UNSTOPPABLE Review – The Runaway Train came down the hill and Blew Up; Unless Chris Pine and Denzel Washington can Stop it

27 04 2011

Since I was young I have always liked trains. There is a brilliant Museum in York called The National Railway Museum which I have visited a few times. It contains many famous trains including Mallard and a Bullet Train. There was a Great place in Cornwall called Dobwalls where there was a miniature railway (until they ruined it by removing it) which was well designed with 2 trains running every day. I even have a Miniature Railway; I have not used it for a while though. In 2010 I was looking through YouTube and found this interesting film trailer which included trains in it. The film is called Unstoppable and it is based around a real life event (I think I might have seen it on Newsround) where a train filled with Toxic Chemicals goes on the run with no-one at the controls.

The film is by Tony Scott (brother of Ridley Scott) and stars Denzel Washington as Frank Barnes (a veteran railroad engineer) and Chris Pine as Will Colson (a young train conductor) with Rosario Dawson as Connie Hooper (a train yardmaster).

The film is based on the CSX 8888 Incident;

The CSX 8888 incident, also known as the Crazy Eights incident, involved an unmanned runaway train led by CSX Transportation locomotive #8888, an EMD SD40-2 that was pulling a freight train consisting of 47 cars, some of them loaded with Molten Phenol, a highly explosive and largely toxic chemical. The train ran uncontrolled for two hours at speeds up to 51 miles per hour (82 km/h) through the U.S. state of Ohio. It was finally brought to a stop with the help of a railroad crew in a second locomotive which caught up with the runaway and Coupled to the rear car. Wikipedia

The film starts out with Will Colson meeting Frank Barnes for the first time and the 2 of them head out to work with Frank Barnes acting as a teacher to Colson. Meanwhile a train with School Children onboard is going on a trip to a rail yard to learn about rail safety. At the rail yard 2 workers are told to move a train from its current siding to another. One of them gets into the engine and waits for confirmation, the other worker discovers that one of the Air Brakes is not attached, because it is a short trip the man in the engine tells the other worker to leave it, he begins to move the train. The man in the engine room discovers that the points are in the wrong place and gets out of the MOVING train to switch them, however the train’s speed control has slipped and is now in the full speed position accelerating more and more, the man in the engine room switches the points but fails to get back in the train. Connie Hooper arrives and finds out about this and tells the 2 workers to go and chase after it. She contacts a welder named Ned Oldham (Lew Temple) and asks him to keep his eyes on it. Meanwhile Will and Frank collect some carts in Stanton Pennsylvania and start to talk to one another.

Connie discovers that the Runaway train named Triple Seven is on the same line as the train that is carrying the School Children and tells the driver of that train to go to a diversion, he just makes it as the Runaway (now at full speed) runs straight past them. Connie reports the incident to Oscar Galvin (Kevin Dunn). It is discovered that the train is carrying Molten Phenol and would cause a major disaster if the train de-railed. Galvin decides to try and slow down the train by putting one in front of it and try to land someone on the runaway to slow it down, the attempt fails.

Connie asks the police force to close every rail crossing on the line and at this point Ned talks to some of the police and they decide to help him chase the train. Will and Frank are told to go into a siding but because they picked up some extra cars Frank decides to try a different siding, when they reach the siding Triple Seven is in sight heading towards them. They manage to get into the siding losing a cart off the back.

Frank decides to try and stop the train by chasing the train from behind it and then pull it in the other direction. Galvin decides to try and derail Triple Seven with derailers. The train reaches the derailers and runs straight through them with nothing happening. When Galvin and Connie hear about Frank and Wills idea to pull the train in the other direction Galvin threatens to fire them both, it is then revealed that Frank has been given a 3 month notice. When the derailers fail to stop Triple Seven Connie decides to ignore Galvin and tells Colson and Barnes to catch the train. They manage to catch up to it and when Will tries to connect the two trains he gets his foot crushed. A safety inspector who is visiting the rail yard informs Colson and Barnes that braking their train instead of pulling it might work better than pulling it. As they start to brake it does not much good so Frank heads out onto the carts being pulled by Triple Seven and applies the manual brake slowing the whole train down. However this is not enough to stop it and the brakes on the Chase Train blow leaving only the independent air brakes left. As the train enters a large curve at Stanton fears grow it could derail and cause a huge accident. With the correct timing Colson applies the Independent Air Brakes and stops the train from derailing. Frank continues to apply the brakes but stops when the distance between 2 cars is too wide to jump. Then Ned drives out onto a parallel stretch of road and races up to the chase train. Will jumps in and the car speeds up to catch the front of Triple Seven. Will manages to jump onto the train and walks into it and brings the runaway to a complete stop.

