Technical wizardry does not make for a good film. Mix in an annoying jazzy score, guitar riffs and some violin music, a couple of overrated actors, and you get TTOP123.
First off did Denzel do a reverse DeNiro and gain 50 pounds for this role? He looked like fat Albert "on a good day." Travolta, also sporting an earring or two -- what are these guys, two metrosexuals wanting to do each other? -- alternately drops f-bombs between ridiculous soliloquies about his tortured past and while plugging a hostage or two just to break the boredom. OK, he was reading bad lines, but he did not make for a believable villain, alternately scowling and laughing or otherwise mugging for the camera. Compare to the superb Robert Shaw, who played the character with calm menace that was 10 times as scary.
Plot holes? By the bushel. First off, there's Denzel's wife, in the middle of a tension-filled crisis in which blood is being spattered left and right, badgering her husband to bring home a gallon of milk. Could anything be more ridiculous? Maybe a producer promised the woman some more celluloid time on the casting couch, but the role was entirely superfluous and the 10-minute scene of the couple talking sweet nothings on a cellphone while bodies are dropping everywhere was one of the funniest I've ever seen.
Then there's Travolta, $300 million richer, thanks to his manipulation of the stock and commodity markets, worried about a paltry $2.5 million cut from the heist, weighing around 55 pounds, that he had to lug around at the end during his escape.
No disguise, easily identifiable, Travolta and the rest of the gang blithely stride through midtown Manhattan carrying big heavy satchels of cash, trying to hail cabs with thousands of people milling around and hundreds of cops. Travolta's character was about as stupid as you can get, riding and then walking in broad daylight, inviting easy capture. A more plausible ending would have had him stroll into the Waldorf, get a room and disguise himself until he could try to get away later, setting up a cat-and-mouse finish.
But there was no imagination, no humor, no intelligence, nothing whatsoever to justify making this movie other than its sole purpose: another big paycheck day for the two stars. Watching Gandolfini play mayor, I couldn't help thinking that if he was Tony Soprano, he would clip the entire cast, crew, director and production team and dump em all in the East River.
Save your money and rent the original.
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