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Unstoppable (2004)

You can’t stop a man who will stop at nothing.

Directed by:

David Carson

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 96 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

Country: United States

It’s fair to say Wesley Snipes isn’t in much danger of picking up a lifetime achievement Oscar (or any Oscar at all, for that matter) any time soon, but he’s proven in the past – with movies like ‘Demolition Man’ and Blade – that he’s capable of shining when given the right vehicle. ‘Unstoppable’, though, is not the right vehicle. To be more precise, it’s a rubbish one.

Snipes plays Dean Cage, a Bosnian war vet who discovers the true meaning of “wrong place at the wrong time” when he’s injected with a top secret mind-control drug, bundled into the back of a stolen ambulance, and whisked away to be interrogated by a roomful of appallingly bad actors (among them Stuart Wilson and Kim Coates).

Of course, this being a Snipes movie, he soon high-kicks his way to freedom and makes a run for it – but, much his dismay (and that of his ridiculously highly-strung girlfriend Amy, played by Jacqueline Obradors), it turns out the bad guys aren’t finished with him yet. And, to make matters worse, the drug pumping through his system 1) makes him believe absolutely everything he’s told and 2) is likely to lead to him snuffing it unless he can get his mitts on the antidote lickety-split.

Right down to its strangely irrelevant title, ‘Unstoppable’ is a slightly (and do note the word “slightly” there) more intelligent version of the sort of thing in which you normally expect to find Steven Seagal. Granted, the premise does have bit of originality to it, and the constant interchanging between reality and drug-fuelled looney-land is a challenge reasonably well met by the normally TV-bound director David Carson – but this is a film with just too many problems to come out with any credibility. The screenplay is wit-free, the actual objectives of the baddies are never made entirely clear, and seldom has such a one-dimensional plotline been quite so complicated to follow.

Not that it’s Snipes’ fault. The guy doesn’t actually do much wrong here (providing, that is, you’re willing to overlook the fact that he agreed to make this in the first place). But the writing behind it all is so bad that, despite seeing him on screen for the bulk of the 96 minutes, we know little more about what sort of bloke Dean is at the end of it than we did at the start. And another thing: why, after going to all that bother with the ambulance and the stolen drugs and the elaborate kidnapping, do the villains seem to decide when Dean escapes that they might as well just try to shoot him? Would it not have been easier just doing that in the first place?

It's Got: A lead character haunted by flashbacks (I blame the editing department).

It Needs: To take itself a little less seriously. At least then we could enjoy its crapness, rather than just get bored by it.

Alternatives:

The Fugitive

Summary

The powerful secret drug under-pinning this low-profile Wesley Snipes beat-em-up teaches us never to underestimate the power of suggestion. My suggestion is that you give the whole thing a miss.

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