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Director: Tony Scott
Released june 12, 2009
Aprox: 106 mins
I will start off by saying, that I have read a lot of bad reviews written about this movie on the internet. But I don't no, I enjoyed it, and my girlfriend enjoyed it even more than me. When she finds a movie she really likes, then she has the tendency, to watch it over and over again. And this is one of the movies that got a lot of play.
This movie has two great actors heading the two lead roles, Denzil Washington, playing a train worker, who gets dragged into a train hijack by terrorists. Yes you guessed it, Travolta is heading the gang of Terrorists, who are out to swap 10 million dollars, for the people they have trapped on the train.
This movie is not supposed to be taken serious, and has a lot of funny moments through out, Travolta especially making me laugh, as he portrays a crazy and mad terrorist, gang leader. Denzil Washington though pulls of another stunning performance, as he turns Walter Garber a normal boring train worker, into a TV action hero, as he stands up against the bad guys and tries to save the day. But Walter has a little secret of his own, and when all is exposed, Denzil performs a worderfull scene, sealing this performance as a outstanding one.
This movie is not a original outstanding idea, more a set of cliches coming together into another action movie. But with two actors like these, you can just about get away with that, because when two actors like these come together to do a movie, it is always going to be a movie worth watching. Personally I do not think it is the greatest movie that I have ever seen, but I think my girlfriend may disagree with that, but the two great actors make this a movie that is worth watching.
Travolta is a seasoned pro, and has been at the top for so long, he makes acting look easy. Through the simple idea of the bad guy, in this movie, Travolta creates a character who is educated, angry, tough, crazy and even funny. So anybody who wants to watch this movie because of Travolta, you won't be disappointed, he pulls off a brilliant bad guy and is on top form.
Denzil for me is something else, he seems to truly become his characters, and he never fails to have me under no doubts, of his exceptional acting skills. This movie is no different, and as I watch Walter in this movie, I could not imagine at that moment, Denzil being anybody else.
So do I recommend this movie? Yes without a doubt, this is a movie worth watching, there is nothing too offensive, and its fit for a Friday evening. It is certainly not one of the best films I have seen, but it is still a movie that I really enjoyed, and my girlfriend too, so that makes two out of two.
Film Only Review:
Ryder (John Travolta) along with three heavily armed men uncouple a train and take a car hostage with lots of innocent people on it. They mean business with bad language and being violent and Ryder calls up the rail control centre just as Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) notices there seems to be unknown activity of the train. Its not long though till the place is in uproar and that Ryder starts to make demands and it becomes clear what his intentions are and exactly what he wants and he wants $10 million in cash to be paid within 60 minutes or he's willing to kill a hostage every minute after the deadline.....and he seems to really mean it!
Lieutenant Camonetti (John Turturro) of the NYPD Emergency Service Unit decides its his place to talk Ryder into submission which infuriates Ryder who after talking to Walter rather seems to admire him and wants to negotiate through him so when the Lieutenant takes over to show his disgust Ryder kills a hostage and Walter is back in charge of sorting out the situation to the best of his ability with no previous experience.
In the meantime though Ryder finds out about a bit about Walter after being on the internet and tries to almost befriend him. By this point the whole city is aware of whats going on in this car of the train as its heavily reported and teams are surrounding it and so on and to stop the situation even the mayor is there trying to come up with the money. This is no game, Ryder knows what he doing and he won't stop till he gets the cash.
It all seems to be up to Walter to keep the situation calm, and will the money turn up or not that Ryder wants? Ryder wants to meet Walter but is Walter man enough to ever go that far....and who will survive.
What I Thought:
This 15 movie lasts one hour and 42 minutes which in my view wasn't too long going or dragged out. I can't say the acting wasn't superb as it really was and as someone who has only seen John Travolta in Grease and the likes of Look Who's Talking films in the past I was really surprised by his acting as this as its such a gritty roll and he was ever so convincing as a bad guy.
However this is a thriller and I was less than thrilled by this to be perfectly honest with you. There was a bit of violence though nothing much and I did like that the fact that when I thought what was going to happen next didn't and I liked the ending well enough which was entirely predictable but I have to admit by the end of it I got somewhat confused and past caring as the entire film just lost its edge to me.
Its an ok film this one but in my humble opinion nothing to get excited about but if your bored and fancy it go for it, it isn't dreadful at least and I have seen much worse!
This review is also posted on Ciao under this same username.
- Story -
A terrorist takes the passengers on a NYC underground train, named Pelham 123, hostage. He communicates with a train dispatcher, demanding the maximum ransom possible by an early deadline and if he doesn't receive the money in time, he threatens to kill a passenger every minute thereafter. The police and hostage negotiators swiftly get involved but the terrorist is only interested in communicating with the dispatcher - is it possible to get the ransom there in time? can the passengers be saved? you'll have to watch the movie to find out.
