The Taking of Pelham 123

  • 15
  • Tony Scott (2009)
  • US / UK
  • 101 min
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Film Review
Reviewed By
2 out of 5

The pointless transformation of the title of this remake of the 1974 New York subway hijacking classic (figures instead of the words One Two Three) is the first clue to the fact that it has little original to add. A slightly ragged Denzel Washington fails to capture the weary sang-froid of the late, great Walter Matthau in the role of the subway train controller tensely negotiating with a crazed hijacker, here played by John Travolta in full scenery-chewing mode. Director Tony Scott adds his trademark visual pyrotechnics but little else. Worse, Brian Helgeland's screenplay strips the irony and mordant wit of the original - in which the hostages were, if anything, even more unlikeable than the hostage-takers. A hijacking movie that's been hijacked, then.

Plot Summary

Denzel Washington and John Travolta star in this remake of the 1974 thriller. An armed gang holds passengers on a New York subway train hostage, and threatens to start killing them unless they receive a huge ransom. As the minutes tick by, the tense situation becomes a battle of wits between gang leader "Ryder" and train dispatcher Walter Garber.

Cast and crew


Walter Garber
Denzel Washington
John Travolta
Phil Ramos
Luis Guzman
Victor Gojcaj
Gbenga Akinnagbe
Lieutenant Camonetti
John Turturro
James Gandolfini
Ramon Rodriguez
John Johnson
Michael Rispoli


Tony Scott

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Columbia Pictures Corporation Ltd
Violence, swearing.
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 31 Jul 2009
Certificate 15