Just two guys.
That's all. Just two regular guys, railroad employees, each with a big heart, an enormous concern for passenger well-being, and a pair of balls the size and weight of Saturn's moons. Denzel Washington plays the grizzled veteran train driver, Chris Pine is his hothead rookie assistant. Naturally they quarrel feistily at first, and then Denzel more or less becomes the best-buddy-slash-dad Chris never had. Pine is technically a conductor – though, thankfully, he never has to wear a silly peaked hat and go down the train saying: "Tickets please." Our heroes spring into action when an unmanned runaway train barrels through the Pennsylvania countryside threatening to kill everyone. They take it upon themselves to save the day while various relations and poignantly semi-estranged spouses watch on TV in sports bars and front parlours, whooping and cheering to show us how we should be reacting. Meanwhile, director Tony Scott gives us a scene in which the railroad company's evil chairman airily takes cellphone calls about this in the middle of his golf game, and worries about the share-price! Short of actually making him wear a swastika, and putting a half-eaten baby in his other hand, there's nothing more Scott can do to signal this guy's essential evilness. The problem is that Scott, that veteran action maestro, so clearly sympathises with the train – that mighty phallic power, smashing aside cars. There's the real hero for you. As this strangely dull story headed for the buffers, the forces dragging my eyelids south were unstoppable. This article was written by Peter Bradshaw, for The Guardian on Thursday 25th November 2010 23.30 Europe/London
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