The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 Reviews

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½ October 9, 2015
Don't remember this at all, but apparently there are trains.
September 19, 2015
about average, Denzel does his usual good job
August 10, 2015
New Yorkers have always been a special breed. They have this unfathomably deniable sense of ownership with the subway almost as it if defines them. However, the subway and indeed New Yorkers themselves have a chequered passed.

In 1974, NYC was cankered and haunted; teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, Jobs were disappearing and the city heaved with criminal element. The middle-class fled for the quiet and safe outer suburbia leaving the old-fashioned neighbourhoods to rot.

Director Joseph Sargent captured the depravity, anxiety and dread of the time with the first of three adaptations of John Godey's grimy dimestore subway-hijacking thriller novel, Taking of Pelham 123. The movie was no master piece but it was a concise emulation of the economy realism reflects its era.

The 2009 version reflects ours. Obviously reworked to cash in under the guise of the current GFC, it crucially fails to portray the originals deep seeded angst. Is it that New York itself is now a flashier, far less gritty, hollow shell of is former nonchalant heyday or is it perhaps recession or no recession, the NY subway is not longer a source of danger and hijackers don't instil fear unless their called terrorists?

Recently demoted transit dispatcher Walter Garber's (Denzel Washington) ordinary day is hurled into chaos when a volatile criminal mastermind demanding to be addressed as Ryder (John Travolta) at gunpoint hijacks a Bronx-bound subway train.

Ryder mathematically demands $52,631.58 for each of his 19 hostages (totalling $1,000,000) within 60 minutes and if not produced, without hesitation, he will execute one hostage (or commodity as he infers) each minute it is late.

Garber reluctantly becomes an unofficial hostage negotiator, clumsily attempting to keep Ryder happy and calm by trading uneasy personal histories. The telephonic verbal sparring commences with great speed and both sides inadvertently let too much slip. Garber's morally questionable passed accentuates his rapport with his new found friends, but does Ryder have a hidden agenda?
Tony Scott is not known for his low-key approach to directing, he could never be confused with someone who cares for characterisation, depth or subtlety. Scott's overly rambunctious intrusive score, ridiculously flamboyant camerawork and over-frenetic editing is an insult to the senses and never allows the intimacy between dispatcher and tyrant to develop.

What it crucially fails to do, especially in the light of its illustrious predecessor, is justify its own existence. The deflated tone is ever urgent, dangerous and important. It delivers a meatier back story than the original for its lead characters but is burdened by Scott's overzealous need to be bigger, brasher and much louder.

Travolta and Washington have considerable chemistry. Strictly limited to the first half, Screenplay writer Brian Helgeland sneakily shoehorns some intelligence into the script allowing the naturally talented and charismatic leads to showcase the depth and meaning in the breathless tension shared between their characters.

However as per the uniquely unsuited coffee-welding action maestro Scott's requirements "this is movie making on steroids" and nothing can compensate for the careening train of a climax that essentially derails.

With endless sub-plots and innuendo Washington's character morphs from a mild-mannered civil servant into a Bruce Willis-esque gun-toting superhero and Travolta with his ridiculous goatee suspends belief by deviating from initial intellectually calculated plans leaves ending scenes lacking creditability.

The Verdict: In retrospect this subterranean caper is nothing more than a filler for this years release timeline. The original had the power to inspire Director Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs" colour coded names and spawned two remakes, However this one inspires you to take headache medication.

You may end up feeling pulverised by the cosmetic mediocrity of the action so here is a task you can focus on; Count how many times can Google receive product placement in one film? Just food for though.

Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 21/08/2009
½ August 9, 2015
Did read the book. It was better.
½ July 5, 2009
Great performances by Denzel Washington & John Travolta make this one hell of a Train Ride ;). I've always been a big fan of John Travolta as the bad guy character and he doesn't disappoint here as a depressed New York man who takes a train captive and demands that a lowly subway dispatcher (Washington) makes good on his ransom (with interesting math to get there) or he will kill 1 passenger every minute that he's late, good action sequences and some great acting make this a must see
July 26, 2015
An entertaining remake.
May 22, 2015
Tony Scott has always been known as Ridley Scott´s brother rather than by his actual directing abilities but he has managed to make some action films that have gotten a favorable response from general audiences like "Top Gun" or "Crimson Tide" but he is also responsible for some films that received some overwhelming negative reaction like "Domino" or "The Fan". So in what category "The Taking of Pelham 123" falls into?
A group of terrorists hijack a New York City subway train, Pelham 123, and threaten to kill all the passengers in one hour unless they are given 10 million dollars. It all depends on a man named Walter Garber a train operator, who must save the life of as many passengers as possible and putting this criminals behind bars.
Having not seen the original 1974 film, my expectations for this remake were nonexistent and this film deliver to those expectations. "The Taking of the Pelham 123" counts with a big cast that's mostly provide some average performances: Denzel Washington is bland, John Turturro seems uninterested, Tony Soprano has nothing to do and John Travolta is fun as the angry bad guy but he is extremely hammy. The story is nothing memorable, the cinematography is adequate, some ideas are presented that are quickly forgotten, it's filled with one dimensional characters, some of the dialog is funny, and Tony Scott´s directing is so over the top and confusing that you can barely see what's going on with the constant use of zoom, shaky cam and bizarre cuts. But even with all those problems, this film knows what it is (a generic thriller) and it sticks with it thus making it entertaining at times.
"The Taking of Pelham 123" is an average film that will entertain you but is absolutely nothing else.
May 18, 2015
Pretty strong acting coupled with a tense plot, the film is a solid rendition of the original.
May 6, 2015
Solid acting. Solid action. Solid script. Solid movie.
March 21, 2015
Solid good-guy vs. bad guy movie.
February 15, 2015
Though it may not live up to the 1974 original, The Taking Of Pelham 123 still delivers a solid cast with strong performances by Denzel Washington and John Travolta and plenty of thrills to heighten the film's tension.
½ January 30, 2015
Molti buchi nella sceneggiatura ma Denzel ne esce sempre bene.
January 20, 2015
Màs de lo mismo ,Tony Scott no se esfuerza por hacer un producto novedoso, una historia ya contada y un hèroe de turno.
½ August 14, 2009
a very good movie by oine of m favourite directors and actors.
December 22, 2014
Despite a strong cast, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 is better than the 1974 original
½ December 19, 2014
A not-bad remake of a classic, gritty 70s movie.
November 25, 2014
Washington & Travolta? Great.
½ October 1, 2014
An unfortunate sort of "Unstoppable" which has Denzel Washington but not Frank's courage or charism and has a train but not a movent one. Attached to this, a couple of useless characters: a corrupt mayor and an inefficient negotiator.
October 17, 2014
Despite a relatively slow build up, Pelham 123 manges to entertain with an intense third act and good performances from Denzel Washington and John Travolta.
June 9, 2009
Lo sorprendente de esta pelicula aparte de la accion es la labor interpretativa de ambos actores protagonista sin duda muy metidos en su papel, en cuanto a la trama es algo simple un grupo secuestra un vagon de metro lleno de pasajeros y exige dinero a acambio de sus vidas terminando involucrados el operador de vias y hasta el mismo alcalde de Nueva York, en la trama se manejan el concepto de que no todos son tan malos ni todos son tan buenos, sin duda de lo mejor que se ha estrenado ultimamente, la recomiendo para pasar un buen rato. El sonido es exelente.
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