- Thoughts & Opinions -
In this movie, Travolta plays the dark and moody villainous Ryder, who commandeers the train the movie is named after. He plays the character well, seeming quite convincing as a mean and moody man on a mission with a grudge and who isn't afraid to pick victims to make his point heard.
The story becomes more interesting when Ryder happens upon some rather 'juicy' information about the dispatcher which he uses against him, upping the stakes somewhat, especially considering the
I find it a little hard to believe that the hostage negotiation team would make the juvenile mistake they do quite early on in the movie for one, given that I've seen some shows about hostage negotiation before, that seemed a bit unlikely to me. The movie is quite tense and its broken up between scenes of the dialogue between Ryder and the dispatcher, Walter Garber and the police convoy outside, on the streets of NY rushing to deliver the ransom - there are a few action packed scenes here, it should help keep your interest if the more dialogue based scenes start to bore you a bit. Also present throughout the movie, at certain sections, is a countdown ticker, to add to the tension, to help keep us aware of how close to the deadline it is. The use of children who are among the hostages, as potential victims certainly brings home the tension and the stakes are considerably raised after another blunder occurs.
The mix of tension, story and action scenes is quite good and certainly kept me watching - it became quite enthralling by the time the first hour had passed by. One thing I should mention though is that there's alot of strong language used literally from the start of the movie - use of the 'f' word and the 'mother - f' word (im sure you know what I mean) is pretty prominent - so if this will offend you or your not comfortable hearing that, then your best giving this a miss.
I noticed this movie uses some nice ariel shots of the city, the background music helps add to the tension and the cast all offer decent performances, though I'd say that Denzel gives the better performance than Travolta, overall - Denzel does particularly well playing the dispatcher who keeps his cool surprisingly well other than when he nearly trips over his words but that makes it seem more realistic anyway - obviously its the interaction between Ryder and Garber that the movie concentrates on and that makes it or breaks it - I thought they pulled it off well enough.
- Would I Recommend It? -
Yes - although I don't think its a particularly amazing movie as such, for an action movie of this type its alright, it kept me pretty enthralled for the duration. This won't appeal to everyone, its based on the movie from the 1970s which I haven't seen, so I can't specifically comment on how similar it is or compare the two, often when movies are remade people reckon the remake isn't as good as the original but otherwise, its a competent enough movie, so I'd say if it really appeals to you then its worth a watch.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and thanks for all rates and comments.
Stars - Travolta V Washington
RuN-TiMe - 106 minutes
Certificate - 15
Country - American
Genre - Action
When John Travolta and Denzel Washington go head-to-head in a big budget Tony 'Top Gun' Scott action movie then you just can't say no, two of the most charismatic tough guys sure to produce some electricity on the big screen. JT was fabulous alongside Nick Cage in Face Off, in likewise action territory, and so why not here, this Washington's fourth film with Scott. Yes Pelham 123 is a remake of the 1970s classic with Walter Mattau and Robert Shaw and so not really needed, lazy regurgitations of classics something I generally pour scorn upon. But as the NY Metro system hasn't really changed in those 35 years and the appeal of a claustrophobic hostage situation will always work then why not give it a go for the younger films fans who probably think a Walter Mattau is a cigar or so something.
With more than an echo of Die Hard 3 here it's the fourth time Denzel Washington has appeared in a hostage style movie, twice as the hero, twice as the villain, although I will leave you guessing on this one. He does that anxiety so well and at his brilliant best in Crimson Tide, the tale of mutiny on an America nuclear sub, a must see if you haven't, a master-class of walking the tightrope of tension.
Denzel Washington ... Walter Garber
John Travolta ... Ryder
Luis Guzmán ... Phil Ramos
Victor Gojcaj ... Bashkim
John Turturro ... Camonetti
Michael Rispoli ... John Johnson
Ramon Rodriguez ... Delgado
James Gandolfini ... Mayor
NY Metro control room worker Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) is almost through his shift and starting to thinking about the weekend. But it will be a day like no other for Walter as a group of terrorists, headed by a man called Ryder (John Travolta), have taken hostages on one of the cities metro trains and demanding ten million dollars for their release.
Armed to the teeth they quickly attract the attention of the city Mayor (James Gandolfini), who pitches up at Walters control room to take control of the situation. Head FBI case Agent Delgado Ramirez (Ramon Rodriguez) is suspicious of Garber's coolness under pressure, suspecting he is in on it and so orders a search of his house and background. And he has reason to, the controller under investigation already for a previous incident, one that suggests he needs the money.
Police Captain Hill: So, who the hell did you f*ck to get this job?
