Don’t think of it as a train. Think of it as “a missile the size of the Chrysler building.” That is what the station supervisor, Connie (Rosario Dawson) says when she finds out that the driverless train is carrying toxic and highly flammable cargo and heading toward a city with a lot of people and a sharp curve that the train cannot stay on at its speed. Or, you can think of it the way director Tony Scott does — as a delivery system for adrenaline.
A speeding train. Bureaucrats who don’t understand the problem and would not know how to solve it if they did. Real working people who do both. And a couple of guys who have to get to know one another at breakneck speed as they try to find a way to stop a missile the size of the Chrysler building.
Fortunately, one of those guys is Denzel Washington who singlehandedly anchors the eye of the storm, steadying the story and adding focus and even a little bit of depth. He is, as they used to say about Superman, more powerful than a locomotive.