‘The Taking of Pelham 123’ (2009)

In 2009, there was a movie starring Denzel Washington dealing with a train…in 2010 there was a movie starring Denzel Washington dealing with a train. I saw the 2010’s “Unstoppable” and thought it was great. I never saw the one that came out in 2009, but for some reason I feared there may have been some similarities before watching this film. So here we go.

 Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) is a Metropolitan Transportation Authority agent in charge of overlooking general train dispatcher duties . When the subway train Pelham 123 makes an unscheduled stop on an otherwise normal route and is detached, Garber soon learns the train and its passengers are taken hostage by a man named Ryder (John Travolta) for a sum of $10,000,000, or he will start killing passengers after an hour. Obviously, this is a full length film, so we know at the very least, stuff is going to go down somewhere near the middle of the film.

 As with any good film, there are two main storylines. Firstly speaking, Garber and the dispatch team along with hostage negotiators must find a way to either pay the ten million dollars or find any other way to stop the terrorists. Secondly, we have to learn motive, the reason as to why this guy is doing what he is doing. Is it just because he wants money, or is there more to the story? It isn’t long before we are given hints that Ryder has some kind of vendetta against New York.

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 I don’t know about you guys, but I believe we have some kind of a simple outlook on terrorist situations don’t we? I believe it has something to do with…..no negotiating with terrorists? Now I understand that basically means when the government is involved, but in personal cases such as kidnapping, an individual negotiates with terrorists out of love. This movie does deal with the government though, and it takes them maybe a half hour to decide to negotiate with the terrorists, not only that, but they agree to ten million? It just seemed like the believability was a bit askew in that regards.

 The acting was pretty good, I don’t know how I felt about seeing Denzel sitting on his butt the entire time, being a pretty well known action hero, but the idea was all about the chemistry and communication between Ryder and Garber’s character. The main problem I had was that I have seen more thrilling hostage films, which this film seemed to lack that vibe that many of them have. It’s still good, and I personally don’t know how I would implement that vibe.

 I would say that the film is on the good side of unpredictability. While it isn’t the MOST thrilling, the thrill factor does improve towards the end of the movie, as most films like it would.