Everyone celebrates and many people get rewarded. Frank gets promoted, he is now retired with full benefits, Will continues to work for the rail company and is expecting his second child, Connie becomes Vice President of Train Operations (Oscar Galvin’s old job) and the train yard worker who left the train to change the points is now working in the Fast Food Industry.

The film is a nonstop ride of action with the Action only getting faster as the film progresses with the action stopping as the train stops. The cast has been well-chosen for this film, in particular Rosario Dawson as Connie Hooper and Lew Temple as Ned Oldham. Denzel Washington is amazing in this film and the role suits him well. The trains are real as well making the film look amazing and real, it is good that they are real because CGI would not have the same effect and feel to the film. The Music also adds to the Excitement, When the music starts it does not stop, just like the film. Unstoppable is my Second Favorite film of 2010 with the action starting as the train leaves the yard and not slowing down until the train slows down. I really recommend this film, it has action that does not stop and contains a really great mix of Action, Music and Characters with Great Actors to play them.

Unstoppable is a must see.


Sam’s Rant – Creme Egg Easter Egg

21 04 2011

Before I start I would just like to point out that I like Easter Eggs and Creme Eggs.

You may remember last year I talked about this in another Sam’s Rant. Well I am back because I still want a Creme Egg Easter Egg, the real thing. You know when you were young and you ate a Creme Egg, you liked the Creme inside it and then came Easter and it was time to choose which Egg you wanted and you looked through them and then you saw an Easter Egg with Creme Egg wrapping on it and you thought to yourself that it must be a Giant Creme Egg. You then waited until Easter Sunday and you opened up the box and unwrapped the foil and then you broke into the Egg and discovered that there was no Creme. That was the one thing you wanted most, a Giant Creme Egg but it did not happen.

The real issue behind a Giant Creme Egg is that it would be filled with so much sugar that it will be incredibly unhealthy and do damage to your teeth, but I would still have one, it’s the Easter Egg I have wanted since the idea of a Giant Creme Egg came into my head.

Eating the Egg would be an issue because if you cut it out wrong it could spill every where, but I like messy foods. I don’t like shows like MasterChef Goes Large (I don’t call it MasterChef because MasterChef with Loyd Grossman was a better program than the Rubbish MasterChef Goes Large that is now showing on BBC 2, MasterChef Goes Large is the real name for that show and so MasterChef is not its real name, It’s MasterChef Goes Large) because they say how much the food needs to be clean and artistic. If I want to look at food in an artistic way I would go to an Art Museum. Food is meant to be eaten not looked at and discussed. I want Delicious Merit not Artistic Merit. Messy food looks nicer than art food. I do like it when gravy is spilled on the outside of a Pie Dish, it looks much nicer than a clean pie dish. Messy Food looks delicious and FUN.

Storing the Creme Egg Easter Egg would be a problem but I am sure there is a way around it, just make sure you eat it within a few days of opening it.

Cadbury’s are obviously missing out an a Massive way to make Money. I am sure that I am not the only one who would like to eat this Massive Creme Egg. Even if it was for 1 year only I would buy it (as long as it was advertised so I know I could buy one) and I am still looking forward to the day that I can eat a Creme Egg Easter Egg.

If you cannot wait and would like to try a Creme Egg Easter Egg you can make your own.

Last year I said “We should all start a petition for the Creme Egg Easter Egg with the Creme inside it”. Maybe I should start a Facebook Page to campaign for what I and many other people want, A Creme Egg Easter Egg.



