Thursday, May 27, 2021

Death Train Doesn't Bomb

Death Train (David Jackson, 1993; also known as Detonator in some territories) is better than I expected. A low-budget thriller made for TV, the story follows a small team of counter-terrorists who must foil the plot of a rogue ex-Soviet general who's made two atomic bombs and wants to blow them up for reasons unknown, putting the bombs on a hijacked train rolling across Europe. Patrick Stewart and Pierce Brosnan have to recapture the bombs before ultimate disaster. 

Stewart and Brosnan are in fine form, and they make a great team. The villain has reasonable motivations (from his point of view). And the planning, action, and tactics are compelling but still realistic. Production values aren’t spectacular, but it almost feels like the low budget forced the creatives to improvise and come up with clever solutions that fit the need. 

For some reason, Patrick Stewart's character has a cast on one arm for at least the first third of the movie. After that it vanishes. At no point is there any explanation for the cast. A strange choice. 

Death Train does feel something like a failed pilot for a TV series in the style of Mission: Impossible, but that’s okay; one feels as though this might have been a pretty good show had it been extended into a series.

2 comments:

Totty said...

I came close to finding an answer to the question about Stewart's cast. I found an old rec.arts.tv forum post where someone claimed it was dealt with early on , but they never followed up with the line or anything.

Earl J. Woods said...

Nice sleuthing! I don't think I would have missed an explanation, as the sling immediately caught my attention and I was waiting for the exposition dump. It never came, or I somehow missed it, but I was paying close attention.