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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
I enjoyed the action in the movie and the inter-play between Washington and Travolta. Travolta comes across as a guy who has thought of everything, up until the movie gets into the end play. At this point you have to wonder what the character was thinking about how he could make an escape with the money, and get away with it. At this point the movie breaks down.
Published 13 months ago by The Movie Guy

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Never really takes off
I've never seen the previous two incarnations of Pelham 123, but since the original was directed by Joseph Sargent, the man responsible for Jaws the Revenge, I think I'll give it a miss. Presumably Sargent is doing a life stretch in the funhouse without parole thanks to Jaws, so Tony Scott stepped in for this remake that is in danger of a Red Bull induced heart...
Published on 25 Mar 2011 by Inspector Gadget


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Never really takes off, 25 Mar 2011
By 
Inspector Gadget "Go Go Gadget Reviews" (On the trail of Doctor Claw) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Taking of Pelham 123 [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
I've never seen the previous two incarnations of Pelham 123, but since the original was directed by Joseph Sargent, the man responsible for Jaws the Revenge, I think I'll give it a miss. Presumably Sargent is doing a life stretch in the funhouse without parole thanks to Jaws, so Tony Scott stepped in for this remake that is in danger of a Red Bull induced heart attack.

Travolta (dressed as one of the village people) and Washington star as the crook and subway controller who come to rely on each when a subway train is hijacked beneath New York City. A lot of back story is squeezed into the film in an effort to deepen the drama. But in the end...none of it really comes together.

The subway train spends 90% of the film completely stationary, so Scott exaggerates as much of the cinematography as he can to compensate for the lack of momentum. Federico Fellini once said that in order to entertain an audience all you have to do is show a train in motion. Well, there ain't much motion on board Pelham 123 I tell ya.

It's not a bad movie, just an entertaining one that might annoy you with it's multiple missed opportunities.

The Blu Ray features a great 2.35:1 1080p picture with DTS HD-MA sound, and loads of extras.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as some say, 27 Sep 2010
By 
Fraser the Frank Fish "paul m" (Benfleet) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Taking of Pelham 123 [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free] (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
3.0 out of 5 stars Passable but fails to live up to the original, 21 Aug 2014
By 
Mr Baz - See all my reviews
(#1 REVIEWER)    (No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
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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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Faultless release on BRD for thriller that's a little too straight forward, 8 Jan 2010
By 
K. O'Leary (Milton Keynes, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Taking of Pelham 123 [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free] (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.

I can't see anybody wishing to actually own this release, unless they are big Travolta or Washington fans. There's just not enough depth to the story or characters to justify watching it more than once. I recommend renting it first.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "Do I sound like a terrorist? Do I terrorise you?", 12 Mar 2010
By 
@GeekZilla9000 "I am completely operational a... (Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
There's no delay in getting to the action with The Taking of Pelham 123, within the first few moments the scene is set and a gang have a train hi-jacked along with a carriage full of captive hostages. It's clear that Ryder, the main perpetrator, is an intelligent man wielding a fair amount of technology - it's not going to be a simple day at the office for control room operator Walter Garber...

Denzel Washington plays man on the other end of the phone when negotiations begin with the hijackers. He's not a trained negotiator though, he's a regular bloke trying to settle back into his job after a hiatus. Denzel gives the sort of performance you expect from him, he captures the character and manages to inject a bit of his own personality into the role. The result is a character you can't help but like, and when he is forced to admit something he is ashamed of and clearly quite uncomfortable talking about, you don't judge him, you empathise with him. The character feels real and he is the strongest element of the film.

In direct comparison - Ryder is a tad 2-dimensional. You can tell that he's meant to have depth but it doesn't quite work. You can see the attempts to portray him as philosophical unhinged genius, whereas he actually comes across like a stereotypical `baddie' and from the things he says you can start to guess how it will all end. You can see through the slick dialogue and gun waving, there's not much underneath it.

This is a thriller which introduces a spatter of action too, it flows well and makes sense even if it doesn't always engage you. The clever aspect to the film is how it enables both Ryder and Garber to see how similar they are in many ways, but it isn't utilised enough. Both men have done wrong and broken the law (quite obvious in the case of Ryder who is violently holding people against their will and demanding 10 million dollars!) but they both have a very opposing moral outlook.

