Monday, August 03, 2009
Darkmatters Review: The Taking of Pelham 123
The Taking of Pelham 123 (15)
Dir. Tony Scott- who previously brought you True Romance, Man On Fire etc
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (viewed in Luton with a bunch of pals)
ONE WORD SUMMATION: Motherfrekinhostigisation
Movie credits running over a classic Jay-Z track?
Zip zoom / flash cut cinematography using the highest possible techsatellite high definition images?
Denzel Washington looks good, being mean, moody and unfeasibly cool?
Oh yes, we’re deep in Tony ‘Top Gun’ Scott territory here and it’s all aboard the New York subway for a thrill ride remake of Joseph Sargent's classic 1974 hostage drama.
It’s certainly a bad day to take the train as a ticked off and heavily armed Mr Ryder (uber baddie John Travolta sporting this year’s best moustache) takes over the Pelham 123 with the help of a couple of ‘rent an Eastern European retard’ henchmen. Seems that he’s looking to make a swift tax free $10million – or he’ll start executing the passengers, I guess it’s one way to try and beat the credit crunch?
It falls to decent train co-ordinating Walter (Denzel ‘I always put in a good performance for Tony Scott’ Washington) to negotiate with Ryder over the radio… Walter has his own issues as he’s being investigated for possible bribe taking but deep down he’s a good guy, the only question is ‘can he pull through and save the day?’
As the one hour deadline for the cash ticks down, the tension, the number of needless but very exciting car chase scenes and general body count all keep ramping up. You certainly don’t need to be a genius to realise who is going to win this battle of wits but The Taking of Pelham 123 isn’t trying to do anything new, it just wants to entertain you and for the most part it succeeds.
Where the original was slow-burning cat and mouse game, the 2009 version is a hyperactive, foul mouthed and violent car crash. It shouldn’t really be as fun to watch as it is. Sure the clichés come thick and fast from Brian ‘LA Confidential’ Helgeland’s script – he must have been taking ‘dumb-down’ pills since then - but everyone in the packed screening I saw this at was having a very good time.
The two lead actors eat up the screen and make the film worth watching and they are backed up by quality support from Luis Guzmán as a traitorous subway worker and James Gandolfini as the mayor of NYC.
"Basically, if you’re looking for a slick, fun action thriller, the Pelham 123 is a ride worth taking…"
Darkmatters final rating of: öööööööö (8 – wham blam snazzy visual overload, don't think about it too much!)
Darkmatters quick reference guide:
Action 8 (bullet to the head)
Style 8 (smooth and high tech, that's how Scott rolls)
Babes 6 (cute girlfriend webcams herself)
Comedy 6 (Travolta chews up some great one liners)
Horror 6 (innocent people get dead)
Spiritual Enlightenment 5 (nice guys always win)