Walter Garber: Myself... was easier than it looked.
Police Captain Hill: Yeah... fucking yourself always is.
Ryder stacks the pressure on Garber and the mayor by killing a hostage, all this caught on a young lads Laptop webcam on the train, identifying to the cops that other transit employees are involved. As Ryder bonds with Garber over the radio, the way ober criminals do in these movies, Ryder takes the opportunity to taunt the mayor some more, suggesting history between the two, the body count likely to rise if he doesn't get that ten million dollars soon. As Garber earns Ryder's trust the question now for the FBI is our everyman hero just an anxious train controller out of his depth and just doing his civic duty to make things right for his previous misdemeanours or is he in on the job....
Like a pretty blond with big boobs and heels its dumb fun to be had all around here, what you rented and what you get. With flicky segways, pumping rap music and edgy vocabulary early on you know this is trying hard to appeal to all demographics to pack the multiplexes, Denzil Washington just as popular with white audiences as black and Latino one's. His cool and standing is up there with Samuel L Jackson in the industry for guys, of course, and the ladies love him to. In fact he rarely makes a bad movie, an actor that can turn a very average script into big bucks, The Inside Job with Clive Owen an example of. Washington is a genuine movie star.
Pelham 123 is the type of film that pays the big stars mortgages on those many houses, a straightforward action flick that is neither good nor bad...the type of formulaic film that you want to deliver cliché. The producers know roughly how many people will pack the multiplexes when they stick two huge stars in and so the rest of the film doesn't matter, Washington and JT keeping it on track, if you excuse the pun. Saying that I quite enjoyed it as much as you can and so worth the rental, just two great movie stars in the truest tradition doing their thing, the type of movie people like as they can disengage their brain and just relax with popcorn and pop. It is pretty violent though so not for family viewing guys.
Some of the stunts seemed forced and the unneeded car chase through the streets of Manhattan blatantly so, unsure why the cameras needed to be above the subway at all at any point in this film. The dialogue is very Travolta cool and good fun whilst Washington is happy to just let JT eat up the scenery like only he can, not a man to share the camera, everyone else sitting back and letting them get on with it, James Gandolfini always Tony Soprano to me. As a viewer you just want the two big stars to dominate the screen and sit back and enjoy and so on that level this works.
It's no Die Hard but it does the job on a wet Sunday afternoon, plenty of macho bullsh*it for the lads and eye candy for the girls. As its Manhattan there is some post 911 paranoia and imagery woven in here, one in a long line of these movies in NY since that terrible day ten years ago (ten years!), but nothing intelligent or profound on it, the 911 sprinkle of spice a simple excuse to update the original movie once suspects.
The movie did tank a little early on when Travolta decided not to promote it as the general release was just after the controversial death of his son, earning him some bad publicity for once, beaten into third place by 'Up' and the surprise hit 'The Hangover' in the billboard charts. The accusation was that his scientology faith meant he was not allowed to administer life saving treatment to his son who suffered head trauma in the shower from his epilepsy and the ambulance was 'delayed' to get that critical help.
JT is an interesting character outside of his insular showbiz beliefs and his Florida home where this all happened is actually built on an airstrip, his love of flying seeing him having no less than four planes on his property, including a Quantas 707 on his driveway! There's an amazing picture on flickr.com of his house and well worth a look, even having a live in pilot on the grounds for when he doesn't want to fly into work.
The Roosevelt Tunnel built under the Waldorf Astoria hotel to which Ryder uses as part of his escape from the subway is actually based on the secret track 61 which is built under the Waldorf Astoria and was commissioned to help President Franklin Roosevelt keep his use of a wheelchair secret.
The Independent - "In the post 9-11 New York City, it's a patently ludicrous suggestion that four machine-gun toting, sinister looking individuals can walk freely about the most heavily-guarded subway system in the world".
The LA Times -"If the trademark Scott gloss serves as a superficial hook, his also-adept manner of building tension and suspense then keeps one interested".
The Atalanta Tribunal -"If you're not feeling too cerebral Tony Scott's action movie set pieces are pretty good -- also silly sometimes -- but they're more than enough to fill in time between the lines of clichéd dialogue".
The Star -"If you've never seen the original, the new Taking of Pelham 123 will probably come across as an okay thriller, but if you have seen the original it's clear evidence as to why the movies aren't as good as they used to be".
Imdb.com - 6.4 /10.0 (36, 465 votes)
Rottentomatos.com - 51% approval rating by the critics (60% by the website users)
Metacritic.com - 55% approval; rating by the critics (62% by the website users)
Remakes are very hit and miss, often missing by a mile and wondering why on earth someone bothered in the first place. I haven't seen the original of this, but I found myself enjoying The Taking of Pelham 123 from start to finish. It has a relatively simple main plot, with a couple of twists put in here and there, elements of doubt and paranoia, and a decent thriller level of pitch to it.
Denzel Washington and John Travolta star as the two main protagonists. The former plays Walter Garber, a controller for the subway (and yes, that's the trains and not the sandwich company!). When a train is hijacked and its passengers ransomed by a man with a grudge, known only to us as Ryder, things kick into gear. Travolta plays Ryder, and the two lead actors bounce off each other very well. Both are established actors, and I thought they were excellent here.
At times, the film threatens to descend into a slow paced repetitive plot line, but something always happens to keep it interesting, and I think a lot of this is down to the delivery firstly from Denzel and Travolta, but also due to the direction from Tony Scott. There are limits when a film centres around hostage taking and demands, as it has been done so many times before, and the location of the scenes don't change very much. In fact, there isn't very much here that goes against this mould, but its delivery is one that varies pace. One moment it has elements of calm where people are working things out, and then it becomes frantic, with the occasional act of violence and some sneakiness providing some tension and making you wake up if you had started to drift with not much going on.
It's not a brilliant film, but something like this could so easily have been boring beyond belief. Travolta's psychotic kidnapper is somewhat over the top and very highly strung compared to Denzel's calm under pressure bog standard employee, and it's quite interesting how the two of them bang heads on screen, figuratively speaking, that is. It's quite a dark film, as a lot of the action takes place with artificial lighting ion the train under the city, or in a dark navigation control room, but what lighting they have used is very well done, showing just enough of the characters and the surroundings to be effective.
It's an average and run of the mill film in many ways, but it should be lauded for its successful delivery of a plot that had potential pitfalls when transferred onto screen. Good acting and direction make it one that will happily pass the time and, like I said, keep interest from start to finish. There's nothing special, but it does entertain, and it's well worth the watch. Recommended.
Once again Hollywood runs out of ideas and does a remake! So John Travolta has taken enough people hostage on a subway train to ask for a $10million ranson and Denzel Washington, a disgraced rail captain has the job of talking to him for an hour and a half. And basically that's it.
The action is fine, the dialogue is fine, the plot is fine and it entertained me for that time. But it didn't REALLY entertain me. This is an interesting display of how different modern movie viewers expectations are different from what they were all those years ago. Now we expect more; more twists, more sophistication, just plain more!
In saying all this, it wasn't a bad movie and it probably would have been a great movie 20 years ago. But since Oceans 11, Bourne supremacy etc this type of film is just too simple. And simple doesn't cut it with thrillers anymore.
The acting: Well Travolta does Travolta, Washington does Washington and Gandolfini does Gandolfini, its not even as if these actors were tested and pushed. This is acting by numbers.
Watch it if you want a regular thrller but don't expect any more.
I battled getting this on DVD for a while... part of me was interested in this film, part of me wasn't and at times I wanted to watch it so bad, whilst others I just had no interest. In the end, I did get this (a sudden cheap buy on Amazon) and after about three to four months of owning it, I finally watched it.
~~~DVD BOX COVER DESIGN~~~
The DVD cover features the two male leads (Denzel Washington and John Travolta) both looking quite gangster on the top with a train on the bottom. It basically has everything this film focuses on in the cover, but not very exciting until you read the blurb. It is an alright cover but I wouldn't pick up the film based on it.
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
A train gets hi-jacked by several men, led by a mysterious man called Ryder (John Travolta), holding the passengers hostage for a ransom of $10,000,000. Train dispatcher Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) gets dragged into all this being on shift and must not only talk to Ryder to buy time but must act as instructed to ensure innocent lives are not at risk.
I must admit my summary is not very enticing, but there are parts of this film that really do excite. Firstly, the fact that it involves Denzel Washington promises this film to be some sort of thriller, in which he is the hero. That is definitely the case with this film. The film quickly plummets into action with the hi-jacking of a train within the first ten minutes, which immediate grab your attention.
The premise of the film is laid out extremely quickly. However, the "Speed" style plot really doesn't work here as the protagonist Walter Garber is detached from risk or action, sitting comfortably at his desk "chatting" to this armed killing gang-man. This could easily be resolved by having hostages we cared about, but there aren't any. The only person possibly worthy of caring for on that train would be the cute little white boy who manages to squeeze two lines out of his mouth and a piss for the duration of the film.
Thankfully, the last twenty minutes to half hour of the film sees Walter Garber off his backside and actually do some business. This is where the film gets good. Once we got him off his butt, there is a car chase, distress amongst the passengers and lots of crashes.
