller ("Extract") and Ethan Suplee ("My Name is Earl"), who set the whole catastrophe in motion by failing to connect the air brakes on a mile-long train loaded with lethal chemicals and abandon it after trying (and failing) to divert it to a siding, which leaves it moving at ever-increasing speeds toward a mid-size Pennsylvania town;
  • and we meet Denzel Washington ("Man on Fire" [directed by Tony Scott]) and Chris Pine ("Star Trek") as the grizzled veteran engineer and his yellow-vested conductor four months out of training, who are routinely shuttling a train on that main track, but inadvertently lined up for a head-on collision.
To see a piece like this set in contemporary times illustrates the ubiquity of television news cameras and helicopters, bystanders using their cell phones to take pictures as the runaway train blasts through their towns and live coverage by reporters, who announce important elements even before some of the railroad officials know them.

Suffice it to say there is plenty of nail-biting suspense, hair-raising excitement, and even some blowie uppie stuff. There is never a moment when we are not fully engaged. The stunt work is amazing and we were on the edge of our seats. There are tiny moments of humor, snippets of corporate villainy and dabs of humanity, plus we have plenty of folks to root for! Best of all, we know it is based on a real-life event a few years ago.

Ya want exciting entertainment? This one's for you!