Thursday Movie Picks: Train Scenes
There’s been a couple times in the past where I joined in this weekly discussion topic started by Wandering Through the Shelves where there’s a new topic for each participating site to choose three movies and the occasional honorable mentions that fit within the theme of the week. This week’s theme is Train Movies, but as I can only think of a single train movie that fits in this site’s focus, I decided to narrow it just a bit and go for train scenes. It seems like every other superhero has at least one moment where they need to stop a train for one reason or another, but here’s my top three, unranked.
The scene: When Hellboy chases Samael the Destroyer, they end up in the subway tunnels and of course, there’s an oncoming subway car coming straight for them. Instead of running away, Samael runs towards the train leaving Hellboy to follow. But instead of a warm welcome, the train engineer knocks Hellboy off the back with the fire extinguisher and the train runs over Hellboy leaving his horn stubs red hot.
What makes it great: It’s a lot of fun and the fight continues on into the subway station, ending with Hellboy saving a box full of kitten. Because of course he does. I love this because it does everything so well, there’s the mix of humor, some amazing stuntwork both from Ron Perlman as well as the stuntman in the Samael suit. Not to mention that it’s great to see the combination of practical and digital effects to pull of the Samael creature. Really great stuff.
The scene: In the heyday of the superheroes, Mr. Incredible has to stop a train after Incrediboy knocked a bomb onto the tracks that blew a gap in the bridge. At first glance, it’s a very stereotypical superhero stopping a train, but there’s this one extra moment that stands out to me, especially once it was pointed out in the DVD audio commentary.
What makes it great: Just before the train gets to him, Mr. Incredible takes just a quick moment to brace himself for the impact. He knows that he’s going to survive it, but he also knows that it’s gonna hurt. It’s that little extra moment of realism that gives it that edge of greatness.
The scene: Doc Ock and Spidey are fighting on top of an elevated train, Doc rips the controls out of the train and Spider-Man has to figure out some way to stop it. He has a mask malfunction and has to remove it. Then, after going through a couple of the typical methods and getting some flack for it from one of the passengers, he finally uses his own body to stop the train and passes out from the exertion. The passengers grab him before he falls off the platform and bring him into the train so he can recover. Obviously none of them recognize who he is, but some of them are surprised at how young he is.
What makes it great: Spider-Man is one of the heroes who really feels like he’s a part of his city. Many of the movies have a similar scene where he’s helped by the citizens of New York, but this was always my favorite as it ends on such a quiet note, even though it does have a slightly overstrong Christ overtone to it with his arms outstretched and his resurrection as it were. Even just the moment where he comes to and feels his face to realize that he’s still not wearing his mask in front of all these people. I just love it.
Snowpiercer: I mean, it’s pretty much the only comic book adaptation that takes place entirely on a train. There’s no way I couldn’t at least mention this film. Plus, it’s awesome.
The Lone Ranger: I honestly almost forgot about this and had to add it in later, it’s unfortunately a very forgettable film, but the action scene in the third act with the trains is nothing short of spectacular.