Greetings again from the darkness. For some reason, I keep thinking director Tony Scott will re-capture his magic of "Crimson Tide". Instead, he thrives on being the center of attention, rather than letting the story and characters unfold on screen. How he mangles the great cat-and-mouse game of the original "Taking of Pelham One Two Three" is pure torture to watch.
In the original Walter Matthau and the icy cold Robert Shaw were brilliant. Here Travolta is way over-the-top with all his "MF'ers". Denzel, for all his greatness, is simply miscast as the nice, working class hero. In the original, NYC shots were gritty and real ... here they are Tony Scott disco complete with flying cars. Since when does a car collision send one of the vehicles soaring and somersaulting? And why does a skilled motorcycle cop ram right into a parked vehicle? Just a ridiculous action sequence.
Also in the original, Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo and Earl Hindman (Wilson from Home Improvement) were Shaw's team and each had their own personality. Here Luis Guzman is given little to do and I couldn't pick the other two out of a line-up after just watching the film! John Tuturro and James Gandolfini are the only others with much to say. Gandolfini is a nice combo of Giuliani and Bloomberg, and provides at least a touch of humor. The story is expanded from a pure heist film to a bit of distorted revenge by Travolta, a disgraced Wall Street stud.
Just not much good to say about this one since I don't believe it stands on its own and it certainly can't hold a candle to the original.
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