Too often, remakes of classic films are a wasted exercise.
Happily, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, a loose reworking of the 1974 cult classic, benefits from a fresh makeover.
Though the original movie, based on the novel by John Godey, had an undeniable sense of suspense and some strong performances, it feels dated. In this retelling, director Tony Scott uses quick panning shots to intensify the action scenes - particularly car chases and subway trains careening out of control. And Brian Helgeland's script gives the characters more depth and dimension.
Denzel Washington plays Walter Garber, a Transit Authority official who is demoted to dispatcher after being accused of taking bribes. He is on duty when a New York City subway train is hijacked....
Predictably ratcheted up a few notches from the original 1974 film and cloaked in contemporary sociological relevance, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 is an efficiently reworked version of a tense, ticking-clock suspense story. More than anything a fascinating portrait of how much New York has changed in 35 years, the film delivers the goods in excitement and big-star charisma, with the contrasting low-key and cranked-up acting styles of Denzel Washington and John Travolta playing off one another nicely. Comparatively low-tech thriller looks to hijack solid-to-strong returns for Sony before the tentpoles take over most of the nation's screens.
First adaptation of John Godey's novel is a minor classic in the early-'70s school of gritty Gotham crime yarns. ...
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