Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan



Denzel Washington is the veteran engineer who has to attempt to stop a runaway train when someone else’s carelessness lets it get up a head of steam in the yard. He’s accompanied by the obligatory rookie (Chris Pine) who has to be shown his by-the-book ways aren’t enough out here in the real world. There is the usual corporate malfeasance as the suits at headquarters try to figure out the best way to limit their liability exposure as the seconds tick away, endangering even more people. Denzel and hotshot are helped by the only cool, sane head in the control room, Rosario Dawson. If this sounds like a bad review, it’s not. All that above, though fairly standard, is really beside the point, and you won’t have much time to worry about any of it except afterward. While you’re watching, it’s utterly involving. I mean, this sucker jumps out of the gate within five minutes and just keeps accelerating from there. It is relentless, unstoppable, nail-biting tension from start to finish, as harrowing a ride as I’ve seen since Speed, and even better than that, because it is something so few action pictures are today: smart. The screenwriter, Mark Bomback, spent some time learning how railroads really work, and it shows. Of course, you have to finesse a few things to set it all up and keep it running, but so what? Once we’re rolling it all feels real. I recommend this one highly.