Pin It

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 

How did the New York subway system not kill Denzel Washington during the filming of this movie?

click to enlarge art14341.jpg

“Who model?” The answer to this unlikely question begins the rapid denouement of director Tony Scott’s re-purposing of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.

Up until this point in the film — and Scott swears in the commentary track it is not a remake of the 1974 original — the tension has wound steadily tighter as a subway train is hijacked, a ransom demand is made and hostages begin to die.

This caper story has been told as a novel, the 1974 movie of the same name and a 1998 TV movie.

Scott’s 2009 version hits all the high points of action and intrigue with a strong cast. John Travolta is Ryder, the manic, tattooed boss of the hijack crew — ruthless and unpredictable. Denzel Washington is cast as an almost nerdy civil servant, the dispatcher Walter Garber, stuck as the main negotiator in cat-andmouse ransom talks with Ryder. The movie gets dramatic thrust from a one-hour deadline to deliver $10 million to the hijacked subway car before hostages get shot a minute apart.

In the original film, Walter Matthau played Zachary Garber, a transit system cop. Washington’s character is more of an everyman, and the renaming to Walter Garber is said to be props to Matthau.

James Gandolfini as the New York mayor, played largely for laughs, asks the crucial question about the ass model that is key to finding Ryder’s true identity and unraveling the hijack plot.

The DVD is fully loaded with extras. There is a 30-minute “making of” feature, a 15-minute feature about the actual New York subway system and how it ran 300 movie people through safety training so they wouldn’t kill Denzel Washington in the tunnels.

Scott, a diligent researcher, describes his quest for accurate hairstyles for his characters as — hilariously — he is getting his hair done. The feature takes four minutes because that’s about how much hair Scott has left. (Rated R) n


  • Pin It

Latest in Film


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Super Sonic Soul Pimps

Super Sonic Soul Pimps @ Red Room Lounge

Wed., Oct. 26, 9 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks


More by Kevin Taylor

Most Commented On

  • The Kids Aren't Alright

    Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children can't quite strike the balance between whimsy and darkness
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

indigo girls

spokane symphony

Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • Road Goes On Forever
  • Road Goes On Forever

    Widespread Panic's never-ending tour stops in Spokane for the first time since 1999
    • Mar 11, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation