Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Taking Of Pelham 123: More Than A Train Heist

After you put your socks on and head out the door, do you really know how your day is going to go? Yes! Well, how about how it's going to end?

In "The Taking Of Pelham 123" Walter Garber's (Denzel Washington) day as a New York City subway dispatcher was going pretty regularly until he noticed train, Pelham 123, go off course. Then when an angry, clever man threatens to kill the train's passengers unless he receives 10 million dollars in an hour, Garber is certain his day--to put it mildly--is shot to hell.

The intelligent mastermind behind the hijacking calls himself Ryder (John Travolta). Mad at the world, and especially the city of New York, Ryder is definitely one criminal not to play with. First he demands that no one talk to him but Ryder, then proves his threat is real by killing the conductor. In response, city officials turn New York City upside down in their rush to meet the rest of his demands and save the lives of the passengers left.

A remake of the 70's television classic, this cinematic upgrade is not so much a film of flying bullets, car crashes, and runaway trains, as much as it is a story of give and take between two very different men: a family man and city employee and a smart, dangerous criminal who's more than he appears to be. Listen to what director, Tony Scott, has to say about Denzel's and John's unique roles in the film.

Another underlying story of the film is a redemptive one. But how far should a man go to regain his self respect and that of his peers? Follow-through is a great quality to have but is it really worth sacrificing your life? "The Taking Of Pelham 123" rides this story element out to a climactic end.

Though the film revolves around the interaction between Garber and Ryder, is not without some great high actions scenes that literally made us jump in our seats during our screening. Having never seen the original, I have to say this 2009 version has enough action, suspense, and speed to satisfy the masses. Also too are great performances from some surprising familiar faces including: Gbenga Akinnagbe ("The Wire"), Tonye Patano ("Weeds"), and Aunjanue Ellis ("The Express")

"The Taking of Pelham 123" hits theaters THIS FRIDAY. Check the film's website for more info.

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