Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Taking of Pelham 123

Summary: A crazed man by the name of Ryder (John Travolta) hi-jacks a subway in New York City along with his cronies demanding money for the hostages. Caught in the middle of Ryder’s web is Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) a MTA worker who oversees the subways and now must deal with a lunatic.

Plot (B-): This film is a remake of the 1974 original starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw, therefore the plot is pretty much the same. There were some suspenseful moments but I wasn’t on the edge of my seat. I’m sure this movie had more of an impact when it was originally released because the shock/suspense factor was not as high then as it is today. In today’s world it takes more to shock the average viewer...like Two Girls One Cup for example. I only saw the first 10 seconds. I practically cried, almost puked (no joke), and I haven’t been the same since.

Action (C): This movie is not about action or death even though it occurs. It’s about the tension that is created by Ryder and what will happen if his demands aren’t met.

Acting & Dialogue (B+): Travolta makes one hell of a bad guy and I’m happy to see him back in that saddle. His eyes are full of fire and he exudes a “don’t fuck with me” attitude. While Travolta plays the energetic bad guy, Washington is calm, cool, and collected creating an even balance to their relationship. What I really liked was the way the two actors were able to create realistic dialogue/relationship via CB radio. James Gandolfini and John Turturro are also in the movie adding even more New York City authenticity to the story. (Side note all four of these actors were born in New York and New Jersey.)

Sex Appeal (N/A): Settle down ladies there’s no need to wet your panties. This isn’t that type of movie.

Director (B): Tony Scott, brother of Ridley Scott (Gladiator), created a worthy remake. Like I said in my Wolfman blog it’s not easy to remake a movie, although that seems to be the trend in Hollywood these days. Scott’s resume is very strong stretching back to the 1980’s. This is his fourth film with Denzel Washington and looking back on their history I can see why they keep working together. Actually, if you look on IMDB you’ll find several actors he’s worked with more than once, which says something about Scott’s abilities and talent.

Overall: B-


  1. original with walter matthau was better