Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

3.6 9
Director: Tony Scott

Cast: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, James Gandolfini


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A New York City subway dispatcher draws on his extensive knowledge of the subway system in order to outsmart a dangerous criminal mastermind who's hijacked a subway train in this remake of the 1974 thriller inspired by John Godey's best-selling book. Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) is drifting through his daily routine when heSee more details below


A New York City subway dispatcher draws on his extensive knowledge of the subway system in order to outsmart a dangerous criminal mastermind who's hijacked a subway train in this remake of the 1974 thriller inspired by John Godey's best-selling book. Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) is drifting through his daily routine when he receives word that a heavily armed gang of four has hijacked a subway train and is holding all of the passengers hostage. Led by cunning master thief Ryder (John Travolta), the gunmen will begin executing everyone aboard should the authorities fail in delivering ten million dollars in the space of just one hour. With the tension in the tunnels rising, Walter races to save the hostages before the shootings start. But through it all, there's one part of Ryder's plan that Walter can't quite comprehend: even if the thieves do succeed in getting their money, how could they possibly get out of the tunnels undetected?

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
If you're still longing for Walter Matthau's jowly mug to pop through that apartment door by the end of the third feature-length adaptation of Joseph Sargent's adaptation of John Godey's 1974 best-seller The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, perhaps you've finally lost your sense of fun. Because, while director Tony Scott's brash and boisterous take on the material may lack that certain '70s quirkiness, it gets just about everything else exactly right. Sporting enough differences from that criminally under-seen classic to keep viewers rapt with tension from the opening scene, Scott's Pelham cleverly integrates technology into the story and keeps the action moving at a truly breathless pace. All the while, the movie keeps us completely engaged by focusing on the adversarial yet uniquely amiable relationship between the charismatic criminal mastermind who planned the clever crime and the defeated dispatcher who tries to reason with him. Surprisingly, in a summer full of action-packed blockbusters, this cracking remake may be the movie to beat for sheer popcorn-chomping thrills. New York City subway system dispatcher Walter Garber (Denzel Washington), recently demoted due to charges of bribery, is observing his control screen when he notices an anomaly -- the Pelham 123 has come to a standstill between stops, and the driver is unresponsive. The train has been hijacked by a trigger-happy gang of criminals -- or is that terrorists? -- led by Ryder (John Travolta), who's just as quick to crack a joke as he is to execute a hostage with a hasty bullet between the eyes. Ryder wants ten million dollars in one hour, and for every minute the city doesn't deliver, he'll kill another hostage. The visuals here are vintage Scott, and though the hyper-stylized opening shots of a neck-tattooed Travolta and company getting into place for the big event to the tune of Jay-Z's "99 Problems" (replete with shots of Luis Guzman looking like the long-lost fourth member of Run-D.M.C.) may lead us to suspect that Scott is bordering on self-parody, once the action gets under way about 30 seconds later, there's no mistaking that we're in the hands of a true master. But Scott and cinematographer Tobias A. Schliessler's deliciously garish visuals aren't the only factors that make The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 a compulsively satisfying bit of summer pulp; Brian Helgeland's screenplay is about as tight as it could get without being written in shorthand, and unexpectedly subdued performances by Washington and Travolta ensure that the not-so-subtle nuances of the characters they portray don't derail the film by shifting our focus away from the rising tensions underground. Of course, anyone who's seen Travolta chew scenery as a bad guy knows he has a penchant for going over the top and another mile up, but while he's certainly having a blast as the F-bomb-dropping, stock-ticker-obsessed Ryder, he still feels dialed back from the cartoonish criminal excess of Swordfish and Face/Off. His wild-eyed antics give the film some of its funniest, and most terrifying, moments. Likewise, Washington's restrained performance as the disgraced Garber allows us to forget we're watching an Oscar-winning Hollywood heavyweight and simply identify with the character -- a crucial factor in keeping us actively involved in the story. From the cast to the crew, everyone involved seems to be firing on all cylinders, though it's Helgeland whose contributions make this retread an unmitigated success. Considering what New York City has been through since Godey's original novel came out in the early '70s, the central concept of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 may be even more relevant now than it was 30 years ago. By taking some well-placed jabs at the media, and pondering the difference between terrorism and unrepentant crime-for-profit, Helgeland innovates within a familiar framework and turns it into something fresh, vital, and timely.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Denzel Washington Walter Garber
John Travolta Ryder
James Gandolfini Mayor
John Turturro Camonetti
Luis Guzman Phil Ramos
Michael Rispoli John Johnson
Ramon Rodríguez Delgado
John Benjamin Hickey Deputy Mayor LaSalle
Alexander Kaluzhsky George
Gbenga Akinnagbe Wallace
Katherine Sigismund Mom
Jason Butler Harner Mr. Thomas
Gary Basaraba Jerry Pollard (Motorman
Tonye Patano Regina (Conductor)
Aunjanue Ellis Therese (Garber's Wife)
Alice Kremelberg George's Girlfriend
Anthony Annarumma 'Q' Train Motorman
Victor Cruz Maintainer Three
Jake Siciliano 8-Year-Old Boy
Robert Vataj Emri
Victor Gojcaj Bashkin
Saidah Arrika Ekulona Dispatcher One
Todd Susman Supervisor
J. Bernard Calloway Officer Moran/NYPD Liaison
Lee Shepherd Dr. Weiss

Technical Credits
Tony Scott Director,Producer
Todd Black Producer
Jason Blumenthal Producer
Michael Costigan Executive Producer
Harry Gregson-Williams Score Composer
Brian Helgeland Screenwriter
Renee Ehrlich Kalfus Costumes/Costume Designer
Ryan Kavanaugh Executive Producer
Chris Lebenzon Editor
Tobias Schliessler Cinematographer
Chris Seagers Production Designer
Steve Tisch Producer
Barry H. Waldman Executive Producer

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Scene Index

No Time To Lose: The Making of Pelham 123; ; The Third Rail: New York Underground; From The Top Down: Stylizing Character; Commentary With Director Tony Scott; Commentary With Writer Brian Helgeland and Producer Todd Black; Marketing Pelham


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