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Taking of Pelham 123, The


Stars: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, John Turturro, Victor Gojcaj, James Gandolfini, Ramon Rodriguez, Michael Rispolo, Aunjanue Ellis, Jason Butler Harner

Director: Tony Scott

A very poor remake of a classic thriller, with little tension or excitement in the telling, despite raspingly good performances from Travolta (as the villain) and an almost unrecognisable Washington.

Travolta heads a gang of faceless others (the only interesting one, played by Luiz Guzmán, is killed early on) who hijack the first carriage of a subway train and demand 10 million dollars. Washington is the demoted dispatcher back at subway HQ who comes to be the linkman between the authorities and the ever more impatient Travolta, whose itchy trigger finger dispatches the driver early on and threatens to blast others of his hostages to kingdom come if his demands are not met to the letter and the minute.

Alas, the film proves all sound and fury, signifying very little. Director Scott does maintain a fast pace, yet fails to give his film the forward momentum it needs, with his characters allowed too many long speeches.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia). Colour by deluxe.
106 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 25 Jul 2009