The Taking of Pelham 123 Review

Director: Tony Scott

Writers: Brian Helgeland, John Godey

Starring: Denzel Washington, John Travolta

Year: 2009

…what? I don’t even remember watching this.

Which is odd because I’m looking at the disc which I have only just now taken out of the player; and the cover which lays open on the coffee table; and I know that I’ve had the TV on and it was playing something…

Good grief. If we can translate the principles of this film into psychiatric therapy for post traumatic stress disorder, we could change the world!

In all seriousness, Pelham 123 isn’t a bad movie. It’s worse – it’s a bland movie. It’s the film equivalent of those frozen cheeseburgers you can get at Coles. It’s there, you’re hungry, it kinda reminds you of McDonalds so what the hey. Then, when you’re done, you have only a faint hint of indigestion to tell you that you were very recently munching on something. I suppose, cinematically, this is the greater crime. At least if a movie is markedly BAD then it can stand as an experience in one’s memory.

…I think that analogy got away from me there. Like the movie!

I think Pelham 123 is the story of Some Guy Who Works For New York’s Rail Service (Washington) dealing with Balding Goteed Terrorist (Travolta) who has hijacked a passenger train with his gang of malcontents. There’s the typical tropes of the Worker Out of Favor with His Superiors, and the question of Is Our “Hero” Actually With The Bad Guys? There’s some effort at a twist ending and the guys are capable of acting so…it’s not like it was torture to watch it. And that’s really all I can say.

This leads into a brief statement I can make about reviewing movies, and how I review this one. We often hear “Worst movie I ever saw” uttered by people who would have you believe that every month a black hole of quality actually sucks any merit from their local cinemas (…pretty much making video stores a cluster of black holes from which no good can escape…). I would like to temper those types of comments with the following observation: Even the worst of these films involves the collective efforts of more than a thousand professionals in their fields, and though the entertainment value may be low, the standards of the profession remain, always. That is why films will always receive at least one star, because the input of the professional movie makers should always be acknowledged – Gaffers, Lighting Technicians, Cinematographers, Key Grips, Stunt Teams, Second Units, Best Boys, Compositers: They at least make something that looks…well, like a movie.

I’ve seen films that do not have professional standards. They are unbearable and undeserving of any stars whatsoever. But you will never see them at the movies, and you’ll have to struggle to find them on DVD – because no one can sit through and watch the whole thing anyway.

How To Enjoy It

Wha…? How to enjoy what? Sorry, what was I talking about?

Rating – 2 out of 5 (Disappointing)

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