Speed. The sequel… or rather the re-imagining of a cliché action flick, minus Dennis Hopper. Tony Scott’s adaptation of a real-life incident in Ohio features Frank (Denzel Washington), and Will (Trekky Chris Pine), veteran engineer & newbie conductor, chasing after an unmanned runaway freight train carrying – you guessed it – toxic chemicals. The clock is ticking though until the train will inevitably derail on a curve in Stanton, PA. (Not Ohio).
The fresh – the “one” thing that makes this a little bit different is the lack of sabotage. Sure, I’d still take Dennis Hopper over this, but it was a fresh approach. Along those same lines, THANK you for leaving the kids out of it. Just sayin’.
The good – Rosario Dawson. Sure, she’s a typical no nonsense female executive, but I like her. Denzel Washington’s also good, as is Chris Pine. The script is surprisingly not terrible – Denzel’s got a few pretty good lines that (for the most part) don’t seem forced. It’s ordinary characters performing extraordinary heroic acts – you know, gives us all the feel goods. It’s also relentlessly exciting, and keeps you gripped and on your toes – very well paced.
The garbage – Oh the bureaucracy… Seriously? Does there always need to be a hard-nosed top boss who won’t listen to the old doctor, scientist, or engineer? Don’t THEY watch movies? A rogue train is scary enough, people disagreeing over it is not really scarier, it’s just dumber. And based on a true story it may be, but it’s still the same ol’ same ol’: cheesy, forced, and predictable. Also, could there have been more shaky cam? I don’t know about anyone else, but I was incredibly sick of it by the end. Lastly, though back story generally adds depth to characters, this time I couldn’t care less about Chris Pine’s troubles with the wife (though he and Denzel bickering about it was enjoyable).
It was a good night at the movies. Plenty of my girlfriends were drooling over Chris Pine. People were gasping with the explosions and close calls, fist pumping over the epic conclusion. I had a good time, it was solidly entertaining. Heck, it ain’t meant to be a work of art, I’ll take it for what it is. And it’s a whole lot better than The Next Three Days… 6/10