Movie #37: The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

One of the reasons I didn’t rush to see The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 is because the trailer made it seem like it was just going to be one long, tense conversation between a NYC subway dispatcher (played by Denzel Washington) and a psychotic hostage-taker (played by John Travolta). To me, a script like that has got to have great dialogue and excellent actors. While Washington and Travolta are good (though the latter tends to go over the top very easily), the snippets in the trailer did not give me confidence that this was going to be a sophisticated piece of drama. It was unfortunate that they not only lived up to that expectation, there were many pointless scenes of the police rushing the ransom money to the location through New York traffic that only watered the movie down even further. I’m sure those were not cheap to film, either. The location permits, vehicle costs, and stunts (there was a lot of crashing) must have added to the budget, and yet those minutes were totally wasted as far as I’m concerned. There was very little plot to this movie to begin with. I guess we’re meant to get to know the characters and feel a connection with Washington’s character as the flawed hero. I didn’t really buy it. [spoiler alert, kind of] One thing that bothered me about this movie, and many others like it, is that I don’t understand why when there’s a stand-off and the bad guy is playing mind games by forcing the good guy to kill him, why doesn’t the good guy just shoot him in the arm or leg to incapacitate him? That always takes me out of the movie because I find it so stupid. Anyway… (3 out of 5)

37 down, 13 to go!

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