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*** Official THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3 Discussion Thread


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#1 of 22 Robert Crawford

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Posted June 13 2009 - 06:15 AM

This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3". Please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.

All HTF member film reviews of "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" should be posted to the Official Review Thread.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


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#2 of 22 Robert Crawford

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Posted June 13 2009 - 06:32 AM

While I'm sure this will be considered blasphemy by fans of the original, I think the ending of this movie (while not free of problems) is much better than the original's ending.

Travis,
What is your problem with the original's ending?






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#3 of 22 TravisR

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Posted June 13 2009 - 08:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Crawford
While I'm sure this will be considered blasphemy by fans of the original, I think the ending of this movie (while not free of problems) is much better than the original's ending.
Travis,
What is your problem with the original's ending?
I always thought it was too joke-y for the rest of the movie. It seems like there should be a kettle drum or trumpet 'wah wahh wahhhhhh' sound effect when they freeze frame on Matthau. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that ending tanks the original and it's definitely alot more realistic than the remake's ending, I just like the remake's ending more.

#4 of 22 Robert Crawford

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Posted June 13 2009 - 11:32 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisR
I always thought it was too joke-y for the rest of the movie. It seems like there should be a kettle drum or trumpet 'wah wahh wahhhhhh' sound effect when they freeze frame on Matthau. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that ending tanks the original and it's definitely alot more realistic than the remake's ending, I just like the remake's ending more.
Actually that's my favorite part of the original's ending and based on my past discussions about that film, I'm not alone in that regard.





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#5 of 22 TravisR

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Posted June 13 2009 - 02:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Crawford
Actually that's my favorite part of the original's ending and based on my past discussions about that film, I'm not alone in that regard.
Oddly enough, I just watched it with a buddy this week and he loves the ending and told me how crazy I was for not liking it. I guess I am the minority. Posted Image

#6 of 22 Patrick Sun

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Posted June 13 2009 - 06:12 PM

Not sure if it's airing in other parts of the country, but my local UPN affiliate is airing the original "The Taking of Pelham 123" on Sunday night 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. (6/14/09).
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#7 of 22 Mike LoMonaco

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Posted June 15 2009 - 03:49 PM

Incase anyone is interested, here's a review I wrote on the remake after seeing it last night:

This was worth the wait -- most of the time remakes can't live up to an original's charm, much less its tactile impact in terms of originality. But in updating the almost-forgotten Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Tony Scott has indeed created one of the most exciting films of summer 2009. It has some shortcomings, which I'll get into below, but for the most part, this was every bit as exciting and shot in the same kinetic style as Man on Fire.

Crimson Tide...Gladiator...Man on Fire...Black Hawk Down... is there any genre one of the Scott brothers can't handle? The gamble Tony Scott took in re-imagining Pelham for a modern audience was a steep one; how many people outside of the metro New York area could relate to a little ole subway train being taken hostage by psychos who want millions in cash? Perhaps a better question should be, could anyone imagine James Gandolfini playing the mayor of New York? Well, I suppose Tony Soprano could handle that job...at any rate, when I saw the posters for this film in theaters, I couldn't believe they chose to greenlight this as a remake -- of all the old films to fall into the annals of our psyche, a Scott brother chooses to remake The Taking of Pelham One Two Three? But I knew I wanted to see it -- because the original was just such an underrated little crime caper with standout performances from both Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw.

The original Pelham had Matthau playing a New York City Transit dispatch boss in charge of making sure all the subways are running correctly -- but the job was not as clear-cut as it is in the remake. In the original film, Robert Shaw (Jaws, Black Sunday) leads a group of three men who are disguised and given aliases such as "Mr. Green" and "Mr. Blue" as they take over a subway train for ransom money. In Scott's re-imagining, Denzel Washington collaborates once again with Tony as Walter Garber, the transit dispatch character who gets into a battle of wits with John Travolta, the over-the-top psycho hostage-taker playing Shaw's role. In the shadow of his son's death, Travolta plays such an out-of-control criminal here, it reminds one of his nutty roles in Broken Arrow and Face/Off. Supporting performances from Luis Guzman as one of Travolta's men as well as John Turturro as a NYPD hostage negotiator and James Gandolfini as the mayor are all excellent for the most part, with Guzman's character not given enough to do (or Guzman didn't get a chance to really eat up his scenery, as he did so well in things like Carlito's Way) and Turturro's character coming off as a pushover.