Unfortunately the ending falls flat again and the climax it aimed to reach just didn't peak. The momentary uplift provided by the excitement of Denzel Washington, gun in hand, chasing a criminal led to a catharsis even I couldn't accept. I guess the world doesn't stop spinning.
Denzel Washington- Walter Garber
John Travolta- Ryder
Also stars John Turturro, Ramon Rodriguez and Luiz Guzman.
John Travolta does a good job dishing the "good boy" look if he ever had that. The only other film I've seen that he is in, is Grease. In this, he is like ten times as gangsta, the tattoos and piercings and all that jazz. Surprisingly, Denzel Washington looks just as gangster. Why he has to have a beard and an earring is anyone's guess. He was barely recognisable in all of that. I didn't think Denzel Washington did enough to make this role shine out. By now, after all these thrillers he has been in, it just seems a bit samey. If he's not a cop or a detective, he is a brave civilian doing all sorts of crazy things to bad evil men.
The DVD has a load of extra features which includes loads of commentaries, the making of the film, a bit on the underground system, characterisation and theatrical trailers.
I bought the DVD for just under £4 on Amazon, and would recommend you spend no more than that on this film!
I had a greater expectation to this film that it didn't meet. Whilst there were exciting scenes dotted throughout the movie, the overall appeal and excitement could not compare to the likes of "Speed", despite a similar plot. My sister seemed to enjoy it a lot, but it really wasn't anything spectacular, other than giving me an insight into how train systems are run (which I found truly fascinating). I am sure many will enjoy this, but it is a one-time watch.
The Taking of Pelham 123 was released last year and stars John Travolta and Denzel Washington in the lead roles. I have to admit I've always enjoyed watching both these actors in the movies they have been in so was interested in watching this which I did earlier this year. It is billed as an action movie but was not as fast paced as I thought it might be but was still quite entertaining.
The movie itself is a remake of the 1974 film and I didn't see the original I have to admit but have read the book the film is based on. I think it sticks to that fairly well.
The story involves four men who take over a subway train. This is first noticed by a disapatcher at the rail control centre. He works out that something is wrong when he sees the train stopping places where is shouldn't and things are not as normal as they should be. It is not long before he is contacted on the radio by the man who has taken charge of this train. He wants ten million dollars an hour or he will start killing passengers one by one! And so a hostage negotiation team are brought in to try to calm the situation and handle it as best they can before disaster strikes and Ryder starts killing innocent passengers.
The plot is very simple in essence and is very easy to follow which is a good thing. I thought that the lead characters played by Denzel Washington and John Travolta put in strong performance that really helped the movie along. I found them both pretty believable in their respective roles.
Now, the movie is not as action packed as you might think so if that's what you're expecting when you watch this then you may be a bit disappointed. There is alot of talking and discussion between the lead characters as the negotiations take place.
I would not recommend this for younger viewers as there is some violence and bad language as you might expect. But to be honest with you it is not bad if you want a simple movie that you don't have to think about too much.
It starts out as a normal day for Garber who works as a dispatcher for the New York Underground but things are about to take a turn for the worse when Ryder and his gang get aboard the Pelham 123 train. Ryder hijacks the train with the passenger still onboard. Graber notices that the train has stopped and tries to make contract with the driver.
Ryder who is in control speaks to Garber and tells him that he wants $10 million in one hour or he will start to shoot the passenger. Garber and the hijack team have to think hard about what to do but when Ryder kills the driver they agree to pay him. The mayor is called and he sets about getting the money.
With Ryder only speaking to Garber the hijack team think he may be involved with the gang but when Ryder starts to investigate Garber they soon learn he is not. Will Garber be able to talk Ryder out of the hijack and if not will they be able to get the money there on time before innocent passengers start top be killed?
I loved this film from start to finish but I have to say after the first 40minutes I thought it was going to get slow as there seemed to be a long running time left and I could not work out where the story was going to go but I can honestly say I did not loose interest at any point. The storyline was very good, it was basic with the initial plot but the way the characters interacted with each other and what they talked about gave it some depth.
The role of Walter Garber was played by Denzel Washington and I thought he did an excellent job. I liked how we got to know a good bit about his background and what he had done to be demoted, this gave me the opportunity to see him as a real human and not a flat character working at a desk. He showed strength and determination when talking to Ryder and I found he was totally believable. The role of Ryder was played by John Travolta and again he did an excellent job. He look hard and suited the hard man role very well. I have to say his appearance shocked me at the start of the film as he is still quite overweight and he did look quite old. Saying this he did the character justice and I loved the way Garber was able to get him to open up so we again learnt a bit about his past.
There were a lot of supporting character in this film and they were all good. Actors included, Luis Guzman, John Turturro, James Gandolfini and Victor Gojcaj. They were all very good in their roles and ach bought something different to the storyline. I would have liked a few extra female characters in the film as this would have given it more appeal to the female audience.
