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Blu-ray Review: THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 Starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Taking of Pelham 123 Starring: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, Luis Guzman, John Turturro, Victor Gojcaj and James Gondolfini

The Plot

Walter Garber (Washington) starts what’s due to be another dull and uneventful day in his office dispatching New York subway trains from the comfort of his desk, things go down hill about mid morning when criminal mastermind Ryder (Travolta) and his gang of thugs take over a subway train and bring it to a stop in the deepest darkest and hardest to reach area of the subway network. Ryder wants $10m off the state otherwise he will start to take further action, not wanting to speak with NYPD’s lead hostage negotiator dispatcher Garber is left to get to know Ryder and his intentions whilst a game of cat and mouse ensues.

The Verdict

I have to say right from the off I was impressed with The Taking of Pelham 123, not only does it come with a brilliant front and supporting cast but considering the story restricts itself to a subway and underground exchange control room it flows nicely and never lets up. On saying that, had it not been for actors like Washington and Travolta then it may well have been a very different story, I suppose you could compare Pelham to Phonebooth another movie primarily based in one location which relies heavily on the dialogue of two good actors.

It’s that dialogue between Washington and Travolta that holds this movie up where it is for me, don’t get me wrong Pelham is not the best movie I have ever seen but I did find it very enjoyable and easy to watch. This is Director Tony Scott’s fourth collaboration with Denzel Washington and the first which has seen the leading man Washington take more of a sit down less action stance, their previous efforts include the brilliant Man on Fire and Déjà vu along with Unstoppable which was reviewed here last year. Denzel pulls off the leading role in convincing style as you would expect and for me out of him and Travolta he is the better actor.

The movie kept it real off camera, I did think Travolta as Ryder was very convincing as the leader of a criminal gang who was willing to do anything in order to get his ransom demands. Ryder’s backing crew were also convincing and I’m saying that after most of the three didn’t speak and had nothing to do other than look menacing. They done that well because they are real convicted criminals, in particular Victor Gojcaj a former Albanian gang member who came to the set to advise, he impressed Tony Scott so much that he hired him for the movie (he was also in Unstoppable), a move that Producers were not to happy about to start with.

I would have to say that Pelham had it’s down sides, one being the excessive use of the word Motherf**ker from John Travolta, I’m not one who’s offended by it and don’t mind hearing it but in my opinion it was used excessively in this movie and it could have done without it. The ending was somewhat predictable too, again I haven’t seen the original so don’t know what happened there but this was very disappointing considering the amount of build up it had.

Blu-ray Special Features

Cine Chat: - Watch the movie whilst connected to a social network via BD-Live, this allows you to interact with others watching the movie, I don't imagine you would see that much of the movie.

Commentary With Tony Scott: - Watch the movie with commentary from Director Tony Scott. There is also an option to watch the movie with commentary from writer Brian Helgeland and producer Todd Blake.

NO TIME TO LOOSE, The Making of Pelham 123: - One of the better movie extras I have seen, a lot of research went into Pelham 123 as I'm sure is the case with all movies. Tony Scott sent the producer off to the MTA along with Denzel Washington, it was great to see how intense Washington was in studying the character he would be playing, the role of Walter Garber was originally a cop but Washington convinced them to cast him as a civilian for the effect.

The Third Rail, NEW YORK UNDERGROUND: - A look at how Pelham 123 was centred on the New York Underground scene. 

From The Top Down, Stylising Character with Danny Moomdjan and The Lab Salon: - A strange movie extra featuring a hair stylist who works on all of Tony Scott's movies, can't imagine it took so much effort to shave John Travolta's head and make him look like Bono.

Marketing Pelham: - A look at the various trailers that where made for Pelham 123.

Trailers: - What it says on the tin, trailers for other movies.

Would I watch it again?

I would definitely check this movie out again.

Rating: MMM
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