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The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)

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2:34 | Trailer
Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.

Director:

Tony Scott

Writers:

Brian Helgeland (screenplay), John Godey (novel)
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2,547 ( 104)
1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denzel Washington ... Walter Garber
John Travolta ... Ryder
Luis Guzmán ... Phil Ramos (as Luis Guzman)
Victor Gojcaj Victor Gojcaj ... Bashkin
Robert Vataj Robert Vataj ... Emri
John Turturro ... Camonetti
Michael Rispoli ... John Johnson
Ramon Rodriguez ... Delgado
James Gandolfini ... Mayor
John Benjamin Hickey ... Deputy Mayor LaSalle
Alex Kaluzhsky ... George
Gbenga Akinnagbe ... Wallace
Katherine Sigismund ... Mom
Jake Siciliano ... 8-Year-Old Boy
Jason Butler Harner ... Mr. Thomas
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Storyline

In early afternoon, four armed men hijack a subway train in Manhattan. They stop on a slight incline, decoupling the first car to let the rest of the train coast back. Their leader is Ryder; he connects by phone with Walter Garber, the dispatcher watching that line. Garber is a supervisor temporarily demoted while being investigated for bribery. Ryder demands $10 million within an hour, or he'll start shooting hostages. He'll deal only with Garber. The mayor okays the payoff, the news of the hostage situation sends the stock market tumbling, and it's unclear what Ryder really wants or if Garber is part of the deal. Will hostages, kidnappers, and negotiators live through this? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

train | hostage | subway | hijack | ransom | See All (117) »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and pervasive language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | Ukrainian

Release Date:

12 June 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Taking of Pelham 123 See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,373,102, 14 June 2009

Gross USA:

$65,452,312

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$150,166,126
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the novel, the ransom demand is $1 million, and so it was in the original film, but the remake has upgraded it to $10 million. Ryder says a million dollar ransom is a corny asking price. See more »

Goofs

On the exterior of the train, the car number was 8837. But in the motorman's cab, the car number was 7426. For the R142A Subway car, the numbers would be in the 7400 number range. 8837 would be in the 8800 number range for the R160B Subway cars See more »

Quotes

Ryder: I talked to God.
Walter Garber: That's good, what did he say?
Ryder: He said I should trust in Him, all others pay cash. How soon can you get it down here?
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the opening credits, the director's name, Tony Scott, "follows" the train into the tunnel. See more »


Soundtracks

Funklab Bass Problem
Written by William Hanford Lee (as William Hanford Lee Jr.)
Performed by Papalee
Courtesy of BJP Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Washington offsets Travolta, producing entertainment
14 June 2009 | by dfranzen70See all my reviews

I was surprised to find this remake of the 1974 thriller was actually pretty good. I thought that, because it was a remake by an explosion-happy director (Tony Scott) and starred ultraham John Travolta, it couldn't possibly be all that interesting. Maybe a mild diversion, but those are a dime a dozen during the summer. But hey, big shock! It's actually pretty tense, with just enough twistiness to fascinate without seeming implausible.

Of course, the biggest reason the movie succeeds is Denzel Washington. Washington plays a disgraced (investigation pending) transit executive who's currently slumming as the control chief. On his shift, naturally, a 1:23 train out of Pelham (New York City) suddenly stops in the middle of its run, and a hijacker demands $10 million to be delivered in exactly one hour, or passengers start dying unnaturally.

What makes this a little more than your typical cat-and-mouse game is the undercurrent of what's gotten Washington character into hot water, as well as Travolta's character's actual motives. After all, he's just grabbed a subway full of hostages, but obviously he can't just ride the car to Cuba, or something. He has to have an escape plan.

Washington and Travolta play off each other very nicely, with Washington's flawless portrayal of a flawed man far more convincing than Travolta's garden-variety unhinged wacko. Essentially, Washington was good enough to counterbalance Travolta's overacting. (Is he crazy, or is he just cleverly acting crazy? Who cares?) Washington's Walter Garber is unsure of himself, an actual Everyman thrust into a madman's master plan. It's roles like these that separate Washington from people like, say, Tom Cruise, guys who can play really only one character, the Man Who Knows Everything. Walter Garber not only isn't a "seize the day" kind of person, he shies away from confrontations he knows he can't win.

Also worth noting are John Turturro (as a hostage negotiator displaced by Washington, since Travolta won't talk to anyone else) and James Gandolfini (as Hizzoner, finally playing a mayor who's not a complete nitwit). Gone is the whimsical naming convention from the first, in which Robert Shaw named his comrades after colors, which was swiped by Quentin Tarantino for Reservoir Dogs. There are some changes from the original, true, but they don't seem contrived; for example, Walter Matthau was a transit cop in the 1974 version, not some under-investigation suit.

The action is tense throughout, especially since you assume that the hijackers are going to have to murder someone at some point (otherwise, why have a deadline?) Somehow, the movie manages to be gripping and realistic without being over the top. There are some minor bouts of nonsense (did we really need to know that Garber needed to bring home a gallon of milk?), and maybe in the final 20 minutes or so it's a little by the numbers in its approach to action, but overall it's not bad at all. It's certainly a lot better than I'd expect a John Travolta movie to be, but maybe that's because he's the bad guy here, and they're practically expected to be over the top.


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