Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Taking of Pelham 123

Open for only a couple of weeks, "The Taking of Pelham 123" is already leaving first-run theaters. That's too bad, as it's a decent flick. Not perfect by my impossibly high standards but a decent entertainment product.

The plot is easy to describe: a gang of bad guys hijacks a subway train and holds the passengers for a large ransom.

Denzel Washington is superb as the dispatcher who is forced to act as a go-between. John Travolta is a decade too old for his character and phoned in a few eccentricities, but what can you do? James Gandolfini played a character that didn't make me think of Tony Soprano, so that's good.

"The Taking of Pelham 123" has good drama, good suspense and a good story. I recommend it as a rental if you can't see it at the theaters while it's still out.

If I had to say something bad about it, and you know I do, it has to do with director Tony Scott's style. Lately he's been making movies with a super saturated color palette and a lot of steady-cam shots. The palette is hard to describe in print, but looks gritty and highlights warm colors. At one point, there was a bit of a chase scene that reminded me of "Deja Vu," no pun intended, also directed by Scott and starring Denzel, using the same saturated palette and steady-cam moves, and that pulled me away from the movie enough to remember that he used the same palette and steady-cam in "Man on Fire," also with Denzel. Its not the style I'd pick put I'm not the one making the movies.

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