Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Last Passenger

I've always loved simple nuts-and-bolts action films. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy something that gets me thinking, but as far as getting bang for your buck, nothing beats a film thats concept can be summed up in a few words. Here's an example:

Predator - Guys (and one girl) being hunted by an alien in the woods.
Alien - Guys (and two girls) being hunted by an alien on a space ship.
Die Hard - A guy (and no girls) hunting German terrorists in a skyscraper.

You get the point, right?

Now while Last Passenger will never, ever be counted among those greats, it's still the classic example of a simple concept that works.

Last Passenger - Batshit insane train driver wants to kill people using his train!

I know, awesome right?

The film stars Dougray Scott as Lewis, a recently widowed doctor (yes, line up ladies!), who after hopping on a train with his son Max, is about to have a very bad day. After sparking up some chemistry with a woman named Sarah, basically the love interest here, Lewis quickly notices that the train is completely bypassing its stops. With no way to reach the driver, it soon becomes apparent that not only is the train not stopping, but it's also speeding up. With a crapload of people on board, his son Max in mortal danger and a new Mommy in the making at his side, Lewis must take command to try and stop the unstoppable train of doom! DOOOOM!

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, “So this is basically a mash-up of Unstoppable and Speed?” And yes, you'd be right, but that's not a bad thing! You see, the difference with Last Passenger compared to all the rest, is the fact that first and foremost it tries to give the viewer some emotional connection to its characters. While shit does indeed hit the fan eventually, it's not the focus here initially. Instead the focus is entirely on Lewis, the recent death of his wife, his son Max who nicely avoids the annoying-kid-in-an-action-film cliché, and the new woman in his life, Sarah. Without any emotional connection to them Last Passenger wouldn't nearly be as interesting. 

The performances throughout are pretty solid, especially that of Dougray Scott. He has always been an interesting choice for a lead, and easily pulls off being the everyday guy with a hint of heroic aggression behind his eyes. The surprise throughout the film is Kara Tointon who plays Sarah. For someone who started off on BBC’s Eastenders, I'd be surprised if her film career doesn't kick off quite soon, as in Last Passenger she's very watchable and does an excellent job as Sarah.

As expected though, the action is fast, furious and intense. Despite its rather small budget, it does manage to deliver some pretty excellent set pieces. Though these probably should have been more elaborate, Last Passenger ultimately delivers in the thrills department. While it may not be anything new in many ways, Last Passenger is ultimately a fun, inventive and surprisingly emotionally engaging action film. Trust me, I'm the first one who thinks emotions should stay at the door when watching an action film, but Last Passenger's various character relationships almost make the film. It ain't Schindler's List, but hey, it works.

Last Passenger almost arrives on time with a 4/5, []

Denis Murphy

Last Passenger at CeX

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