Movie Review: The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)

Synopsis: After being accused of accepting a bribe when researching and recommending trains for the New York City subway, Walter Garber is reassigned to the dispatch center pending the outcome of the investigation. When one of the train cars is taken hostage by a group of men demanding a $10,000 ransom and refusing to talk to the police, it is up to him to keep the group's leader from killing passengers.

Who's in it? The movie stars Denzel Washington, John Travolta, John Turturro, James Gandolfini and Victor Gojcaj.

Review: My wife had the TV remote while I grabbed a shower last night and, when I came into the living room, I saw she had picked out this film, which was airing on one of our movie channels.

This is a movie she has wanted to see for a few years now but we never got around to watching it. So, after making some popcorn, we ended up doing just that. And, overall, it ended up being an OK movie.

To be honest, part of the reason why it took us so long to watch this movie is, based on the description, I was concerned it would end up being very dull. It was one of those films, at least at first glance, that looked like it would have a lot of talking and very little action.

As it turns out, I wasn't wrong about this. The action scenes in this movie were somewhat limited. However, the movie still ended up being entertaining largely because of the actors that were cast in the lead roles.

I've said this before, but John Travolta makes an awesome villain pretty much anytime he is cast in that type of  role. His personality makes his bad guy characters almost likable but also makes their psychopath tendencies believable. It also helps keep his characters (such as the one he played in this movie) unpredictable because it is hard to tell when his characters' threats are real or he's just bluffing.

In fact, without him as the main villain, Ryder, I'm not sure this movie would even be watchable. Denzel Washington does a more-than-adequate job as Garber. But, Travolta carries a lot of scenes that might otherwise be too dull to keep the viewer's interest and his casting is quite likely the only reason I enjoyed this movie as much as I did.

Final Opinion: One of these days, I'm going to have to take the time to watch the 1974 version of this film so I can compare the two. However, based on what I said about Travolta, I am relatively confident I'll come away thinking this is the better movie.

My Grade: B


  1. You're wrong! The 1974 version was much better. I hope you take the time to watch this original.


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