Tony Scott‘s latest film, the remake of Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 is not the fun ride that it should be. For those of you who remember the first film, Denzel Washington, reprises Walter Matthau’s old part at Walter Garber and John Travolta plays Robert Shaw’s original character “Blue,” now named “Ryder.” The problem with this film isn’t that it’s not bad, it’s just not that exciting. While watching it you realize it has the potential to be a fun action ride, but it never fully achieves what it sets out to do, which is to entertain you for 106 minutes.
Check out the review below…
The Plot: Four armed men, lead by a man who goes by the name of “Ryder” (John Travolta) hijack a New York City subway train and demand 1 million dollars – which must be delivered in 1 hour. For every minute they are late with the money, one hostage gets killed. The man who receives the threat is poor innocent subway worker, Walter Garber (Denzel Washington). Police must contend with City Hall red tape, the unrelenting demands of the hijackers, and the ever-ticking clock in an effort to save the passengers and bring the hijackers to justice before time runs out.
- Acting: The acting was surprisingly decent. Denzel Washington nails the regular guy in extraordinary circumstances and John Travolta seems right at home playing a crazy dude who wants money. Both of them had their entertaining moments and overall did a good job. It helped that they had a strong supporting cast that included John Turturro, James Gandolfini, and Luis Guzmán.
- Comedy: There were a number of witty lines that were worth a chuckle, if only for how ridiculous they were. The script seemed to know how to revel in the little moments, unfortunately it had no clue had to come together as a whole.
- Earning their R with Blood: They’re not afraid to kill anyone off and I respect that. Far too often action films rely on the suspense of killing someone. If you’re going to make someone a bad guy, let them be bad.
- No Point: There was no substance or greater meaning to the film. I realize that this isn’t Citizen Cane, but in order for me to feel involved there has some greater purpose to the film even if it’s ridiculous. The reason we all love Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, and those types of movies are because for however ridiculous they are, you care about the character. You join them on a crazy adventure ride for 90 minutes. In this film, you never felt like you were in on their world, you felt like a spectator, watching from the sidelines and it gets boring
- Lack of Character: John Travolta’s character “Ryder” was never fully fleshed out. We had the makings of a great villain, but again there was no real substance to him. We know he’s crazy, but that’s about all. Why is he crazy? Why does he push himself? Why is he willing to do this? Why should I give a shit about him living or dying? The film never answers it.
- The Fake Message: SPOILER ALERT (the next line contains a major spoiler, if you want to read it highlight the line, otherwise keep reading). When Washington’s character kills Travolta’s at the end, none of us get any satisfaction out of it because it means nothing. Travolta’s character never gives us any reason to care about him and Washington’s character is not changed by doing it, so why bother?
- The Action: The action sequences are dated. I admit, we have been spoiled lately with some of the recent special effects in Star Trek and Terminator Salvation (say what you will, the effects were amazing), but just felt old. The jerky camera movements felt forced and too away from the scenes more than adding to them.
- The Final Shot of the Film: You’ll know it when you see it.
Overall: This film was just pointless. It’s not that it was bad, I was relatively entertained while watching it, but it just left me feeling completely blasé about it. And it’s not the fun kind of action that you can escape in like Transformers, it’s all very late 90′s. Nothing in it felt fresh.