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The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 [Blu-ray] (2009)

Denzel Washington , John Travolta , Tony Scott  |  R |  Blu-ray
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, Luis Guzmán, Victor Gojcaj, Robert Vataj
  • Directors: Tony Scott
  • Writers: Brian Helgeland, John Godey
  • Producers: Anson Downes, Barry H. Waldman, Don Ferrarone, Jason Blumenthal, John Wildermuth
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French, Spanish, Catalan
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 3, 2009
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002LMV7Q6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,775 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

Commentary with Director Tony Scott
Commentary with Writer Brian Helgeland and Producer Todd Black
No Time to Lose: The Making of Pelham 123
The Third Rail: New York Underground
Marketing Pelham
From the Top Down: Stylizing Character
cineChat

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

John Godey's 1973 novel The Taking of Pelham One Two Three boasts a suspense situation so surefire that even the directorial bad habits of Tony Scott can't ruin this latest movie version. Four armed men seize a New York City subway train, isolate one car, and threaten to start killing passengers if a ransom isn't paid within the hour. The ransom was a million dollars in the book and also in Joseph Sargent's solid 1974 movie, in which Robert Shaw played the mercenary leading the hostage takers and Walter Matthau was the growling transit cop trying to outsmart him. In 2009, the title has gone digital--The Taking of Pelham 123--and inflation has jumped the asking price to $10 million. Where Shaw's menace was steely, John Travolta opts for manic, and shamelessly has a blast in the master villain role. His adversary, cagily underplayed by Denzel Washington, has been upgraded in civil-service rank but also demoted on suspicion of taking a bribe. This colors the dynamics of the dialogue between Washington at his control-center console and Travolta on the motorman's microphone aboard the stalled train.

So far, so reasonably good. But the director's trademark tactics keep getting between, well, everything. From the get-go, the visuals are subjected to pointless and irritating stutter effects, speeding-up/slowing-down, gratuitous camera movement, and the interposition of dirt- or light-smeared panes of glass between the camera and people we'd appreciate a clear look at. The 1974 movie settled for one police car being wrecked as the ransom is rushed uptown; Scott requires multiple collisions, each the occasion for police cruisers taking Lethal Weapon-style flight. The hostages in the earlier film were wittily individuated, a multicultural group portrait of the city at that mid-'70s moment; the ones on Scott's train--and also Travolta's fellow perpetrators, including that wonderful character actor Luis Guzmán--barely register. On the upside, John Turturro and James Gandolfini shine as two guys who (like the actors themselves) are very good at their jobs—respectively playing a hostage negotiator and His Honor, the mayor. The screenplay by Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River) strives intelligently, if formulaically, to add new dimensions to the main characters and to offer its own gloss on the current economic meltdown. --Richard T. Jameson




Stills from The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (Click for larger image)











Product Description

Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) is a New York City subway dispatcher whose ordinary day is thrown into chaos by an audacious crime: the hijacking of a subway train. Ryder (John Travolta), the criminal mastermind behind the hijacking and leader of a highly-armed gang of four, threatens to execute the train's passengers unless a large ransom is paid within one hour. As the tension mounts beneath his feet, Garber employs his vast knowledge of the subway system in a battle to outwit Ryder and save the hostages. But there's one riddle Garber can't solve: even if the thieves get the money, how can they possibly escape?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Though Scott's uniquely frenetic editing has been toned down from his previous films, his unmistakable style still frequents the action and accentuates the tension-filled premise. Denzel Washington's quick-witted and moderately corrupt dispatcher plays off of John Travolta's Wall Street savvy sociopath with plenty of clever exchanges, and the dark humor and suspense that find its way into the bloodshed culminates in an engaging game of cat and mouse. Not quite as slick as the original, and perhaps a little too conspicuous in its efforts at exuding cool, this latest take on the subway heist story still accomplishes entertainment at break-neck speed.

