The Taking of Pelham 123 Review

It appears that Taking of Pelham 123 is an interesting story, probably, since this is the 2nd remake of the film. The first book adaptation was done back in 1974, a year after the book was out, and once again in a television movie in 1998. So it appears the story is somewhat interesting that has had different filmmaker’s bring it to life. This time Tony Scott has a cast of two of Hollywood’s great actors, Denzel Washington & John Travolta, perhaps this time they’ll get right? Let’s read below to find out.



The Taking of Pelham 123 begins with another seemingly regular day for Walter Garber (Denzel Washington), what he doesn’t know is that a man known as “Ryder” (John Travolta) is about to turn his normal day upside down. “Ryder” hijacks a train in the Pelham station along several heavily armed men, Garber being the man behind the microphone finds himself communication directly with the hijackers who demand $10 million dollars ransom for the hostages. But there is a catch, for every minute over 60 minutes Ryder will kill one hostage. When Garber is removed and hostage negotiator Camonetti (John Turturro) replaces him over the microphone, Ryder proofs that he isn’t playing and demands Garber to be placed back. When Garber returns, the battle to save the hostages begins as the clock counts down.

There’s been a recent problem with today’s movies the originality and freshness appears to be non-existent. Movie studios spend countless amounts of cash in remaking films that at times do not need to be remade. However, sometimes classics receive a much needed face-lift and sometimes a touch of the present is what a film needs. I believe this is where The Taking of Pelham 123 falls, Tony Scott’s take on the story is not so bad; it’s gripping and at times engaging. The characters portrayed by Denzel and Travolta often than none appear to get along and fit nicely with the surrounding circumstance of the movie. The chemistry between these two is amazing that ultimately benefit the film. When the movie appears to be moving at a small pace something happens that will keep the viewer watching. Tony Scott prevails in this area.

The film is very dialogue heavy, much of the film is having both Denzel and Travolta talking to each other, but somehow Tony Scott manages to keep things interesting. Denzel doesn’t play his normal roles (i.e. Man on Fire, Déjà vu, etc.), he plays just a regular guy with a regular job and it fits nicely and delivers another strong performance. Travolta is not known have strong adversary, bad guy, enemy performances, just take a look at Battlefield Earth, but I suppose there’s always a first time to get it right. Travolta provides that sense of danger, darkness, and insanity all together which resulted in a great performance.

Although the film was good for the most part there are some minor issues that bugged me while watching the film. I suppose Tony Scott thought that adding some slow motion shots would add a different feel to the story, but it’s far from that. The scenes that Tony Scott decided to add the distorted look and slow motion feel were a bit distracting not to mention played no significant role in the film. Another problem I found was the generic feel and look of the hostages who never really looked like they were under a distressed situation. This was the same throughout the film.



Lately Sony has been providing great transfers across the board, every release for the past few weeks have been great, and The Taking of Pelham 123 doesn’t disappoint. The film arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p with an MPEG4-AVC codec framed at 2.39:1. There is some grain detected throughout the film, but it’s not distracting at all. The fine detail is present throughout; the facial hair, the facial textures, and stubble of hair and so on. I can keep listing things but its better if you just take a look. The color presentation is on one of the best I’ve seen, the film features a broad amount of colors which shine at every opportunity they have. From the green tint to the bright New York day the colors are always clean. This Blu-ray shines in every way possible.



You can’t have a great video transfer without a good audio complimenting it. Sony isn’t disappointing; The Taking of Pelham 123 arrives on Blu-ray with a very impressive DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track. The film is very dialogue heavy, most of the movie is spent with the main characters talking to each other, but that doesn’t mean that the audio track doesn’t have opportunities to shine. The dialogue is without a doubt perfect always clean, clear and crisp. The subway cars always have the listener feeling like they are in the station. The rears are used frequently with the subway cars, but also with several action scenes found in the movie. You might find The Taking of Pelham 123 to have not only a great quality video but also an equally impressive audio.



The Taking of Pelham 123 is packed with a decent amount of extras that will keep the viewers entertained for a while longer. So why don’t we see what’s included.

  • Audio Commentary: This is the first of the two audio commentaries found on the disc. The first audio commentary features Director Tony Scott and he talks about various subjects including how this take of The Taking of Pelham 123 is different from the original, the casting, challenges, etc.
  • Audio Commentary: The second audio commentary features Writer Brian Helgeland and Producer Todd Black this is a more generic audio commentary. This track deals with much of what the first audio commentary with Tony Scott.
  • No Time to Lose: The Making of Pelham 123 – This is a very interesting supplement. It covers the challenges of the shoot, pitching the film to Sony, Denzel researching how to fit into the role, and much more. It’s worth a watch.
  • The Third Rail: New York Underground – This is behind the scenes extra and it takes you through the New York public transit system and what is like to shoot in the intricate subway system. Very interesting indeed.
  • From the Top Down: Stylizing Character with Danny Mourndjian, the Lab Salon – This is just a quick featurette pointing out the importance of the hair cuts for the film.
  • Marketing Pelham – This features several different trailers of the film
  • CineChat – Chat with your friends while the film is playing.
  • Movie Trailers – Featuring Angels & Demons, District 9, Moon, Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day, Blood: The Last Vampire, Black Dynamite, The Da Vinci Code, Casino Royale, and Year One.
  • BD-Live
  • MovieIQ
  • Digital Copy



Overall the Taking of Pelham 123 is an entertaining film with the two starring actors playing roles that are far from what they normally take on. The film features equally impressive picture quality and audio quality that will please many. Also, this release is packed with a good amount of extras to keep the viewers entertained a while longer. This is highly recommended.