Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 Review – Better Than the 1974 Version But Still Not Worth It

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.

Got Milk
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.

7 Responses to "Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 Review – Better Than the 1974 Version But Still Not Worth It"

  1. naseer   June 12, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    two actors almost retired giving their last attempts.

    i counting on Michael Bay’s Transformers.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Saw the previews (trailer) of Transformers for the n+1th time today. Sigh.

  2. naseer   June 12, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    give a try on ‘Superbad’. its wonderful.

  3. StrYngLad74   June 12, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    Poor reviews everywhere…the Summer of Debacles keeps rolling.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Yes, indeed. Sigh.

    Would love to see the documentary Food Inc but it’s still in limited release. Will try to catch it next week.

    We’d also like to see Goodbye Solo, directed by Ramin Bahrani. Again, not in wide release. We liked his Chop Shop.

  4. ShikhariShambhu   June 12, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    i didn’t get what all the hype about the first Transformers was about..

    most movies, if not all, this yr have pretty much sucked.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Getting tired of seeing those symbols on ancient monuments.

    If you’ve seen the Transformers previews, same thing there too apart from that hideous mass of metal.

  5. guruprasad.s   June 13, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Forget Pelham 1 2 3 of 2009, or of 1974.
    Go back to 1944 and watch Double Indemnity if you haven’t.
    A fine movie by director Billy Wilder.
    It has suspense, not in the sense of a whodunnit, but how the whole thing is done.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Will do – on Wednesday or Thursday.

    We’ve seen Billy Wilder’s Sunset Blvd, the movie on the comeback attempt of an aging diva. Liked it.

    Just realized that we’ve seen Billy Wilder’s Sabrina as well featuring two of our favorites – Bogie a.k.a. Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn.

    Plan to watch Piano Teacher today (based on SI reader a4apple’s recommendation).

  6. unknownvirus   June 14, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Have been following your reviews for a year now.

    Really impressive.. Try if you can lay your hands on the last year Palm d’or winner “Entre les murs” (The class). I found it transporting me back to my school days. You would enjoy it.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    We saw the previews (trailer) of Entre les murs at Ritz Cinemas in Philadelphia when we went to watch Gomorrah.

    We told ourselves that we must watch Entre les murs (known as The Class in English). Unfortunately, with so many, many priorities and so little, little time we couldn’t make it.

    Now, Entre les murs is not running anywhere and we’ll have to wait for Netflix.

    Rest assured, Entre les murs is definitely on our list.

    Is the DVD out?

  7. unknownvirus   June 14, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Yes.The DVD is out

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Surprisingly, Netflix still doesn’t have it.

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