In a nutshell: The Taking of Pelham 123 has been made several times now but I can't help but wonder what this film adds, it's a modern update and it's adequate without being anything special. There's no doubt that Denzel steals the show and he carries the film whereas Travolta's Ryder feels almost like a cartoon character - a manic caricature. The ending is meant to be climactic; the clashing of two men who have been forced to build up an awkward relationship, but it just felt a bit flat. There's not enough tension and when it is there, it's soon forgotten.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?, 12 Oct 2013
By 
The Movie Guy "Movies from A to Z" (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I enjoyed the action in the movie and the inter-play between Washington and Travolta. Travolta comes across as a guy who has thought of everything, up until the movie gets into the end play. At this point you have to wonder what the character was thinking about how he could make an escape with the money, and get away with it. At this point the movie breaks down.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected, 8 Aug 2009
By 
An update of the now much loved 70's flick of the same name, this film does the obvious and expands on that story with throwing new technology into the story,along with a larger scale plan by the villain.

Travolta takes hostages on a Newyork subway train, whilst Washington sits as the unknowing dispatcher who takes his call and who is about to have a very bad day.

Washington and Travolta, both turn in performances as expected, Denzel dependable, John very nuts, and Tony scott directs with his usual pacey and flashy flare.

What does surprise is that the film does actually focus on the plot, script and performances more than the action, and that is a nice surprise, as it is quite a tense movie as a result. Not to say that there is no action, there is some, but not quite as much as other summer release fare.

All in all a pretty smart update on the old hostage movie, with good pace and good performances from all the cast and almost avoiding cliche, although some plot holes stick after, its a fun popcorn movie.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a good movie by an out of control director, 16 Mar 2010
Tony Scott is a director who seems to be incapable of making a movie that isn't loud, flashy and just a little bit vulgar. Whilst this does not mean he cannot make the occasional very good movie, such as True Romance or Man on Fire, he does make a lot of very flashy but slightly vacuous movies, and unfortunately Pelham 123 is just such a movie.
Taking the basics of the brilliant 1970's original by Joseph Sargent, the film sees a New York subway train hijacked by a group of heavily armed men, led by the slightly unhinged Ryder (John Travolta). When the hijackers issue their ransom demands, the first person they speak to is Walter Garber (Denzel Washington), a transit authority dispatcher, and what follows is a battle of wills between these two men as the authorities attempt to take the hijackers down, whilst the hijackers confound their efforts at every turn.
Sounds like a good premise for a movie, and in the original it was, a very tense, unflashy movie that allowed its two leads (Robert Shaw as the head hijacker and the simply superb Walter Matthau as Garber) to engage is some riveting verbal sparring. However, in the hands of Tony Scott what we get is a flashy yet empty remake that adds nothing. From the get go, Scott's visual style is heavily in evidence, from very intrusive titles (used to great effect in Man on Fire, but not so good here) through pointless freeze frames to a very annoying stutter effect that he uses at every available opportunity. Layered on top of this are some ill advised attempts at unnecessary action sequences, such as moments of pointless violence to a penchant for wrecking vehicles whenever the opportunity presents itself.
That's not to say that the film is terrible, it is just flashy for the sake of being flashy, something that gets in the way of what is a good (but not great) film. Whilst Travolta goes for snarling scenery chewing in his portrayal of Ryder (which is a million miles away from Shaws understated and infinitely more threatening performance in the original), Washington portrays Garber as a normal everyman caught in an extraordinary situation, and trying to do the best he can. Although Luiz Guzman is woefully underused in a supporting role as one of the hijackers, a couple of the other supporting turns on show really do make some moments of the film shine, with John Turturro on fine form as a hostage negotiator who is there to help Washington at every turn, and an often very funny turn from James Gandolfini in a moment of almost perfect casting a the Mayor.
The screenplay by Brian Helgeland (who also gave us LA Confidential and Mystic River amongst others) is neither terrible nor particularly outstanding, giving us nothing surprising but instead striving solidly to tell an interesting story that unfortunately is somewhat hamstrung by Scott's inability to restrain himself when it comes to distracting directorial flourishes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not amazing, nothing special, but a good action flick anyway., 29 Aug 2010
By 
The Truth "How it is" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Taking of Pelham 123 [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free] (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars My Advice - Go By Bus, 9 Jun 2010
By 
G. M. Buchanan "Page marker" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The story is simple - bad guy John Travolta and pals hijack a train in the subway and hold the city to ransom - do they get the money - yes they do - do they get to spend the money - buy the DVD and find out. I remember watching the original of this story and maybe that is why I was a bit let down with this version.I think that I was expecting more. If you haven't seen the original then this is a good movie. Denzel Washington and John Travolta play their parts well and it is a good movie to kill a couple of hours with on a rainy night.
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