My Favourite Movie Scene

14 04 2011

What is your favourite Movie Scene? Not your favourite film but your favourite scene in a film. By scene I mean an event which happens in a film which you particularly enjoyed when you saw it and liked it so much that it’s better than all events in the History of Cinema. There are many well-remembered scenes in film history. Scenes like Darth Vader saying to Luke Skywalker “No, I am your father” or the scene in the original King Kong where the Kong is attacked by Bi-Plane’s. There are many scenes in cinema history which are well-remembered, but what is your favorite; I know what mine is.

It’s from the film Godzilla: Final Wars and it involves a fight between Godzilla and Godzilla. OK that sounds a bit confusing, maybe we should call them Godzilla and Zilla. If you don’t know who Zilla is, he is the monster from the 1998 American Godzilla film.

The creature was renamed Zilla for the film by producer Shogo Tomiyama because he felt the 1998 remake took the “God” out of Godzilla by portraying the monster like an animal that could be wounded by normal weaponry, whereas the true Godzilla can’t be killed by any of man’s weapons (except the Oxygen Destroyer). – Wikipedia

Well what happens is Godzilla (Japanese) is released from hibernation and travels the world to destroy the monsters set loose by the Xilians. Godzilla eventually arrives in Sydney Australia where the Xilians let loose Zilla to attack Godzilla. Zilla tries to attack but Godzilla smashes him with a tail sending Zilla flying into the Sydney Opera House. Godzilla then uses his Atomic Deathray on Zilla destroying the Sydney Opera House in the process.

I like this scene because it shows the Power of Godzilla and also shows how Godzilla compares with Zilla so people can see how much better the Original Godzilla is compared to the American Godzilla. Another thing it shows is how much better Godzilla is when it is a guy in a suit, CGI Godzilla doesn’t look as Good, probably because a suit is real so it looks realistic. This is my favorite Movie Scene because it shows a comparison between the 2 Monsters Godzilla and Zilla and also because the Japanese Godzilla completely Annihilates the American Zilla.


Sam’s Rant – 2010 Video Games, Part 1

7 04 2011

Before I start I would just like to say that I do like Video Games and enjoy playing them.

2010 has been an interesting year, we found out that it is possible to have a dream within a dream within a dream and we still have to pay 1p for plastic bags. Snow covered all of Great Britain, a Volcano caused problems for Airplanes and yet again England lost at the World Cup. It’s also been a great year for Video Games, Sony started selling Lollipops, people started jumping up and down in front of their TV’s, another expansion for World of Warcraft came out and news that Duke Nukem Forever is going to be released. There is still no sign of a series of Game Damage or a new series of the Championship Gaming Series but a Gaming Bar opened in Brisbane Australia.

Animex 2010 was in February (it was quite interesting and there was almost a Rock Concert on when someone was talking about Brϋtal Legend. GDC 2011 took place in March. E3 was very good this year with the top 3 making many announcements about upcoming releases, QuakeCon was on again and I still can’t comment on it because I still don’t know what it is, and rounding off the year was the Tokyo Game Show (and BlizzCon).

January as usual did not have many BIG releases; Bayonetta was the first BIG release of the year. Also in January No More Heroes 2 was released (I have not played the first one) onto the Wii but one of my Favourite Games of 2010 was released in January and that was MAG (Massive Action Game) on the PS3. Basically the Game was a Giant Online Shooting Game with a maximum of 256 players in a match. As you progress through the game New Items and Abilities are unlocked and you Rank up as well. There are 3 Armies to choose from, I am in Raven as a Senior Commandant. It is a lot of Fun.

February saw the release of Aliens vs. Predator, the latest game in a long series of games starring the creatures from the Films. Sonic decided to join Mario on the racing track with other stars from Sega Games. One of the biggest games of the year was released in February. Heavy Rain, an interactive story game in which you play as 4 characters who all fit in the story about the Origami Killer. It is like a book where you follow the actions using your controller. Like the Fighting Fantasy books you can control the course of the story and there are several possible endings. Recently (2011) the game Won 3 Bafta’s at the Bafta Video Game Awards. It is an incredible game and I think everyone should have a play on it. There is currently no news on if the game is going to have a sequel or if a series of games using its control scheme. I think there should be because Heavy Rain is a Fantastic Game.