The film is shot in that same unsteady-camera-motions and hectic, wild editing style that Scott filmed Man on Fire in, which is to say, some scenes can make you nauseated. The opening hip hop score is mixed with blaring stinger tracks that exaggerate the tension of the plot; the opening sequence pretty much stays with the original, in that we see the men in Travolta's team getting on the Pelham 1,2,3 line (a train route in the Bronx, New York) at different stops, preparing their "disguises" and weapons, and then the taking over of the train. Scott has upped the violence and language here to unreal levels; Travola's use of the "F" word comes almost every 30 seconds or so. Once in command of the train, Travolta makes a demand -- in clever ways -- of 10 million dollars, and additionally demands Washington's character get on the phone with the mayor to get the ball rolling on this. The consequence? A passenger will be killed if there is a delay in getting the money to them at the time they want. Where Robert Shaw played his character cool and collected, Travolta's take on it is like a livewire, crackling with electricity and rage. He threatens city officials, passengers and anyone who gets in his way, spewing profane rhetoric left and right. A disturbing element in his character was the underlying homosexual references he makes to being in jail and what he would do to Washington's ass if they were ever in the can together.

For some reason, Travolta's character will only deal with Washington -- but when Washington is sent home by his boss when the negotiators arrive due to bad blood between them because of an alleged bribe Washington's character took years ago, Travolta becomes unstable and threatens to kill a hostage unless Washington's character negotiates with him directly. The mayor is told of the situation and joins the home base at the transit headquarters, where Washington continues to communicate with this madman on the radio. Gandolfini plays the mayor just fine, and in an interesting part, Travolta demands he speak with the mayor directly -- he offers him a chance to trade himself for the hostages as Travolta toys with his emotions. It was a clever sequence.

As in many hostage situation films, a strange relationship develops between Travolta and Washington as they talk to each other and try to figure each one's next moves out; Travolta preys on people's fears and backgrounds, as a good villain does, and Washington finds himself as the hero for the first time in his career. In keeping with a more modern theme, there's a sub-plot here regarding Travolta's character and his involvement in Wall Street; the NYPD figure out that he has caused this panic in New York with the train takeover so the stock market would go haywire, and he would make a shit load of money in gold reserve. The idea is a bit sketchy and didn't make much sense to me, but in figuring this out, they also find out Travolta's real identity. He has been calling himself "Ryder" on the radio, but his real name is "Ford" and he was indeed into commodities trading of some kind. Guzman's character, in the meantime, is identified as an ex-transit worker who was hired to drive the getaway train for the heist.

Where I was disappointed was with the ending; the original's ending was so clever, I was hoping for something along those lines. In the first film, the last man to have the cash from the heist gets a visit from Matthau's character. Once in his apartment, Matthau recognizes the man from his sneeze -- giving him away. Here, Scott's approach to the ending of the remake wasn't nearly as satisfying or clever. The summit of the action comes in the form of a standoff between Travolta and Washington atop the Manhattan Bridge.

But I have to say, people: This was an excellent, taut, kinetic film, and one of the best of the summer so far. I really look forward to buying it on Blu-ray when it comes out.

Recommended!


#8 of 22 Mike LoMonaco

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Posted June 16 2009 - 11:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Crawford
The remake is a dual production between Columbia and MGM

Yes.

Quote:
By the way, I think the remake is a good film in it's own way.

As did I, 'Daddy, as evidenced in my review above. I enjoyed it, without taking nothing away from the spectacular original. Posted Image

#9 of 22 Micah Cohen

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Posted June 17 2009 - 01:40 AM

From Mike's review above, this remake sounds... like less of a remake and more of a sort-of-based-loosely-on kind of thing. The 1974 film follows the book quite closely, so if this new movie deviates from the original film and thus also from the original source material... why even sully the name of the great original film by calling this based-loosely-on kind of thing by the same title?

This is one of those things I'll never understand.

Why not call it something else? Why not make it just a wholly different animal? (And I admit an original-film bias: I have no interest in this new movie at all.) Just askin.

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#10 of 22 TravisR

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Posted June 17 2009 - 01:46 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micah Cohen
Why not call it something else? Why not make it just a wholly different animal?
I don't think it really deviates that much from the original. There's different elements but certainly not enough to call it something different.

As for sullying the name of the original, no remake can do that. If a movie is great, it's great and no remake can change that.

#11 of 22 Robert Crawford

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Posted June 17 2009 - 03:02 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisR
I don't think it really deviates that much from the original. There's different elements but certainly not enough to call it something different.

As for sullying the name of the original, no remake can do that. If a movie is great, it's great and no remake can change that.
Thank you.

Also, in some regard, I think the remake is even better than the original.




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#12 of 22 cineMANIAC

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Posted June 17 2009 - 03:21 AM

There are 2 reasons why I went to see this movie:
1) I was in the city early and its only 6 bucks if you go before noon
2) I wanted to see how many continuity gaffes they could come up with. I live in New York City - every movie I've seen that features our subway has had a problem with continuity. The worst: Trying to pass off a foreign subway as our own. In the "Pelham' remake: You can't get to Coney Island from the Lexington Avenue Line! And you certainly can't get there in 15 minutes. Overall, this movie felt a little pointless. It was ok, I guess. Thank God for the original.
 

