Movie Review: The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, June 12, 2009 at 12:00 am.

pelhamSummary: A transit dispatcher (Denzel Washington) randomly receives a call from a terrorist (John Travolta) who holds hostages on a New York City subway car and wants $10 million. The dispatcher has his own criminal history and is sucked into the terrorist’s world of sarcasm; gun shots and one-liners like, “Lick my bone hole!

Review:  Once you’ve seen one hostage film you’ve seen them all. Innocent people are kidnapped, a few sacrifice their lives to save others, racial humor, a common citizen comes to save the day and you know the rest.  The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 isn’t anything groundbreaking or unique, but it’s a fun flick with strong acting and a suitable storyline. Yes, a good movie, but don’t expect to see the best testosterone thriller of the summer in a flick that’s sometimes as eventful as getting stuck between 34th and 42nd Streets on the A train in New York City.

Pelham is a remake from 1974 and is revitalized with a new script and directed by Tony Scott. Scott had a goal he wanted to accomplish: to simply entertain and have fun with camera angles — wow, those camera angles! At times I felt like it was Cloverfield all over again. Nonetheless, Scott accomplished his goal. The movie opens with “99 Problems” by Jay-Z, you whiz around New York City like you are on a train ride and there is a clock counting down to when the terror strikes. Incredibly formulaic, but it works.

It’s the strong acting that ultimately saves the movie. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 isn’t a high-art film and neither Travolta nor Washington have anything to prove. The two are veterans in Hollywood and have flawless chemistry, great comedy and superb energy. Then we have James Gandolfini, who plays the mayor of New York — Gandolfini could recite the menu at McDonald’s and make you think he deserves an Oscar.

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 is a light summer film, slightly political at times, but overall fun.

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 is in theatres today.

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