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Gavin Grades The Movies

The Taking of Pelham 123

Taking of Pelham 123 (Rated R) Gavin Grade: C+ I went and saw this at a free sneak preview and with about 5 minutes left to the movie about 20-50 people got up and left the theater.  They walked out of a FREE SHOW EARLY!  The movie is FAR from being bad enough to deserve that, but it's still not very good.  It was directed by Tony Scott, who I've never really been a fan of.  If you've seen any of his other movies, such as "Man on Fire," "Top Gun," "Deja Vu" or "True Romance;" you know that he's a big fan of making his films feel like a music video.  They have random edits, bright colors and camera effects that don't seem to make any sense (in this case he uses a lot of blurred lenses and freeze frame shots).  But I will give him one thing, he does action very well.  The problem is that this movie doesn't have any.  John Travolta is the charismatic bad guy and Denzel Washington is the reluctant good guy.  These two character types show up in almost all of Tony Scott's movies and he directs them well.  I can't give him too much credit on this though since this is a remake of a 1974 film which is based on a popular book by the same name.  The fact that the movie is a talkie disguised as an action flick doesn't bother me at all.  It's the fact that the story (which has been obviously updated a lot) doesn't let me know how to feel about the characters.  Hostages are dying, time is running out, the f-word is being screamed a lot, but there's still time to crack jokes.  The humor is all through this movie and it breaks up the tension, but it breaks up the tension too much and never gets a chance to build.  And in a movie that only has tension to keep you interested, you got nothing left but good acting from great actors.  Speaking of great actors, James Gandolfini plays the Mayor of New York City and steals the show in what would've been the most meaningless role for the film if John Turturro wasn't in it as a hostage negotiator who serves even less of a purpose.  However I do have to say that my favorite character was New York City itself.  It made me miss it a lot.  It's the living, breathing force in the film that helps define all the characters in it.  It sets the stage for the plot, the motive, the means, and the action...no matter how small the dosage is and how long you have to wait to get it.


06/11/2009 11:18AM
The Taking of Pelham 123
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