"Life is simple now. They just have to do what I say."
For Walter Garber (Washington) this was going to be his last day controlling this section of the New York subway system but when the Pelham 123 train stops suddenly and cuts contact, he realises that something is wrong. As he and his team investigate, a voice comes over the radio declaring that the subway train with nineteen passengers has been taken and if $10 million does not arrive within an hour then for every minute it is late, a passenger will did. With the NYPD and FBI involved, the person on the other end of the radio, known only as Ryder (Travolta), refuses to talk to anyone other than Garber.
Hollywood continues to run out of ideas but can a remake in the hands of director Tony Scott make us forget about the 70s original?
John Godey’s novel ‘The Taking of Pelham One Two Three’ has been adapted for the big screen and the small screen, with the 70s original starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw influencing many a crime thriller that followed. With Hollywood thinking that the current cinematic audience will not watch anything that was produced before 1990, studios continue to look back in the archives to find stories that will appeal to a modern audience but the problem is that they should have left this one alone.
The story of an average man having to step up and take on the bad guys is nothing new in cinema and in this new version of ‘The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3’ we have this scenario again. Here we have New York subway controller Walter Garber who gets dragged into a hostage situation after he investigates the Pelham 123 train’s stoppage in a tunnel. A group of armed men have taken the carriage over and its passengers hostage, asking the City of New York to pay $10 million within one hour or for every minute they are late, a hostage will be shot. The hostage takers’ leader will only speak to Walter and it is now up to him to keep the situation calm as the deadline approaches or people will die. Changing the premise of the original 70s movie slightly and updating for the new millennium, you might have expected this to be a good thriller but unfortunately because of one big reason, it is not.
Everything is here. Director Tony Scott, the man behind ‘Top Gun’, ‘Crimson Tide’, ‘Man on Fire’, ‘Enemy of the State’ and ‘Déjà Vu’ is no stranger to action thrillers, Denzel Washington returns to work with the director again for the fifth time and a supporting cast that includes the always excellent John Turturro, Luis Guzman and James Gandolfini. It is the inclusion of John Travolta as the villain Ryder that completely ruins the movie however. While he is no stranger to playing the villain, as he did in ‘Broken Arrow’, ‘Face/Off’, ‘The Punisher’ and ‘Swordfish’, his performance as the mastermind behind the hostage taking and the man with a bigger and very predictable plan is just far too pantomime like. Dressed in a ‘Benny’ hat and sunglasses, even though he is in a subway tunnel, with a tattoo on his neck to make him look hard and a daft handlebar moustache, all Travolta does is constantly swear and cackle like a pantomime villain every time he graces the screen. This completely ruins the movie and makes it almost unwatchable, as every time Travolta comes on screen, you will cringe.
‘The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3’ is another unnecessary remake and a movie that is completely ruined by the performance of John Travolta. While Denzel Washington is good in whatever he does and Tony Scott’s movies continue to blend into one long, slow-mo filled, camera rotating, action sequence, Travolta destroys what could have been a decent action flick
PICTURE & SOUND
The Blu-Ray disc presents the movie in High Definition wide screen 2:40 up to 1080p, with Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound.
Commentary with director Tony Scott
The man at the helm follows his brother Ridley’s lead and provides an informative and interesting insight into how he approaches big budget movies. With an almost obsessive approach to research, we hear how he was drawn to the movie, working with Denzel again and making the story up to date from book and the original film. As with any Tony Scott commentary track, this is well worth a listen.
Commentary with writer Brian Helgeland and producer Todd Black
The writer and producer talk passionately about bringing a new version of ‘The Taking of Pelham 123’ to the big screen. They reveal the changes to settings, characters and motivation from the original book and movie, as well as discussing the casting and working with Tony Scott. This is a decent commentary that is well worth listening to.
No time to lose: The Making of Pelham 123 (30.25 mins/HD)
Director Tony Scott, producer Todd Black, writer Brian Helgeland, associate producer Don Ferrarone and actors Denzel Washington and John Travolta talk about their new adaptation of ‘The Taking of Pelham 123’. Here we see the changes to characters and settings, working above and below the Big Apple and setting a style for the updating of the story.
The Third Rail: New York Underground (16.15 mins/HD)
Director Tony Scott, producer Todd Black, technical advisor Joe Jackson and stars Denzel Washington, John Travolta and Luis Guzman talk about working with the New York MTA and going underneath the streets of Manhattan.
From the Top Down: Styling character with Danny Moumdjian, the Lab Salon (5.17 mins/SD)
Director Tony Scott and his hair stylist talk about creating the look of both John Travolta’s and Denzel Washington’s character via their hair.
Marketing Pelham (7.04 mins/HD)
Watch the trailers and the TV spots for the movie.
Previews of Terminator Salvation, 2012, The International, The Ugly Truth and Angels & Demons
The Blu-Ray treatment for ‘The Taking of Pelham 123’ is one that fans will enjoy. The two commentaries are very good and the featurettes cover most aspects of the film’s production, making this a very good package.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
Usher Home | Hush, Hush... | The
Big Story | The Usher Speaks
@ Home | Coming Soon | Links | Contact the Usher