Ain’t as boring as the previous version (i.e. the 1974 movie).
Folks, that’s the best we can say about the new Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.
Give us Denzel Washington and John Travolta over Walter Matthau and Robert ‘Mr.Blue’ Shaw.
Any day, sir. Any day.
The new movie has a frenetic energy that the 1974 film utterly lacked.
While watching the old movie recently, we constantly wondered ‘did a subway train really get hijacked?’
No, that question didn’t come up in our mind. Not once, with this version.
That’s not to say the makers of the new Pelham 1 2 3 have covered themselves with glory.
Still Not Good Enough
Denzel Washington and John Travolta carry off their roles of a subway dispatcher and leader of the criminals respectively with aplomb.
As Ryder (that’s with a ‘Y’ as they say in the movie), John Travolta has a likable, unhinged viciousness that the cold-blooded Mr. Blue from 1974 lacked.
And there’s widgetry like cell phones, Internet and laptops that were obviously not there in the older movie. Hey, that movie was made 35-years back.
But neither the better performances nor the updated widgetry nor the faster pace are enough to make this a must watch film.
Like the blur of the subway train as it hurtles through the Manhattan tunnel, this is a movie that blurs through our consciousness. Not leaving much of an impact when the lights come up.
The principal reason the hostage affair never gets under your skin is because there’s little drama to the whole affair.
The story here doesn’t deviate much from the 1974 version.
Besides the take-over of Pelham 1 2 3 train, there are of course the same pileups of cars and motorbikes on the road as the cops race to deliver the ransom of $10 million (inflation has raised the ransom figure from $1 million in the 1974 movie) and there’s the NYC Mayor again, only this time it’s the hideously miscast sleepwalking James Gandolfini.
Whatever’s been changed in the new movie like the introduction of the hostage negotiator or the focus on Walter Garber’s past life add little value.
Before you can say Manhattan, the camera whirs over to Garber’s house for a brief moments with the missus reminding our dispatcher to bring home a gallon of milk in the evening.
Hello, we have a criminal gang killing people below ground to be busy playing Got Milk.
Man, whoever wrote this half-baked screenplay was most certainly not drunk on milk.
Too many loose ends.
There are one or two other differences but we won’t tell you what they are. Don’t fret now because you ain’t missing much and this movie itself doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.
By the way, there were a lot of blacks in the movie hall for the opening show and we presume the applause we heard at the end of the movie was meant for Denzel ‘Garber’ Washington.
No, this movie did not deserve any applause. Only a sigh of relief that we were spared the tedium of the older version.