This Week's PCR|
"The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3"
Movie review by: Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars
Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars
"The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" by Mike Smith
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When I was 14 I was invited by my older cousin Joey and some friends of his to accompany them to the drive in. Little did I know that as the youngest (and smallest) of the group, I would arrive via the trunk of the car. I don’t know if it was to save a couple of bucks or that the film was rated R. I just know that I’ll never forget the experience or the film I saw that night: “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, ” starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw. 25 years later, the film has been updated (no spelling out the numbers this time) to reflect a more serious time, when a perceived act of terrorism can cause the stock market to crash and the tabloids to speculate.
Walter Garber (Washington) is sitting at the command post in the Manhattan Transit System. His job is to monitor the subway trains as they move through his section of the city. As he finishes his lunch he notices that one of the trains has stopped. That train, which leaves its station everyday at 1:23 is referred to as Pelham 123. After some conversation with the mysterious Ryder (Travolta), Walter realizes that today will not be like the other days. Already under investigation for taking a possible bribe, Walter soon finds himself lumped in with Ryder and his gang.
A fine remake with an excellent cast, “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” is a film that keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Adapted from John Godey’s novel by Academy Award winner Brian Helgeland (“L.A. Confidential,” “Mystic River”), the premise of the film is simple: follow the rules or someone dies. Travolta chews the scenery in a rare “bad guy” role, one that allows him to curse like a drunken sailor and act just as rudely. As Garber, Washington is the more vulnerable of the characters. His supposed crime already hanging over his every mood, Walter is the audience….wanting to go home to his family but anxious to see what happens next. The supporting cast is equally talented, including great character actors Luis Guzman and John Turturro as well as Tony Soprano himself, James Gandolfini, featured as the Michael Bloomberg-type mayor of the Big Apple.
The direction by Tony Scott crackles with electricity. Even though the hijacked subway car doesn’t move, the camera movements and frenetic editing put you in the middle of the action. And a special nod to Denzel Washington, whose wardrobe of yellow shirt and colorful tie is an obvious tribute to Matthau, who wore a colorful shirt with a yellow tie in the original.
On a scale of zero to four I give “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3”
This week's movie review of "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith. All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2009, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.