Taking of Pelham 123 is one seriously underrated action thriller. Sure the body count may be low, but the performances from Denzel Washington and John Travolta are really worth your time. Whether underground in a subway tunnel or upstairs in the MTA offices, both legendary actors use their voices and body language to sell you the drama.
Travolta is the perfect bad guy. He’s smart and ruthless. Washington, on the other hand, is calm, relaxed, and professional throughout the ordeal. They had great chemistry even though they share little screen time together. Their performances are so good that you get sucked into the story just from their intense conversations.
Of course, I love this movie because it was set in New York, and for those who have visited the city, you would be very familiar with the landmarks the story focuses on. I like it for more reasons than that, though. It really showcases the highs and lows of the city itself. There are thugs and criminals around every corner, but that also means that there are good people to keep everything in balance. Although he has a smaller part, James Gandolfini was the ideal mayor for this situation. He’ll probably always be associated with the Big Apple, which made this casting decision an easy one. He plays an “everyday” mayor who rides the train and going through a public divorce, yet won’t take crap from anyone.
If you pick up all the pieces they are putting down, you’ll probably figure out that the whole subway incident is just a diversion. If you haven’t watched the movie yet, I’ll spare you the details. I appreciated the twist at the end because I was conned, just like the rest of the people in this high stakes situation.
No matter which way you slice it, this remake of the 1974 movie of the same name is excellent entertainment. 8/10