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Day Late and a Dollar Short Reviews: Taking of Pelham 123

March 5, 2010

Not one ham left unglazed on the eastern seaboard.

My first thought after viewing the remake of The Taking of Pelham 123 was: Tony and Denzel really need to start seeing other people. Seriously, the thrill is gone with these two. This is the THIRD collaborative fail (Man on Fire and Deja Vu) of the duo that brought you the truly awesome Crimson Tide. To be clear these three films aren’t the worst ever, but a let down given the promise their first collaboration – the aforementioned CT – suggested.

I don’t know if T just accidentally hit “send” on his cell and couldn’t play it off, thus had no choice but to offer D a role completely unsuited to his strengths and talents or if Sam Jackson was busy on someone’s set shrieking motherfucker at an assembled group of character actors delighted by the honor.

Actually Sam Jackson would have been ideal in either role. He has done restrained everymen in films like Die Hard 3 and A Time to Kill and we know he can do non-grating bonkycamp (Jackie Brown, Snakes on a Plane). But if T was committed to Travolta, well Jackson has demonstrated chemistry and could have easily provided much needed respite for the audience.

Denzel got steamrolled. It was unbearable.

Look, playa, you can’t chunk Denzel out, put him in some ill fitting khakis and call him an “everyman”. Y’all spent far too much time reminding us of how damn foxy he is. And I don’t care how many beards of menace you give Travolta, he’s not Rickman, Hauer or Walken.

If you want to do Die Hard on a Subway get me Rickman or Eric Roberts or even Deniro. He’s got like eleventy billion kids in college, he’ll do it.

But there was a bright spot.

Old school Tony Scott Player – James Gandolfini.

I would watch this movie again just to see the Gand phoning in his best The Last Castle and pre-Sopranos bag of tricks. Like Stallone, filmmakers believe the simple addition of eyewear will confuse the audience thus making us forget the iconic characters they are better known for. And as the smarmy mayor of New York – wait, didn’t he play that character in The Siege or was he a ruthless general, no that was Willis – he was welcome distraction from the plot, which by this point had run off the tracks just like the subway car, Pelham 123.

Having never seen the original, I am not sure if I’m being unduly harsh. But after being burned by BOTH versions of Assault on Precinct 13, I’m not about to do the legwork.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2010 7:56 pm

    I love Crimson Tide because there’s no better tension than Denzel and Hackman restrainedly yelling at one another in two square inches of space, buried in the ocean in a tin can armed with a nuclear device. Very good submarine movie! And I just watched Glory for the first time and was surprised at a relative lack of race fail (esp. considering today’s diet of White Savior) – but also, impressed with Denzel, yet again, who ate up the film in its entirety.

    Look, playa, you can’t chunk Denzel out, put him in some ill fitting khakis and call him an “everyman”. Y’all spent far too much time reminding us of how damn foxy he is.

    Ha! The first time I ever saw Mr. Washington was a really weird trailer for a very meh film, Ricochet (’91), where for reasons unknown Denzel is in a standoff, holding a gun on someone and he begins to strip down to his boxers? Oh wait, it’s not “for reasons unknown”, they were trying to remind us how damn foxy he is. Mission accomplished, I guess (in this turd-fest a cop as played by Denzel was pitted against Lithgow, another scene-chewing badguy for the annals).

    after being burned by BOTH versions of Assault on Precinct 13, I’m not about to do the legwork.

    That sounds wise.

  2. hsofia permalink
    March 8, 2010 3:00 pm

    I knew this movie was going to bad when, during the first three minutes, there were 1200 cut aways.

  3. March 8, 2010 3:07 pm

    @hsofia – SERIOUSLY. The cutaways were excessive – even for Tony Scott.

  4. March 9, 2010 8:06 am

    Ugh…I steered clear of this thing as I loved the original.
    (please see our Best Subway Movies of all Time
    http://www.thesharkguys.com/2009/06/04/best-subway-movies-of-all-time/)

    Even the weird bits like the Tokyo Transit Authority guys getting a tour of the transit hub or a young Jerry Stiller as an Italian cop.

    Travolta is going the Seagal route—being covered in large cloaks as an ill-advised attempt to conceal how slovenly he is..

  5. March 10, 2010 12:45 pm

    Angelina the original is AWESOME. I would put it up there in my top 20. LOVE IT! I didn’t see this remake because it looked awful. I did rewatch the first one and… OH yeah. Still great!

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