a critiQal film review Unstoppable (2004)

  • DVD

Plot: Dean (Snipes) is an ex-Special Ops agent trying to deal with life after the missions. When he's in the wrong place at the wrong time, he is injected with a highly-experimental new drug, XE - a mind-altering substance that shortens your life span to only about 6 hours.

149 words (Est. Reading Time 44s)
  • ...the house of cards that is this straight-to-DVD Wesley Snipes vehicle is teetering so much a strong wind could knock it over.

It’s kind of sad to watch action movies these days. No, I’m not talking about sci-fi/fantasy epics like the (mostly) over-hyped The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), I’m talking your basic no-frills, 80’s-style action flick…like Unstoppable looked to be

You know, the ones that starred Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Seagal…those types of films. Really mostly no-brainers, but a heck of a lot of fun to watch. Now, with Schwarzenegger a Governor, and Seagal reduced to soda commercials, it’s up to 3 men – Wesley Snipes, Jean Claude Van Damme and newcomer The Rock.

While The Rock’s star continues to rise with hits like The Scorpion King (2002), The Rundown and Walking Tall, Van Damme seems to be slipping deeper and deeper into oblivion (how many people saw his recent flick In Hell – 3 or 4?).

Wesley Snipes seems to be riding the borderline between the two, thanks to his smash success in the Blade (1998) trilogy (<Blade: Trinity (2004) is in theaters now - go see it!). Then, there's Unstoppable, which went straight to DVD without any fanfare.

Since AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004) was all out at Blockbuster®, I figured I’d give Wesley’s “little” film Unstoppable a shot….would I be disappointed, or would Wesley be good in a role that isn’t Blade these days?

Wesley did give the movie a shot and tried to act like we’re used to seeing him act lately, but he couldn’t hold Unstoppable together all by himself. Sure, Jacqueline, Adewale, Kim, Mark and Stuart all tried helping along as well, but they didn’t seem to be up to the large task set before them.

Wesley did seem a bit tired out in Unstoppable, maybe from living high after his Blade (1998) success, so didn’t really get up to his usual fun/violent self. He tends to step back from big flicks and come out with smaller action films every couple of years or so (remember Drop Zone (1994) and Art Of War (2000)?), but these smaller films are getting a little weaker each time.

The plot is a basic one: Special Ops hero (of course) is injected with drugs, escapes from bad guys and then rushes back in to finish them off. This was fun and inventive back when films like Commando (sans drugs of course) came out, but it’s a little tired now. They could have done a better job, but basically seemed to rely on Wesley’s re-found drawing power and the hallucinogenic camera effects to get people through the film. Not a great idea. Even huge success stories (like Schwarzenegger) can fall through occasionally (remember Last Action Hero (1993)?). And as for relying on camera effects to carry a picture? Nope, never works.

The camera effects have been seen multiple times by now. Every time somebody is a bit woozy or hallucinating, they play out the same effects: the camera wobbles, it goes out of focus (and may go in and out of focus a couple of time), and images double. Good to carry a movie? No. These effects are okay if shown for only one pivotal scene, maybe…but a whole movie? Can anyone say splitting headache and/or nausea? I thought you could.

A tired Wesley. A tried and true plot beginning to show a little wear around the edges. Nauseating camera effects. Unstoppable? Hardly. This house of cards is teetering so much a strong wind could knock it over.

Forget this one – spend a few extra bucks and go see Wesley in Blade: Trinity (2004).

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