I went to Animex in February for my second year. It was very good with talks on games including Batman Arkham Asylum and Modern Warfare 2. But the highlight of the show was the talk on Brϋtal Legend; it was more like a Rock Concert than a talk on the game.

In March I was waiting for the Game I was most excited about all year, my Favourite game at the time was (now my Favourite game is Killzone 3) Supreme Commander and Supreme Commander 2 was about to be released. All the updates about what the game would do and the units in it, it was so exciting. Then when the day came to buy it I went into town and bought it. Then as soon as I went home I installed it onto my computer, then it went downhill from there. Firstly I had to connect to the internet in order to install the game, I then had to re-install Steam onto my computer and then it took almost 3 hours of downloading game data for Steam and restarting the computer before I could finally play the game and then when I could play the game it was time for my Tea. Then the next day I discovered you have to be online all the time to play the game. I thought 2010 was going to be the year when the PC took back it’s Gaming Crown (a title it held for most of the 1990’s) but because of this stupid policy saying you can’t play offline (or with Left 4 Dead 2, you have to be online to play offline) it went and ruined its chances. Several games have had this problem which caused many people to buy pirated versions of Spore in 2008. Other mainstream games affected included The Settlers 7 and Command and Conquer 4. Would it be OK for me to play the game that I bought with my money, maybe you could put in a system where I can play offline without having to connect and then go online If and When I want to, would that be OK? Overall Supreme Commander 2 is OK but it’s not as good as Supreme Commander 1 (You could play offline without having to be online to play Supreme Commander 1).

Also in March Battlefield Bad Company 2 was released (I have not played it) along with another major game to be released; God of War 3, also Command and Conquer 4 was released with a major connection problem (please refer to the previous paragraph). Dragon Age Origins – Awakening was released to expand (that is the idea with Expansion Packs) the world of a game I don’t know much about. If I was to play a game with Dragons in the title I would play as a Dragon, forget about the other characters in the game I want to be a Dragon. You could do something like the film Reign of Fire where you have to survive in a post-apocalyptic world where Dragons rule the skies and you could play as either the People or the Dragons. Maybe an MMO where you have to choose between the People and the Dragons, I will probably play as the Dragons. Forget Dragon Age I want to play as a Dragon.  Settlers 7 was released and had some connection issues (please refer to the previous paragraph). The Sequel to one of my Favourite games was released in the form of Red Steel 2 (I still have not played it). As a fan of the original I kind of do wish that they kept it in the same style as the original, but it looks quite good. Just Cause 2 was released in March. March also saw controversy erupting between Activision and Call of Duty Creators Vince Zampella and Jason West. Continual Fantasy 13 was released (why is it called Final when another game comes out after it) and yet again I did not buy it. Technically the game is a 2009 game because that’s when it was released in Japan.


Sam’s Rant – 2010 Video Games, Part 2

7 04 2011

April saw the release of Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii. A game where you play as a character who goes hunting monsters, it gets straight to the point. In April Dead to Right’s: Retribution was released and the following month (May) was one of the Best Reviews on Zero Punctuation by Ben Yahtzee Croshaw.

In 2011 yet again some games were released based on Films like in May with the release of Iron Man 2 (the game of the film Iron Man 2). Lost Planet 2 looks like an interesting game. I do like the idea of running around shooting people and Giant Monsters. Alan Wake was finally released along with Skate 3. Does anyone still play Skateboard Games? Red Dead Redemption was released a game which looks like a cross between the Wild West and Grand Theft Auto, kind of like Grand Theft Horse. Super Mario Galaxy 2 was released (I still need to play Super Mario Galaxy 1) and continued Super Mario’s adventure into Space.

2 Major Racing Games were released in May with Blur and ModNation Racers. Blur was created by Bizarre Creations who created Project Gotham Racing. ModNation Racers is an amazing racing game. It’s similar in style and gameplay with Mario Kart and Rivals it as a game, Mario Kart is still better but ModNation Racers is very good. It’s like Little Big Planet in the way that you can make things in the game like Cars, Tracks and Drivers and share them online, the tools are also easy to use. It has a Great Story mode and the Racing is Fantastic to.

