This list is complied from the films mentioned in Jack Lehtonen's Mubi list on vulgar auteurism, the films mentioned in…
The Taking of Pelham 123
I can't get it out of my head. I'm gonna die today.
Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.
Tony Scott did action films with a real popcorn flavor. This remake of Joesph Sargent's superior 1974 film may have had two headline actors in the shape of Denzel Washington and John Travolta, but it didn't have the gritty tension and flair that Robert Shaw and Walter Matthau delivered in spades.
The plot is simple, a group of gunmen hijack a New York subway train and ask for a ransom. Obviously there's more to the story than that, but it's played out as just that, a hijacking. Political issues and a scandalous backdrop for MTA dispatcher Washington add to the intrigue but it's the shouty hijacker played by Travolta who really takes center stage. He's motivated, full of anger and…
The plot is taking the piss by numbers, Denzel really stretches himself and Travolta plays a much camper version of that guy in Swordfish (so, some would say, less of a stretch for him). Even Turturro seems transplanted in from Transformers. The only character that departs from cliché is Gandolfini's NY Mayor, who shows signs of actual wit and a bit of inteligence (a tribute to Rudy Giuliani no doubt, who's given the position a lick of respect). Instantly forgettable, the trademark T.Scott hyperactive, hyperstylised editing soon gets tiresome. Watch Unstoppable instead or pay to see 'Money Train' again (which is so bad and cheesy it's bordering on good) and help Wesley Snipes pay off some of his tax bill.
I give this film a fully voiced, resounding and heart felt: 'Meh'
Yes, this movie has flaws. Yes, the original is better. Yes, in the collaboration history between Denzel and Tony Scott this is the weakest entry. But, still I find a fair bit of enjoyment watching it. For one, Denzel pretty much kills it. He is playing a less confident character than he usually plays, which is refreshing. I really like the banter that he has with Johnny T, especially the scene after Johnny T Googles Denzel.
For two, I just straight enjoy Tony Scott's direction. In a world where the majority of action type movies feature many scenes involving command centers, it was only Scott who was able to make command center scenes as interesting and thrilling as the action…
So boring I don't have the will to make a witty comment.
Denzel carries everything on his shoulders. A lot of things happen that don't make sense but he holds it all together. A great performance as usual.
Brilliant faced paced action thriller set in New York. The script was great and the film progressed at a good pace. Washington and Travolta both played brilliant roles and really not what I was expecting.
Heavy-handed and frantic, Tony Scott's remake is too busy for the dramatic events on screen to have any real impact.
Feared this would be a de facto hesit film, inspired only by the original's ostensible premise, obliterating the fined tuned milieu, comical undertones and the nuanced chit chat in favor of heavy-set action stops and the travails of hyperbolic subway violence. Partially my fears came true, but it does surprisingly strain to contextually integrate the setting - Jay-Z's "99 Problems" signals "The Times They Are a-Changin'" - and maybe it's that this contemporaneous New York is no match for the textured '74 backdrop. It's not as tough, e.g. Garber no longer plays cop, he's now just a city servant watching problems from his desk as predicaments are sent to him directly through a super computer perched on the center wall…
Not a bad thriller. Looks very dated even for a 2009 film.
John Travolta was, of course, great as a bad guy. Denzel Washington was, of course, great as a reluctant hero. So what else is new?
What a waste of time.
Regarded as one of the weakest of Scott/Washington's tag team, the Taking of Pelham 123 is a remake of Joseph Sargents 1974 movie of the same title.
Not as smart or polished as the original but doesn't hold up too badly. Scott has put his own spin on things in difference to Sargents version but the stale performances struggle to bring much excitement to the film. Certainly not as good as I remember and maybe I am a little biased as I was all for a Washington/Scott partnership movie.
John Travolta is no Robert Shaw. Instead of a cool, calculating villain, Travolta hams it up and says "mother fucker" weird, a lot. Other than that, this is a pretty good remake. Enough is changed to make the story feel fresh.
I think I’ve liked a lot of Tony Scott's recent films. MAN OF FIRE and DEJA VU rocked. Even DOMINO I admired. Not a lot, but I didn't think it was trash. PELHAM 123 is trash. Despite Denzel Washington’s ever-solid presence, it is still trash.
It’s funny that the bad guys are after money since I can see that it really was the only thing any of the filmmakers were after as well. What should have been a solid thriller is instead a complete mess of boring action, bad dialogue and a tone between straight and satire. If you didn't know Scott was directing, you'd see it as a piss-take of all of Tony Scott's films. The real screw up…
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