Heavily critiqued for his meticulous attention to stylized detail and constant over-burdening of ‘effect’ over substance, one of Britain’s great Directors Tony Scott has always chosen his work somewhat carefully, nevertheless Scott’s undeniable passion for the Hollywood Thriller is what continues drive his career forth and again we are treated to a slice of the conventional Hollywood-Action-Thriller pie with this latest remake of 1974 classic “The Taking of Pelham 123″.
It would be a lost-cause to suggest Scott’s auteur levels are ailing as straight off the bat we are immersed into a gritty modern day New York City befitted with jump cuts that underpin the restless visuals of which the remaining minutes of this movie will attempt to play out : A typical Tony Scott film you would defer to then?
For the third time in six films Scott deploys Denzel Washington as the protagonist chosen to portray Walter Garber, a transit dispatcher who overlooks the subway system and becomes the unfortunate negotiator on shift during the hi-jacking of Bronx-bound ‘Pelham 123′, instigated by a team of past criminals ruled by an eccentric and loopy John Travolta. Cue the heavy-weight battle between an accused and unfortunate Washington against ex-felon ex-stock broker Travolta as the accused becomes the accuser in a plot which underpins a reality effectively relevant in today’s economically strained society.
The plot opens doors to idea’s on corruption, illegitimate bribery and the heartless attempts to attain that hedonistic stability that every individual strives for. With ‘LA Confidential’ screenwriter Brian Helgeland at the helm the plot still cannot resist dipping its fingers into numerous jar’s whilst hastily detaching itself from them, leaving the viewer to think the plot may swerve onto another path before hastily maneuvering itself back onto the most obvious one. The intensity and eventual action cannot be faulted though as the Scott up’s the levels another notch as we gear towards the some what predictable climax, though in the context of things this is not necessarily a negative.
Accompanied by a stellar cast including a know-it-all hostage negotiator John Turturro and bumbling mayor James Gandolfini, The Taking of Pelham 123 becomes 2009’s surprise winner; an accomplished remake full of intensity, conviction and entertainment slickly crafted together by Scott’s masterful indulgence in what a budget of $50 million can make you. More than worth a viewing, even if its simply for the Travolta/Washington match-up which surges this train forward. A classy reformation of its Predecessor, 4/5.