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Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (**1/2)


Slick, perfectly-all right remake. Engaging thriller about a hostage situation on a NYC subway train is nearly derailed by some cringe-worthy subplots and totally gratuitous car crashes. The NYPD, en route to deliver the ransom money, inexplicably crash a motorcycle into stopped cars and have their money car smashed off a bridge. There was no reason to have the car crashes but the filmmakers probably felt all the radio talk between Denzel Washington and John Travolta wasn't thrilling enough. Didn't care one bit about the hostages, like the Man Who Couldn't Pee or the inane teen lovers' spat via laptop webcam. Denzel's boss started out hating him but that subplot got dropped. Travolta ranted and raved as the heavy but is about as menacing as Vinnie Barbarino. Denzel, my favorite movie star, didn't say "Muh man!" or kiss two fingers and then press them to the camera so that was disappointing. At least he remembered to bring home the gallon of milk so he wouldn't get an earful from the wife.