Alpha Protocol was released in June along with Toy Story the Video Game and Transformers: War for Cybertron (which looks quite good). APB: All Points Bulletin is an MMO where you play as either the Police or Criminals of a Big City (if I played it I think I would be the Police but I wouldn’t mind playing as a Criminal as well). Six weeks after the game was released Realtime Worlds (the developer) went into administration and the Servers Shutdown. The Game was bought by K2 Network and announced that the game would be re-launched as a free to play game.  The Lego Video Game series continued to grow with the release of Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4, more Magical Fun but this time with Lego (well it might be, as long as they don’t do Deathly Hallows Part 1 – Worst Film in the World). OnLive was finally released in June, I would like to have a go and see how it works and compares to the other consoles out there but I think Video Game Streaming (while a clever Idea) might not work, it really all depends on people’s internet connections.

E3 Returned in 2010 with many big things being announced. The first Press conference I watched (online after it happened) was Microsoft’s who announced several Games including Gears of War 3 and several Launch Games for its Kinect. The whole conference was interesting but a bit slow, when you compare it to all the other conferences I saw it was like they were having a Coffee Break every 5 Minutes. Some of the Kinect stuff looked interesting but the problem I can see with it is that the movement for the body is only left right up and down, there is no forward or backwards with it. So you probably won’t be able to do many fighting games with it. Also the driving game controls look Crazy, kind of like someone who has lost touch with the real world. They also announced a new Slim Version of the XContainer 720 which apparently is supposed to extend its lifetime by 5 years.

Nintendo’s was more interesting with it all starting off with gameplay of the new Legend of Zelda game for the Wii. There was also news on the Nintendo 3DS with a funny trailer for it. But the biggest news from Nintendo was the announcement that a Remake of one of the Greatest Games ever made was going to be released: GoldenEye. Now I like the original, it is a very good game particularly in the Multiplayer (which is better than most Multiplayer games out now; like Modern Warfare 2). So the New Game was very Exciting News, I was wondering what it would be like compared to the original, well I wouldn’t have to wait long because I got it for Christmas.

Sony’s Conference was longer than the others conferences but it was very Good. Games announced included Dead Space 2, Infamous 2, Little Big Planet 2, Portal 2 and Killzone 3. PlayStation Move was shown for a bit but probably the best bit of E3 was during Sony’s Conference. Kevin Butler who is a Marketing Guy for Sony PlayStation who made a short speech about Video Games (I did not know about this guy until E3 2010). The final announcement for Sony was about the Longest Running Game series on the PlayStation, Twisted Metal. This game looks so Fun. It even stirred up memories for me of a Car Game I once played in the 1990’s but did not know what it was, well I do know what series it’s from. Basically the game is Car Combat Racing FUN.

E3 was very good this year; I think Sony’s was the best conference with just so many Games and Announcements with Nintendo coming in 2nd. Microsoft showed too much of Kinect really and other services available with it (that were not games). I play a games console to play Games with. I don’t really watch films on it or anything like that, it’s good the option is there but I want to play games. The XCube 180 is not much of a Games Console anymore and more of an Entertainment Device. OK I did like the look of Kinectimals.

Crackdown 2 was released in July (sequel to the Award Winning Crackdown). Dragon Quest IX was released onto the Nintendo DS (Can I play as a Dragon). 2 Big Downloadable titles were released in July with DeathSpank and Limbo, in particular Limbo is apparently very good (I have not played it) which is set in a dark 2D world. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift was released as well.

Summer Time and the big film of the Summer was Inception and no game came out based on it, but in a way that might be a good thing because a game based on Inception would be complicated, not only to make but also to play, but also it would be interesting to see. Well another film to come out was Scott Pilgrim vs the World. From what I could tell about the film from its trailers (I have not seen the film) it looks a lot like the game No More Heroes. So the game version might just be No More Heroes with different characters. Madden NFL 11 was released (what makes this game different from the previous 10) and Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days was released. Another couple of titles to be released were Mafia 2 and Metroid: Other M.


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