The Taking of Pelham 123: Don’t come for Denzel

Well, I have to say that I went to “The Taking of Pelham 123” with little expectations. I knew it was about trains and Denzel Washington wasn’t running around shooting people. My hopes said Money Train, but my reality expected Deja Vu.

Amazingly, and I didn’t realize this until Chachi’s comment after his preview of the movie last week, that Travolta was in this. His look definitly doesn’t stick out as the guy in ads. But in the long run, this is the hero of the movie. With the tattoos, he gives a performance that’s two parts Face/Off, and one part Pulp Fiction in the long run, which made him the most interesting character in this film.
The henchmen are hired, foreign guns. The coworkers at dispatch are window dressing, there to annoy. The mayor pops out of no where as an asshole, yet gets the answer in the end, partially redeeming himself. Denzel Washington comes across fairly underwhelming, but maybe that’s the point, in this case. He’s a guy that’s been knocked down, and put in an extroidinary situation, but doesn’t miraculously know how to dodge bullets, which he never really needs to do…
As I delve deeper into production, and hope to persue some of my own productions some day, I’ve taken to analyzing certain aspects of movies our of habit. This time around, I watched this film and realized how little they probably spent on sets. The major middle of this film take place in a subway car, and the dispatch office, and reach out towards the end. And some of the tricks, and annoyingly bad slow motion techniques, sometimes seem amateurish, at best, that you wonder if we’re going with stylization, or covering up the sequences that weren’t covered in shooting or budget.
But aside from that, it’s a good film, and something different. I expected it to be something that would make me nervous to ride the subway (much like my reservations of heading to New York for the first time a week after Cloverfield), but this film didn’t really threaten my safety the way other New York attack stories would. Especially surprising since I’ve become quite comfortable with the NYC subway system.
Overall, I’d put this film somewhere in my Netflix queue, but not straight at the top, and not likely as a theater outing. See it…sometime…
Side stories: First, I finally made it to a film where they took my cell phone for the camera. So it resided in a nice brown bag outside. They even had a metal detector. Funny, since my iphone, which still lacks video, was taken, yet my brother’s candy bar phone with video capabilities wasn’t noticed. The old fellow next to me was simply let in (wand guy held the door), while his wife’s purse was insisted on being searched. Profiling…
And for all fo the eff bombs in this movie, (remember the “meets Pulp Fiction” part) there were a lot of kids in the audience. Like 8 year olds. This was a slow movie. Great going, parents. It’s almost as bad as the Butterfly Effect experience I had at the dollar theater.

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