 


#13 of 22 Robert Crawford

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Posted June 17 2009 - 03:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luisito34
There are 2 reasons why I went to see this movie:
1) I was in the city early and its only 6 bucks if you go before noon
2) I wanted to see how many continuity gaffes they could come up with. I live in New York City - every movie I've seen that features our subway has had a problem with continuity. The worst: Trying to pass off a foreign subway as our own. In the "Pelham' remake: You can't get to Coney Island from the Lexington Avenue Line! And you certainly can't get there in 15 minutes. Overall, this movie felt a little pointless. It was ok, I guess. Thank God for the original.
What was the great point about the original film in regard to how the city is today?

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#14 of 22 Joe Karlosi

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Posted June 17 2009 - 05:42 AM

Interesting to read opinions, since I'll never see the remake. I have heard some people say they enjoy it more than the original, both here and elsewhere (a NY paper actually gave it four stars, I think) . Although it's a rarity with newer remakes, I think it's unfortunate if a modern version wins favor over the original. It's one of the very reasons I wish they wouldn't remake good movies. I know a girl who said she wouldn't see the original because people who liked the remake told her the 1974 movie was "slow" by comparison. So I disagree with Travis, since sometimes a new remake can definitely render the older one "slight" or "passe", or whatever.

#15 of 22 TravisR

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Posted June 17 2009 - 07:32 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Karlosi
I know a girl who said she wouldn't see the original because people who liked the remake told them the 1974 movie was "slow" by comparison.
I certainly mean no offense to your friend but, if that's the reason that she isn't going to watch the original, was she ever really going to watch it?

#16 of 22 Joe Karlosi

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Posted June 17 2009 - 07:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisR
I certainly mean no offense to your friend but, if that's the reason that she isn't going to watch the original, was she ever really going to watch it?

Well, we've had Movie Night's recently and she's enjoyed even way older first-time movies like THE BODY SNATCHER (1945) and, THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE. So I think she would have. The reason I mentioned this story at all was because she was thinking of seeing the new remake of PELHAM and during one of our talks about possible films for Movie Night, I asked if she'd like to try the 1974 PELHAM first. It was based on those opinions she'd heard that she said she didn't think so.

#17 of 22 Robert Crawford

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Posted June 17 2009 - 10:59 AM

People never cease to amaze me even about something as simple as watching and appreciating any movie.





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#18 of 22 Joe Karlosi

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Posted June 17 2009 - 10:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Crawford
People never cease to amaze me even about something as simple as watching and appreciating any movie.

I'm not sure I understand why. If we're talking about average people who aren't necessarily movie buffs, I don't see why they should have an interest in seeing just "any" movie (or "every" movie). Even more, I don't see why they should be expected to appreciate just any (or every) movie. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure that a movie fan needs to watch and appreciate any movie.

#19 of 22 Iconoclast

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Posted June 17 2009 - 11:58 PM

The 1974 original version was excellent! Albeit, dated. I own the DVD. Great acting, Walter Matthew in a serious role & other greats. Clever plot, suspense, well thought out story.

I was looking FW to the 2009 remake.

I thought it was Bad. I do "rate" remakes more harshly then other movies.


If it was not a remake it would be a ** /just OK movie. But, to make a remake & remove any cleverness just to have car crashes & great FX of people being shot is a waste IMO. They introduced a sub-plot that was plain idiotic. The bribe taking. Yes, I know it gives motivation for the Hero to wish redemption but, even the fact that the villain would look it up & force the confession is completely unbelievable to me. I also strongly dislike the Tony Scott spastic camera during the opening. It's as if I'm prevented from getting into the story by someone shouting "HEY, I'm jerking the camera around!"
It ended up being a very forgettable hostage drama. Like a TV show episode. The ending where the hero goes after the main villain who he KNOWS has murdered multiple people earlier is not believable. The speed with which the many cops follow the hero's last minute shouts of where the villain is--LOL. Also, the glacial pace of the hordes of cops advancing when they clearly SEE the bad guy reach for the weapon & they let the hero shoot? Right.
The original had great character development & an insight into male dominated repartee in the workplace circa 1970s. The clever police work by the detective hero solved the crime along with heroic action by the undercover cop. Great tensions among the gang of thugs also. The way the mayor was played in the 1974 version was a laugh riot. The extra abuse Mr. Grey put the woman & black hostage through was realistic & frightening. I often find more subtle acting more convincing that scene chewing, over the top performances such as Travolta's in this movie. (I do like Travolta, just not so much in this)

I highly recommend renting the 1974 version & skipping this one.

#20 of 22 Robert Crawford

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Posted June 18 2009 - 03:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Karlosi
I'm not sure I understand why. If we're talking about average people who aren't necessarily movie buffs, I don't see why they should have an interest in seeing just "any" movie (or "every" movie). Even more, I don't see why they should be expected to appreciate just any (or every) movie. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure that a movie fan needs to watch and appreciate any movie.
You're right, you don't understand and I'll leave it that.





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