The majority of the film was split between the train and the office where Garber was working and I though the sets were all very good. I did think that some of the scenes in the underground tunnel where the train was wee a bit dark but once on the train they were a lot lighter and this was great as some similar films always seem to be shot in the dark or at night. I did enjoy seeing the control office and see how the underground is run and maintained as this was all new to me and I did not know this is what happened and that each train could be tracked at all times. The detail which went into the computers and display screens was all very good. There were some special effects used in this film and I found them all to be of a very high standard. The trains all looked excellent when speeding along and so to did the gun shots which were fried.
The music throughout this film was probably the weakest thing and I cannot now remember a single track which was used. I did remember thinking at the time of watching that it all suited the places in which it was used and helped with the tension and drama.
The DVD which we have does have some bonus features which include:-
Commentary with Director Tony Scott
Commentary with Writer Brian Helgeland and Producer Todd Black
No Time to Loose: The Making of Pelham 123
The Third Rail: New York Underground
From the Top Down: Stylizing Characters
As he and hubby are not fans of bonus features we have not taken the time to watch these so I am not able to make comment on them. The running time of the film is 1 hour and 42 minutes and after the first 40 minutes I thought it was going to get slow but I did not and I found this to be a great length. The certificate is a 15 as there is a lot of strong language and violence and I do agree with this. We paid just £5 for this DVD from Amazon and I thought this was a bargain. It can be bought for £7 in Tesco.
This film gets the full 5 stars from both me and hubby as it has a great storyline, excellent acting and it can be enjoyed by both the male and female audience.
This DVD arrived from lovefilm for our perusal over the bank holiday and I have to say I was feeling pretty sceptical about it before we sat down to watch. I am not particularly a fan of either John Travolta or Denzel Washington who are the two main protagonists here, but I figured I would give it the benefit of the doubt, I actually really quite enjoyed it!
This film is a remake of the 1974 original, based on a novel of the same name by Morton Freedgood (written under the pen name John Godey). The 2009 version was produced and directed by Tony Scott.
A group of armed men take control of a subway train (the 1.23pm from Pelham, hence the name) and quickly disable the driver and conductor before separating the first car from all the others. In this car they now have a number of hostages and begin negotiations with the control room for a payment of $10 million.
The lead hijacker is Ryder, played by Travolta and he begins a dialogue with subway employee Walter Garber (Washington) which leads to some quite intense exchanges as Garber alerts the police, the Mayor and the FBI and tries to keep Ryder calm and avoid any unnecessary deaths. The film follows the events of the 1 hour deadline from the initial taking of the train to when Ryder says he will begin shooting a hostage every minute that the money does not appear.
Denzel Washington - Walter Garber
John Travolta - Ryder
James Gandolfini - Mayor of NYC
Michael Rispoli - John Johnson
John Turturro - Camonetti (NYPD)
Victor Gojcaj - Bashkim (hijacker)
Ramon Rodriguez - Delgado
It is quite a fast paced film and actually pretty easy to watch, I felt that it whizzed by and seemed short, it has a run time of only 106 minutes so it is not in fact too long. I liked the fact that it is very choppy and switches between the situation on the train and in the control room, it seemed to enhance the tense feeling and gave an air of menace to the deadline that they are up against.
I thought that Washington actually stole the show as Garber, a man who has been demoted to the position he is now in, clearly an eloquent and intelligent guy who somehow manages to engage Ryder in conversations that he never envisioned having. His natural skill as a negotiator is played well by Washington who exudes charm and warmth and balances the bad guy Ryder very well.
Travolta's Ryder I also thought was quite well played, sinister and very believable as a hostage taker, violent in a very cold way, the balance between him and Garber seems authentic.
Easy to watch, a pretty good story and interesting in light of all the terrorist attacks we are now (sadly) accustomed to. It does grip you and that is what is meant to do, I did not find myself clock watching at all.
I found that most of the other characters paled into insignificance to be honest and none really stuck in my mind. Most of the focus is on Ryder and Garber - as it should be - but nobody else really jumps off the screen at you, the supportive cast do their job and little more.
I found the very last frame a little cheesy and for me it jarred against the rest of the film, it was basically Garber getting home and has nothing to do with the story's ending (hence I have no qualms writing it here) but just had a strange, overly twee feeling to it which I thought was a shame.
A pretty good film which surprised me, not overly action adventure, not overly violent and not overly psychological thriller either. This film is easy to watch, enjoyable and held together by the two lead characters who are portrayed very well by Travolta and Washington.
