The Taking Of Pelham 123 missed the train on a couple of points, which could have made this a much more intriguing thriller.
Denzel Washington plays New York City Transit employee Walter Garber, the subway system traffic coordinator, responsible for making sure all the subways are running on time. The Pelham 123 is one of the subway lines taken hostage by Ryder (John Travolta) who is demanding a ransom from the city in exchange for the passengers.
Washington plays his typically cool average guy character who is thrust into unusual circumstances and has to think on his feet. He was believable and didn’t overdo it. Travolta’s character is another story. His motivations as a bad guy are questionable. Why is he so willing to die if his goal is ransom money? How did he get the way he is? What’s up with that stupid fu-manchu mustache?
The other problem is the great escape. The bad guy’s hostage scenario goes down in a subway car, in a subway tunnel. Seems easy for police to surround it and take control. That’s where the protagonist can show his smarty-evil side and make the great escape. That’s not what happens in this film.
In all, the thriller wasn’t completely lost on me, because there is tension as the countdown to Ryder’s deadline approaches. This bad guy just wasn’t good enough for me.
My girlfriend Vanessa said it wasn’t perfect, but thought the thriller wasn’t bad. Then again, she’ll watch anything with Denzel in it, even if its him doing his taxes for three hours.
(Out of Four)
Adams Rating Guide:
Overall rating: No further explanation needed.
Date Freindly: Will the “dater? get a smooch from the “datee? for taking them to this one.
Good Laughs: A general rating for number of laughs.
Artistic Value: Includes scenery, camera work, presentation on film, ability to convey a message.
Drama: How much they poured it on and whether it was effective.