When a New York City subway train is hijacked, Rail Control Center dispatcher Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) becomes an unwitting negotiator for the ruthless criminals aboard. Led by the uncontainable Ryder (John Travolta), the hijackers demand ten million dollars in exchange for the seventeen hostages and offer only one hour to deliver the ransom. As minutes quickly count down, Garber must utilize his cunning and resourcefulness to buy time and catch the mercenary off guard as the situation goes from bad to catastrophic.

The unusual, highly stylized, frenzied editing is assuredly a now permanent technique for Tony Scott films - it's a signature method that he ceaselessly experiments with, frequently going overboard, and only occasionally able to harness. In Pelham it looks familiar but doesn't detract from the story, even if some moments of suspense are dulled by the blurred colors of slow-motion and missing frames. The remaining stunt sequences are exciting and tense, but hardly necessary. The car chases are never about catching someone, but rather beating the clock.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If I can make it there... June 20, 2009
I'm a big fan of the original version of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. It was a snapshot in time of New York City in the seventies; a cynical, bloated, bureaucratic mess that was entirely unprepared for a terrorist attack. In fact, there were actually concerns that the movie would inspire real terrorists to take a subway train hostage. The original featured everything from undercover cops to hippies, a crisp military professional turned terrorist to the random accidents of people in stressful situations. It even invented the "color codenames" later used in Reservoir Dogs.

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 is catnip to movie directors in the same way that single stage sets are to theatrical directors - be it a subway or a stage with just two chairs, this is a film about two men facing off in a battle of wits. The majority of the movie takes place over an intercom between a terrorist and a dispatcher, with occasional cuts to the havoc their conversation causes throughout New York City. And if the terrorist represents the international Other that is a threat to our national security, the dispatcher represents the everyman of New York, our hardworking servicemen and women who lost their lives on September 11. With material like that, it's no wonder the film has been remade twice.

Director Tony Scott updates the film to modern day sensibilities. The villain, Ryder (John Travolta in full crazy mode), isn't a mercenary applying crisp military precision to the art of extortion; he's a (SPOILER ALERT) former Wall Street tycoon - slightly lower on the villain totem pole than industrialists who pollute the environment. The undercover cop moves into action immediately rather than later in the film, because of course New York's finest would respond quickly to a terrorist attack.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Remake very well done July 5, 2010
By Jeff
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I loved this movie. Of course it is a remake but they did an excellent job of updating the plot to fit our more modern times. The character development was great, Travolta does a great bad guy. It moves at nice pace. If you enjoy a movie with suspense you will want to watch this one.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great Blu - worth your time November 2, 2009
Format:Blu-ray
I enjoyed watching this suspense/action film from one of my favorite directors - but when it was all done I actually liked the Blu better as a whole than the movie itself. It seems as though lovers and haters here already know the story of a hijacked subway train in NY, but either way I think everyone should give this BD a chance.

The picture clarity was outstanding throughout and very little drag gets noticed even with all of the dark sequences in the tunnels. The DTS rocks consistently and I am glad they went this way for being a train film, but Tony Scott is a big DTS guy anyway so I expected not to be disappointed. The special features are what make this package and include:

* 30 minute making-of that covers all aspects of production sans the additional documentaries. Plenty of background regarding Tony's vision - filled with plenty of unbleeped expletives from cast and crew alike (always prefer things to be uncensored). Love the story about the Albanian cousins who ended up being in the film, one right out of prison to fill his needed authenticity.
* 15 minute "Third Rail". Awesome informative piece about the aspects of working underground in the MTA property. Really good material about what it took for this film to be made like no other before it (usage and cooperation with NYC and the MTA).
* 6 minute Stylizing. Interesting plug for the hair styling crew behind this film (Lab Salon).
* 7 minute marketing Pelham. Like a long music video/trailer - would loved to have seen one with Man on Fire.
* Descriptive audio track in English - I loved this. Had not heard one before and it actually had customers mesmerized with how accurate and fast this narrator was regarding everything happening on screen - recommend giving it a try.
*CineChat and MovieIQ - your BD player has to be tuned up for handling these guys. The MovieIQ is more fun if you are into the trivia thing and have time.

Overall - a fun film on a solid BD. Enjoy.
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