Great Saturday night film which does not tax your brain too much and delivers pretty much what it says on the tin, this did not provoke any particularly strong emotion from me but then I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to, a pleasant surprise!
I would advise renting this rather than buying, unless you are a particular fan of the main actors. Rated a 15 in the UK which is probably because of the language, there is a lot of swearing but the violence is not particularly bad.
Run time: 106 mins
I'm normally not a fan of remakes. The original film was brilliant, then someone decides to do a remake and it's rubbish.
Finally, someone remade a film and did it in a good way, thought it's still not as good as the original by any means. I think the reason is that the plot was changed enough to make it different, but it's still a remake. Written by Brian Helgeland (Mystic River, Payback, LA Confidential) and directed by Tony Scott (True Romance, Crimson Tide, Man on Fire), this is a good action film with two brilliant leads.
Denzel Washington plays Walter Garber, a man who works for the New York Metro and is under investigation for corruption. John Travolta plays Ryder, an ex-con and stock broker who wants to make money from a dip in the stock exchange, knowing that a terrorist attack would do it. He and three other men, including one train driver, take 123 Hostage and demand $10 million, saying that they will kill if the money isn't paid. There is a rush against time to get the money, during which Garber and Ryder come to trust each other, and understand each other's motives. They are essentially the same, though Ryder has taken to being bad, while Garber remains a good man. There are several shootings as Ryder tries to make his point, and finally Ryder and Garber meet when Garber brings the money to the train. The train is moved further along the line to an escape point, and Ryder and the others attempt to get away. This leads to a finale on the Brooklyn Bridge.
This is a good action film, and a great way to pass the time. The two lead actors are on super form, and there is great support on the form of John Turturro and Luis Guzman as the cop and the corrupt train driver.
Well worth buying.
Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) is a subway train co-ordinator with accusations of corruption hanging over his head. When a man who identifies himself only as Ryder (John Travolta) takes control of the trains known as Pelham 123 he is the unfortunate guy to take the ransom demands. They have only one hour to cough up the dough.
Tension mounts as the deadline looms and passengers fear for their lives, and a calamity of errors doesn't help matters at all. Can Denzel talk the kidnappers down, many lives depend on him.
Tony Scott is the more mainstream director of the Scott brothers (Ridley being the other of course). That's not to say he's not made some great films, Crimson Tide being my favourite. However, this one he could surely have made in his sleep. It's Tony on autopilot.
I've never seen the original film with Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw, but
I understand it is a very tense film, there is almost no tension at all here. From the outset it's pretty obvious what the likely outcome will be.
Denzel Washington can make a mediocre film good, and here he makes it watchable, although that can't be said of John Travolta who's not really done much worth watching since Pulp Fiction, it's not really his fault as his bad guy ticks just about every stereotype I can think of. Tony Soprano, I mean James Gandolfini turns up as the New York Mayor, his performance is ok,the part is very stereotyped, although he gives the film a little bit of humour now and then.
There are a number of action scenes that are less than believable, with cars seeming to defy the laws of physics. Really all that's missing is Arnold Schwarzenegger to add a cheesy line to make it complete. Most of these scenes are here just to pad out the movie.
I think Scott was going for a real time film, this kind of works, but the camera guys must have been on a bender every night as the camera never stops shaking. This is ok for some scenes, but the entire movie, I feel sea sick. The soundtrack is pretty unmemorable too, just standard Hollywood action film stuff really.
The ending of the film can be seen quite a way away, although the actual finale was even worse than I was expecting. All in all this is a good TV movie for a Saturday night in, nothing more than that. I hope Tony can put a bit more thought into his next one, and please try something original. I would only recommend watching this film when it come to TV, it's not worth wasting the money on buying or renting the DVD. I've seen worse.
Main Cast List
Denzel Washington - Walter Garber
John Travolta - Ryder
Luis Guzmán - Phil Ramos
Victor Gojcaj - Bashkim
John Turturro - Camonetti
James Gandolfini - Mayor
Directed By : Tony Scott
Running Time : 106 Mins
Certificate : 15
Released on DVD in January 2010 'The Taking of Pelham 123' is a 2009 remake of the 1974 film of the same name. Starring John Travolta and Denzel Washington and directed by Tony Scott the film is an action thriller with a certificate 15 rating. With a running time of 106 minutes this is my film only review of this title.
With swift precision Ryder (John Travolta) and his group of cohorts take control of a subway train in New York City and hold the passengers onboard as hostages. In the control room Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) is in the middle of an uneventful shift when he notices that the train has stopped and its driver cannot be raised on the radio. Realising that something is wrong he keeps trying until Ryder responds with a simple demand; deliver $10 million to the train in one hour or else the hostages will die one by one for every minute passed the deadline...
