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The Taking of Pelham 123 [DVD] [2010]

105 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: John Travolta, Denzel Washington, James Gandolfini
  • Directors: Tony Scott
  • Format: Subtitled, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Danish, English, Finnish, Hindi, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish
  • Dubbed: Italian
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Audio Description: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Jan. 2010
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001WAKCQO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,648 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) is a New York City subway dispatcher whose ordinary day is thrown into chaos by an audacious crime: the hijacking of a subway train. Ryder (John Travolta), the criminal mastermind behind the hijacking and leader of a highly-armed gang of four, threatens to execute the train's passengers unless a large ransom is paid within one hour. As the tension mounts beneath his feet, Garber employs his vast knowledge of the subway system in a battle to outwit Ryder and save the hostages. But there's one riddle Garber can't solve: even if the thieves get the money, how can they possibly escape?

From Amazon.co.uk

John Godey's 1973 novel The Taking of Pelham One Two Three boasts a suspense situation so surefire that even the directorial bad habits of Tony Scott can't ruin this latest movie version. Four armed men seize a New York City subway train, isolate one car, and threaten to start killing passengers if a ransom isn't paid within the hour. The ransom was a million dollars in the book and also in Joseph Sargent's solid 1974 movie, in which Robert Shaw played the mercenary leading the hostage takers and Walter Matthau was the growling transit cop trying to outsmart him. In 2009, the title has gone digital--The Taking of Pelham 123--and inflation has jumped the asking price to $10 million. Where Shaw's menace was steely, John Travolta opts for manic, and shamelessly has a blast in the master villain role. His adversary, cagily underplayed by Denzel Washington, has been upgraded in civil-service rank but also demoted on suspicion of taking a bribe. This colors the dynamics of the dialogue between Washington at his control-center console and Travolta on the motorman's microphone aboard the stalled train.

So far, so reasonably good. But the director's trademark tactics keep getting between, well, everything. From the get-go, the visuals are subjected to pointless and irritating stutter effects, speeding-up/slowing-down, gratuitous camera movement, and the interposition of dirt- or light-smeared panes of glass between the camera and people we'd appreciate a clear look at. The 1974 movie settled for one police car being wrecked as the ransom is rushed uptown; Scott requires multiple collisions, each the occasion for police cruisers taking Lethal Weapon-style flight. The hostages in the earlier film were wittily individuated, a multicultural group portrait of the city at that mid-'70s moment; the ones on Scott's train--and also Travolta's fellow perpetrators, including that wonderful character actor Luis Guzmán--barely register. On the upside, John Turturro and James Gandolfini shine as two guys who (like the actors themselves) are very good at their jobs—respectively playing a hostage negotiator and His Honour, the mayor. The screenplay by Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River) strives intelligently, if formulaically, to add new dimensions to the main characters and to offer its own gloss on the current economic meltdown. --Richard T. Jameson




Stills from The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (Click for larger image)











Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr Baz TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 Aug. 2014
Format: DVD
Tony Scott's take on the well respected Joseph Sargent/Walter Matthau 1974 film a brave attempt but it comes up a little short in a few ways.

Cast wise Denzel Washington plays Walter Garber (the original was Zachary, but a nod to Matthau's performance taking his first name) John Travolta steps into the Mr. Blue shoes, contrasting the Robert Shaw performance.

Both try their best, though Travolta does go a bit overboard with the drama at times. Washington's performance is quite good (but it lacks the wit and edge of Matthau's) and the supporting cast are decent enough James Gandolfini as the Major. The problems though are numerous despite Scott's attempts at some fancy camera work (which can be annoying at times) he can't make up for the rather pedestrian script, obvious storyline with few surprises and the actors just don't have the same vibe that the 1974 film does. Even the soundtrack pales next to the original.

It's not all bad news, if you can forget the 1974 film was ever made (or have not seen it) it's not a terrible film and passes the time it's not a turn it off horrible production. It fails to really take off for me the edge isn't there (despite the contrast of the two lead actors, Washington is a little too calm at times) Then we come to the ending, a real corker on the 1974 film, here they have slipped into a very predictable and obvious ending, which isn't a patch on the first one.

Not bad, but really if you want to watch a real action thriller order the Matthau version it's hand down a better film, that one is taut edgy, with an great cast and good script...one of those films that just works brilliantly (everything comes together smoothly in a way some productions just do). Sadly this version is yet another release that falls into the "please don't try to remake outstanding films" seems the message has yet to sink in at the film studios.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 27 Sept. 2010
Format: Blu-ray
Okay, so this isn't as tense and gritty as the original and has something of the shallowness of today's usual Hollywood output, but when view against some of the rubbish out there today the remake of Pelham 123 is a reasonable film.

On the negative side, the characters are not developed and the relationship between Travolta and Washington is never really scrutinised.

On the positive side, Travolta is a great psychopath playing the role of baddy in a similar manner to Swordfish, and although there are a few unnecessary explosions and crashes the special effects are reined in and are not allowed to dominate the film.

Overall I'd give this 3 stars, worth a watch when its on TV but not worth buying as a DVD as it's not a watch-again film. If you do want to buy a DVD then, like the other reviewers say, the original is a classic good enough to make them want to re-make it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Truth TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Aug. 2010
Format: Blu-ray
John Travolta shines in this film by Tony Scott, making the role of 'Ryder' his own alongside a strong supporting cast who are all excellent. However, there's lots of holes in this film. The question is though: does that really matter?

The answer is no. Although there's a lot of them, the plot holes are only little, they don't spoil your enjoyment, and at the end of the day, what we really want from this film is guns and excitement - and on that level, the film delivers.

It's a hostage film. It's that simple - nothing happens in it to make it stand out from the pack and to be honest - just off the top of my head - any of the 'Die hard' films are better Die Hard Quadrilogy - Die Hard Quadrilogy - Die Hard/Die Hard 2/Die Hard With A Vengeance/Die Hard 4.0 [DVD]; but the thing is we've seen them all 100 times. If you want a flick with a similar theme then the 'taking' of this DVD or Blur-Ray is probably a pretty good bet.

If you found this review helpful at all please give it the thumbs up - thanks :-)
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By K. O'Leary on 8 Jan. 2010
Format: Blu-ray
Although I did enjoy Tony Scott's latest effort, I can't see its simple plot and characters rewarding repeated viewings. Everything is exactly as described, there are no surprises in the story, no clever plot twists, and no interesting exposures of the main characters personas. Oddly, as I'm used to watching convoluted thrillers nowadays, I found myself trying to second guess from the moment the film started where the curve balls were, but after about 45 minutes of saying to myself "Ah...he REALLY is going to do that..." or "so that WAS true then...", I started to get wise to the idea and realised that the only surprise was there were no surprises. In the end, this is rather unsatisfying. The finale, where a plot twist is normally de riguer for a thriller, is a real let down.

Washington and Travolta, along with an excellent supporting cast, actually put in very strong performances (more than the film deserves I think), although Travolta does descend into pantomime on a couple of occasions. Tony Scott's direction is more excitable than usual, and although the many fast cuts and swooshing pans are fun to watch (I particularly enjoyed the thrilling opening sequence), they are soon in danger of becoming migraine inducing as the film progresses. The script is generally strong, but becomes weak during the exchanges between Washington and Travolta where it really needed to bite, very odd.

Image quality is exactly what we should expect from a modern BRD release; superb, with plenty of detail and a realistic level of grain (helping to add an accurate cinematic texture). The soundtrack is even more impressive, with good spacial separation and deep bass where required. Music is also intelligently used, and there is plenty going on in the surrounds during the action scenes.
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