Taught, beautifully paced "thriller" about an out-of-control train and the people who have to work together to stop it. The premise is unimaginative: a lazy idiot working for a railway causes a half-mile long train to roll out under power and without a crew. Oh, and it's loaded with toxic chemicals (is there any other kind of runaway train?) The bureaucrats and pencil pushers try a few truly ridiculous tricks to get it to stop, but eventually it comes down to a blue collar old pro (Denzel Washington) and a new white collar guy (Chris Pine), on an older, smaller train to do the impossible. And that's when things get interesting. Besides the action sequences, which are quite believable compared to what we're normally exposed to these days, what makes this movie is the teamwork that develops between Pine and Washington on the train, and Rosario Dawson as a yard master and the always enjoyable Lew Temple as a "lead welder" but who actually is the guy who knows everyone and everything that matters and keeps showing up exactly with the tidbit people need to get the job done. The plot is very carefully constructed to make all pieces fit in as believable a way as possible. And the notion of the guys (and girls) on the front lines sticking to the suits is ALWAYS enjoyable when it's done with as much class as it's done here.
No matter how good the good parts are, however, you can't get away from the basically contrived nature of the story and the inevitable success that our protagonists have.
And the worst part: this was Tony Scott's last film. He left us an excellent final gift, but it's a shame he won't be giving us any more.