I'm sure you will have noticed that my plot outline is quite short and sweet, the simple reason for this is there's not much more I could add, the film is a classic 'Bad guys vs. Good guys' race against time with the added peril of a group of hostages being killed if the demands are not met. This is not a criticism of the film as I actually found it to be quite good but it didn't really offer anything that I haven't seen before. Although I can't fully remember the original version of the film I can't imagine that the plot has deviated far from the 1974 version which I recall being very good for its time.
John Travolta as the main bad guy is believably menacing in the role of Ryder and he seems to get his teeth into the part with some over the top moments of manic hysteria that we have grown to expect from larger than life 'baddies'. Denzel Washington plays his part with far more restraint being the voice of reason on the other end of the radio communication device, a flawed and unwilling hero he has the perfect presence of character to deliver a worthy counterbalance to Ryder's extreme moments and between them they do carry the film.
As the action takes place on a stationary subway train there are periods where you feel as if nothing is happening, even though there is a deadline to meet you know that until the hour has passed nothing exciting is going to take place and the time is filled with subplots concerning Garber's past and an unlikeable Mayor with a team of bumbling cops who are co-ordinating the money for the ransom. These don't add much overall to the pacing of the film and do feel quite forced, one part in particular when the money is being driven through New York is flawed in its concept as even a character remarks that it would have arrived at its destination quicker if flown across in a helicopter. Quicker maybe, but that wouldn't have allowed an extended sequence with crashing cars and an attempt to ramp up the tension would it?
The ending was, for me, frankly lacking in tension and suspense and somewhat unbelievable but considering something had to be done to try and get some momentum going I understood why it was included. There are moments of greatness in the film which some spot-on acting by Travolta and Washington but overall the running time of 106 minutes did seem to drag by whilst waiting for something interesting to happen. I'm probably being a little over-critical in my opinion of the film, after all it is a decent action flick that has updated the original 1974 version and it will appeal to some viewers, for me it was nothing special and wouldn't be a film I would want to watch for a second time unless it appeared on television at some point in the future.
'Good-but-not-great' sums the film up and receives a generous 3/5 dooyoo star rating from me. It is available to buy from Amazon for £9.26 which is overpriced in my opinion, I would recommend giving it a rent if you are wanting to pass on a couple of hours but really, it isn't anything special that you won't have seen before in similar films sharing the 'Hijack and Hostage' theme.
Thanks for reading my review!
The Taking of Pelham 123 is a remake of the 1974 crime film starring Walter Matthau. In this remake we see the passenger underground train hijacked by John Travolta. He issues his demands to the transport authority led by Denzel Washington. A game of wits is then played out between the two, mainly over intercom. What does Travolta want, and is it as simple as a quick buck?
There are quite a number of differences between the original and the new film. In particular the ending which was actually a very clever way to end the film is dismissed in favour of yet another shoot out. This somehow dampens the impact of the film and in the end dumps it in the realms of the every other action film out there.
Action director Tony Scott, who has made some pretty decent films of late (Domino, Enemy of the State, Man on Fire) again handles the action very well, however there is a certain tendency to over-emphasise the action when there should be some more tension. The clever parts of the original film were the parts where the tension mounted - here it seems to be replaced with a ludicrous car chase where cars seemingly fly through the air with no regard for the laws of physics.
Denzel Washington is always good in these kinds of roles and here he plays a much more mild-mannered hero who does have flaws and is a little scared of guns. There is also some good bankable support from James Gandolfini and John Turturro.
John Travolta looks absolutely ridiculous as the main hijacker, Ryder. He is better as the bad guy (see Swordfish and The Punisher) and here he scowls and shouts his way through the film in good fashion, but he certainly isn't Robert Shaw.
In all, The Taking of Pelham 123 was a pretty pointless remake. It added absolutely nothing to the original film and ended up being a very lame action film. Tony Scott obviously had a love of the original film and wanted to pay homage to that somewhat classic film from 1974. And whilst it attempts to recreate the action from that film, it actually comes across as a very unoriginal piece of work.
Taking of Phelam 123 is an all action, shoot em up up, terrorist mastermind special.
John Travolta takes the role as bad guy while denzel washington is the train operator who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
For me this was a good action film it contained several sub plots to keep the viewer interested. One thing that also benefited this movie is the fact their was no soppy love story sub plot. I often think that directors include a love angle into this type of movie in order to captivate the female audience. However there is no one of that. Instead we are deeply involved in the ongoing saga of denzel washingtons career which is in doubt after some serious allegations.
Like all good action movies there is drama, gun fights and car chases which all arrive at a fantastic ending, which i wont spoil for you if you have not watched the movie.
Overall this is a good action film, it wont win any oscars or many awards but it is a good watch and i would recommend it to any body.