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Movie Review: The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

Alternate Title: Take the A Train

Story: Can a movie be both terrifying and amazingly entertaining at the same time? You bet it can and director Tony Scott has proven it. In a remake of the 1974 hit, this time written by Brian Helgeland (LA Confidential and Mystic River) and based on the novel by John Godey, it has all of the elements of a good summer thriller.

The #6 train (one of my most frequented subway lines), which starts out in Pelham at 1:23PM is hijacked by a group of very scary, dangerous thugs led by a guy known as Ryder. He wants $10,000,000 within the hour or he starts killing the 18 passengers. His counterpart working on the desk of the MTA is a mild mannered man named Walter, who has his own troubles. Walter and Ryder are adversaries made for the big screen.

In an almost dizzying pace, we see the film unfold in real time, which makes it even more scary. It is a film that has gripping story telling including several nerve wracking moments combined with a large portion of empathy for the passengers as hostages. As a frequent subway rider, I could only imagine their terror.

Yes, there are some huge plot holes and an ending that is a bit over the top but the film was a thrilling ride and well worth the money. If you like your summer thrills on the big screen you must check out this very satisfying film. By the way - I chose to walk home rather than take the subway.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWsVNSg5YH8
Here is the 1974 trailer :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNGagEjsdVM

Acting: Denzel Washington as Walter Garber was right on target. he was believable and riveting. John Travolta as Ryder returns to his regular seen acting psychopath behavior. I like Travolta as a psychopath.John Turturro as hostage negotiator Camonetti, delivers a fine underplayed performance. The always reliable Luis Guzmán as Phil Ramos was terrific. Michael Rispoli as MTA guy John Johnson and another Sopranos alumni James Gandolfini as the Mayor both deliver the goods.

Trivia: The original film was made in 1974. It was directed by Joseph Sargent, and starred Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Jerry Stiller, Tony Roberts, Hector Elizondo and Doris Roberts. Director Tony Scott has used dogs in many of his movies including Top Gun, True Romance, Crimson Tide, The Fan, Enemy of the State, Man on Fire, and Domino. This time he features one rat. He graduated from the Royal College Of Art In London, England and is Ridley Scott's brother. Denzal Washington often portrays real people: Rubin "Hurricane" Carter in The Hurricane, Malcolm X in Malcolm X, Herman Boone in Remember the Titans, Frank Lucas in American Gangster, Steve Biko in Cry Freedom and Melvin Tolson in The Great Debaters. Richard Gere practically owes his film career to John Travolta. Travolta turned down the leads for Days of Heaven, American Gigolo, An Officer and a Gentleman, and Chicago, all of which went to Gere. Travolta also turned down the roles: Splash, Apollo 13 and Forrest Gump.

Predilection: I like films that are located in NYC.

Critters: A rat

Food: No time to eat. But milk is spoken about.

Sex Spectrum: No tie for sex.

Soundtrack: Loud

Opening Titles: A clever opening title sequence at the end of which the crime has already been committed and we enter the film.

Visual Art: Nothing to want to copy about the NYC subway system but the City looks superb from the helicopters.

Theater Audience: Less people than were on the subway as hostages.

Weather: A lovely summer day.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: I squirmed for those hostages.

Drift Factor: No time for drifting.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: I would go for the big screen and then rent the original 1974 hit.

Length: Two hours.