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Unstoppable (Bilingual) [Import]
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Dean Cage (Wesley Snipes), a former Special Ops soldier, is mistakenly identified as a CIA agent who is kidnapped and injected with a mind-controlling drug making him susceptible to the power of any suggestion. Dean escapes and goes in search for the antidote, but first he must fight off his foes, his inner demons, and the illusions of his drug-induced state or he will die by end of day.
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His love interest, his friend's sister, doesn't know the circumstances behind her brother's death, but insists that Snipes visit a focus group to try and deal with the loss. Snipes tries, but he ends up calling her and asking her to meet him at a diner so he can finally tell her what really happened to her brother.
Snipes shows up at the restaurant early and is mistaken for another man. CIA operatives shoot him up with an experimental hallucinogenic drug that kills the victim in 6 hours, but makes them highly succeptible to suggestion.
As it turns out the CIA made a big mistake and Snipes escapes from the facility. The rest is a cat/mouse chase and a race to find the antidote before it's too late.
By today's standards this is a tame movie, but if you're a fan of Wesley Snipes you'll enjoy this film. It's low budget, but it's a lot better than other offerings I've seen. It's popcorn entertainment, but don't expect any big fights or a lot of action---something they could've elaborated on a bit. The title "Unstoppable" doesn't really match the movie.
*Mark Sheppard and Kim Coates as an Abbott and Costello-style hit men duo, whose stone faced seriousness adds unintended camp;
*Jacqueline Obradors does well as a gritty cop who doesn't take guff from bad government agents;
*Wesley Snipes who will more than likely enter the aging action hero group of stars like Steven Seagal, Jean Claude van Damme and others, doesn't require much suspension of belief in his hallucinogenic stupor;
Stuart Wilson is fun in his "Let's try and act like Rip Torn" villain role.
It's all mindless froth but it kept me interested in spite of its flaws.
Snipes plays an ex-special agent Dean Cage who was in Bosnia, where his last mission went terribly wrong. He managed to come back alive, but is feeling guilty of the past, and his relations with his girlfriend (and a local cop) Amy (Jacoueline Obradors, 'Six Days, Seven Nights') are far from smooth. Sounds familiar? It is, and you have to wait a while for the actions to start.
They start when Cage is mistaken for another man at a diner. Some corrupt guys in suits (and hiding in Baltimore City ambulance ... don't ask me why), misidentifying the target, inject some substance into Cage's body -- making him dizzy and half-unconscious. (Oh, and the film is set in Baltimore, and you see a diner with a big crab, but it was in fact shot in Bulgaria.)
Actions (all standard ones, like shoot-outs and explosions) are not bad, but all the scenes are shot at night, so you might dislike the continuing murky darkness. But the filmmakers seem to have spent most of the budget in showing the so-so actions, for the other parts seem badly neglected, when they should have been more careful about them. The strange, flashy cameraworks only reduce the tension, and in one scene, to express the nasty effects of the injected material, we are to share POV of the ex-agent Cage -- that means, we see the scenes quickly swtching between a hospital office and a military prison one after the other, That is surely unusual, trying to give us the sense of hullcination. But it's only irritating.
Director David Carson ('Star Trek: Generations' -- odd number entry!) throws in these gimmicks, but they cannot completely hide the familiar touch of the underdeveloped B film, or the sense of 'We have seen it before,' especially the last 20 minutes. The baddies played by Stuart Wilson and Kim Coates are just ordinary -- a bad guy in charge of the whole situation, and another bad guy who does dirty business. And as to Wesley Snipes, there is nothing that would remind us of the charisma of the vimpire slayer.
I still remember Wesley Snipes in Spike Lee films, and the entertaining 'Passanger 57' and 'Drop Zone.' And I didn't hate 'Demolition Man.' But watching him in 'Unstoppable' makes me think that he might (just, might for now, OK?) on the way to be the next Seagal. And once that happens, it's really unstoppable.
Wesley Snipes tries to save this tale of a war veteran at odds with his conscience over duties performed while on duty who accidentally becomes involved in a caper involving bad guys and injectable drugs so evil that they threaten to be give the owner of the drug complete control over everyone's mind. Mistaken identity, good guy with guilt becoming a transient bad guy under drug influence under chase by the drug lords, CIA, FBI, and police (who just happen to be on Snipes' side for reasons less dramatic) - all of these are thrown into the blender and out comes soup.
The supporting cast has some familiar faces - Jacquelyn Obradores (NYPD Blues), Vincent Riotta ('Under the Tuscan Sun', 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin'), Adewale Akinnuoye-Abaje (remember Adebisi in 'OZ'?) and given the pedestrian script, these and others give good performances. The problems (and there are many) include out-of-focus camera work to make us 'feel' the effect of the drug injected into Snipes' character and the imagined vs real footage that intermingles at a maddening rate to clutter the progress of the action.
A film for those who love Wesley Snipes and for those who can buy into yet another mindless action flick. Grady Harp
The story: when deadly arms dealers misidentify ex-CIA agent Dean Cage (Snipes) as a threat who might endanger their upcoming transaction, they inject him with an experimental, weaponized hallucinogen. Drifting between reality and his traumatic past, Dean must put an end to his attackers' scheme if he hopes to lay hands on the antidote.
The plot is among the film's strongest points. The filmmakers do a great job of depicting the hero's disorientation and anxiety, with some surprisingly adept editing that weaves together the present and his memories as a POW. Snipes shows off his acting ability by layering the role and successfully infusing some believable humor into his performance. The screenplay unfolds respectably, with few surprises but with enough opportunity to get its characters across, particularly Jacqueline Obradors (NYPD Blue) as Dean's surprisingly active ally. Disappointingly, it does not really do the same for lead villain Stuart Wilson (The Mask of Zorro), who performs well but is a fairly bland bad guy.
Production values are high, and there are next to none of those ugly DTV snafus to be seen - truly, the movie's just a step away from looking as good as any Hollywood production. But again, it has nowhere near the action output one of those would have. When it comes to substantial scenes, I counted one karate fight (a decent but one-sided bout), two or three shootouts, and one scene wherein Snipes hangs off the body of a fuel truck as it threatens to tip off of a bridge; the rest of the action is just a bit of odd gunfire, a rare stunt (check out that motorcycle crash), and occasionally Wesley will punch a guy when he's not too busy. If the movie were half as long as it is, this offering would be fine, but presently, it could definitely use a few more fights or other thrills.
I don't know whether Snipes will be able to recapture the quality of action he exuded in the Blade movies (in actuality, he released the third installment right after this one), but "Unstoppable" helped set the tone for his DTV films to come, and I'm still waiting for him to do better on a smaller budget. This film will probably satisfy fans and serve well enough for a slow Friday night, but consider it a rental and save your money for the day that Snipes fully lives up to his title of action hero again.
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