“The Taking of Pelham 123” has a bit of a strange title (copied from the 1974 film of the same name), but as a viewer it is an easy to follow action film which we are graced with the loveable and slightly ‘dad-like’ character of Barber, a New York metro tube operator, played by none other than Denzel Washington. John Travolta plays the movies’ bad guy with Tony Scott taking the directing reigns. The supporting cast includes John Turturro, James Gandolfini, Victor Gojcaj, Michael Rispoli and Luis Guzmán.
The story unfolds as one of the trains in Washington’s mandate is hijacked by Travolta and his gang. It’s unclear from the outset exactly what he’s after but as the film unfolds, we begin to learn a lot more about Travolta’s character. Although the good guy, we also learn that not all of Washington’s past is as rosey as he’d like either!
The aerial shots of New York are quite spectacular and having been to the the states and New York last summer it was nice to see the familiar locations on screen. It was good to see Washington play a slightly different role to his normal, although still the hero but in no way stereotypical. The plot is quite run of the mill (with he movie being based on the book by John Godey), and it is an enjoyable watch, with moments of suspense and thrill, with other scenes having with a real feel good factor. It was relatively realistic in that this could happen, and I the producers did a good job of developing both the lead characters and the supporting cast.
If you’re a Tony Scott fan, you can look forward to more of the same style of direction that we’ve become accustomed to with the quick paced, colourful light scenes as traffic passes to freezing the camera at certain deadlines to give the audience time to catch up. My favourite scene was that involving loads of motorbikes and a police car tearing through the busy New York streets trying to get their payload to it’s destination with some quite spectacular stunts en route.
Overall, I liked the film and would give it a solid 6/10. Not one of the their best, but still Washington and Travolta did not fail to deliver.
The Taking of Pelham 123 is available today on DVD and Blu Ray.