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The Best Movies Like Unstoppable

A train with no conductor onboard starts barreling down the tracks, capable of going off the rails into a populated area at any second. To make matters worse, the train carries gallons of a dangerous chemical that could injure or kill anyone it comes into contact with. Are you feeling the adrenaline pumping yet? That's the plot of the 2010 action-thriller Unstoppable, the last film directed by Tony Scott before his death. 

Denzel Washington and Chris Pine play the two men tasked with stopping the train, with some assistance from a yardmaster played by Rosario Dawson. While the film didn't get a ton of attention when it was first released, it has earned positive reviews from critics and renewed interest from audiences who recognize it as a taut, suspenseful, and fun action flick.

In case you just finished watching Unstoppable, though, and you're an adventure junkie needing more movies with exciting plot lines, you're in luck. We have plenty of recommendations for flicks that are in the same vein as Unstoppable. You can make a full marathon out of these films, but even if you divide them up into separate viewings, you have to watch these at some point. 

Enemy of the State is another fantastic action film from Tony Scott

Tony Scott was a master of the action movie. He helped propel Tom Cruise to superstardom with the 1980s hit Top Gun and proved he could balance action with humor when he worked on Beverly Hills Cop II. However, one of his most underrated films, that's definitely worth a watch — and has only grown more relevant with each passing year — is 1998's Enemy of the State, starring Will Smith, Regina King, and Gene Hackman

The political thriller follows a lawyer, Robert Clayton Dean (Smith), who inadvertently ends up in possession of a videotape depicting the assassination of a congressman. He ends up getting framed for murder, with a massive manhunt getting underway, forcing Robert to find a way to clear his name. 

In the aftermath of the revelations uncovered by Edward Snowden about the surveillance state conducted by the NSA, the idea of how much privacy we truly have has only grown more topical. Even if you're not in the mood to think about all the ways your Amazon Echo could be spying on you, though, Enemy of the State is ultimately an entertaining thriller that's very much worth your time. Behind all the slick action sequences, there's a worthwhile message, making it a cut above other movies of its ilk.

Flight features another entertaining performance from Denzel Washington

Vehicles getting out of control seems to be familiar territory for Denzel Washington. A few years after Unstoppable came out, the actor would once again attempt to stop a runaway vehicle (this time a plane) in the 2013 film Flight, receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in the process. 

Under the influence of cocaine, Captain Whip Whitaker (Washington) heads to work to pilot a plane going to Atlanta. Once they're up in the sky, he also drinks a little bit of vodka and proceeds to take a nap. Things go awry when the plane experiences turbulence, forcing Capt. Whitaker to make an emergency landing, which saves most of the people on the flight. However, once his bosses learn Capt. Whitaker had illicit substances in his system when the accident transpired, it leads to a massive investigation into the pilot's capacity to continue operating planes. 

Whereas Unstoppable's plot focuses entirely on halting the train, Flight is more concerned with an accident's aftermath. The plane lands fairly early in the movie, and you're left watching one man's struggle with addiction. It's a powerful character drama, and Washington's performance was rightfully commended by numerous organizations. 

Speed provided the template for numerous action-thrillers to come

If there's any one movie Unstoppable has the most in common with, then it would be 1994's Speed, starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. It's a pretty easy comparison, considering both films deal with runaway vehicles, and it's up to the protagonist to get them to stop moving in addition to saving all of the innocent civilians caught in the crosshairs. 

Speed offers a masterclass in pacing, and how to build out an action sequence. It's the kind of movie that exemplifies the kind of ingenuity that had to go into crafting stunts back in the 1990s when CGI was still in a relative infancy, which is why the famous bus jump still holds up so well, to this day. 

Speed raised the bar for what action movies could accomplish, and even contemporary films are still struggling to catch up. Perhaps it's for the best a sequel to Unstoppable never materialized, thoughm as there's a good chance it would've ended up on the same trajectory as the critically-panned Speed 2

Source Code makes for another thrilling ride onboard a train

For anyone who found themselves enjoying Unstoppable, but wishing it came with a Groundhog Day-style twist where the protagonist has to relive the same events over and over again ... well, boy howdy, do we have the movie for your specific tastes. 

Source Code is a high-concept, science-fiction thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal as United States Army Captain Colter Stevens, who finds himself in the midst of a secretive protocol where he's tasked with investigating a train explosion that's already happened in order to determine who's behind the attack. There's a lot more going on in Source Code than meets the eye. You may think you know where the movie's heading early on, but trust us when we say you don't. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat, and you'll continue to be astounded with each stunning revelation the movie makes. 

Run Lola Run ramps up the adrenaline to 11 and doesn't let up

Who says a vehicle needs to be involved in order to have a tension-filled thrill ride? As Run Lola Run proves, you just need expert editing and an enticing hook to get audiences invested in your story. 

Run Lola Run is fascinating for its unique story structure. It begins when Lola (Franka Potente) receives a phone call from her boyfriend that he's lost the money he was supposed to pay his boss, and he's dead if he doesn't come up with a way to replenish the funds. He tells her his plan is to rob a bank, but Lola insists for him to wait. At that point, we see three alternate realities of how the situation could play out with tiny changes made throughout, all leading to a singular and hair-raising finale. 

When it comes to moviemaking, there's a real art to keeping your audience on the edge of their seats, especially in an age where more people are watching big blockbuster entertainment at home, where their phones are readily accessible. If you find yourself in need of movies that hold your attention for a full two hours without letting go, then let this list be your guide.