THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 Movie Review
Yesterday, I saw THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta. The movie revolves around a subway train taken hostage. John Travolta plays the hostage taker and Denzel Washington plays the subway supervisor who is negotiating with him.
Let me get a few items out of the way so we can focus this movie review on the point of the movie which was in essence to highlight the acting chops of two movie icons.
The story of THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 is predictable. And when I say predictable, I mean predictable. However you think hostage movies typically go is how this movie went. It seems that the script took every single hostage movie cliches from the heroic train passenger to the worried wife of the unlikely hero and blended them all together into a very bland soup that is honestly not worth mentionning any further.
The directing is classic Tony Scott with the quick and edgy camera shots. I am a big fan of Tony Scott but I am actually getting tired of the style. Or maybe not so much tired as I am blaze about it. It is also possible that since the story was so weak, the camera effects did nothing but emphasize it even more.
Now let’s talk about the main event: Denzel vs Travolta. I know that I came in thinking that we would see some sort of a draw because I really like both of these actors. However, I have to give it to Denzel in this movie.
He really made us care about his character and his line delivery was impeccable. Aside from the ridiculous actions the script makes him do (the end of the movie for one thing), Denzel Washington manages to brilliantly shine as a unlikely hero who goes out of his way to make things work.
John Travolta tried to do the same with his character but he couldn’t hack it. As a bad guy, he only had one job: intimidate us while making us care for him in some way. Think about it, all great bad guys are always characters that are in the grey with mixed emotions and a lot of baggage. Travolta’s character just came across as a bitter douche. So major fail here.
Overall, THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 was alright. Not great enough for me to give a solid recommendation but not bad enough for me to give it a failing grade.