The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 144 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 69 out of 144
  2. Negative: 21 out of 144

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User Reviews

  1. Feb 1, 2011
    5
    I'm a fan of the book and '74 film starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw. When I saw it it was a great idea of updating the setting to post-9/11 New York. The acting from Denzel Washington and John Travolta is good and the film is like a ticking clock film. The biggest problem is that while the first 2 acts are strong, the third and final act turns into a cliche action movie with losesI'm a fan of the book and '74 film starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw. When I saw it it was a great idea of updating the setting to post-9/11 New York. The acting from Denzel Washington and John Travolta is good and the film is like a ticking clock film. The biggest problem is that while the first 2 acts are strong, the third and final act turns into a cliche action movie with loses all the momentum. If they chose and final act similar to the book and original film it would of been a lot better. Expand
  2. MikeY
    Jun 12, 2009
    6
    Sort of boring, two good actors saves it.
  3. BobFl
    Jun 13, 2009
    6
    Travolta's manic emoting was over the top. Why do screenwriters feel compelled to infect every other line of dialogue with the F word? It's both gratuitous and juvenile.
  4. Nov 16, 2013
    5
    The Taking of Pelham is very entertaining.
    Overly qualified actors with an average to poor script mixed with great execution. Plot holes plague this otherwise exciting film, and the directing is good. The film is well paced and the entertainment value is great. The last half of the movie then becomes sloppy and loses some momentum.
  5. JudyT
    Jun 12, 2009
    6
    So So Hollywood fare. Denzel and Gandolfino were great but everyone and everything else was jjust medicore.
  6. MikeK
    Jun 13, 2009
    6
    Good start, fell apart towards the middle too long a movie.
  7. ChadS.
    Jun 14, 2009
    6
    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Pioneering filmmakers Auguste and Louis Lumiere would be proud. Recalling a nineteenth century bijou audience's reaction to a train arriving at a station(from the short subject film "L'arrive d'un train a la ciotat"), a young woman backs away from her computer screen when one of the terrorists discovers her The more things change, the more they stay the same. Pioneering filmmakers Auguste and Louis Lumiere would be proud. Recalling a nineteenth century bijou audience's reaction to a train arriving at a station(from the short subject film "L'arrive d'un train a la ciotat"), a young woman backs away from her computer screen when one of the terrorists discovers her boyfriend's laptop. Since "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" isn't a Japanese horror movie, her agitated state caused by the approaching man is unwarranted. She doesn't cover her face like a moviegoer would during the scary parts(for instance, Hideo Nakata's "Ringu"); she forgets about the physical laws of demarcation, just like those patrons who fled their seats from the speeding locomotive circa 1897. She forgets her twenty-first century sophisticated self for a split second and cowers as if her life was in mortal danger. But a lot has indeed changed since 1974: a self-reflexive moment comments on the Joeph Sargent original, in which Camonetti(John Turturro), the official hostage negotiator, tries to replace Walter Garber(Denzel Washington) as the lead actor by taking over the impending crisis. Ryder(John Travolta), despite being the story's antagonist, on an extra-diegetic level, performs textually as the film's advocate for social change, when he restores Walter to his rightful spot of being the man in charge(the leading man). Sharing the same first name with the original film's star(Walter Matthau played Lt. Garber in the early-seventies "classic"), not only does "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" pay tribute to the late actor, it also comments discreetly on colorblind casting, in which a "man of color" can play a role originally written for a white actor, as Washington did in a fairly recent Broadway production of William Shakespeare's "Julius Cesar" where he played Brutus. Expand
  8. Fantasy
    Jun 14, 2009
    6
    Fast pace hostage thriller with John Travolta as the BAD guy and Denzel Washington the GOOD guy. Many plot holes in the story as it would have been nice to have character development to see why they became who they were? In the end, the movie loses its credibility as Denzel reverts from ordinary Joe Citizen to action hero. The whole premise was ridiculous in the first place. Not a bad Fast pace hostage thriller with John Travolta as the BAD guy and Denzel Washington the GOOD guy. Many plot holes in the story as it would have been nice to have character development to see why they became who they were? In the end, the movie loses its credibility as Denzel reverts from ordinary Joe Citizen to action hero. The whole premise was ridiculous in the first place. Not a bad movie but not a good one either. A nice way to spend a rainy afternoon. Expand
  9. JoelS
    Aug 5, 2009
    4
    It's not a bad film, its just been done so many times before. Denzel is the same, Travolta's not bad as the villain, but films like this need to be smarter these days. This isn't 1985. We are over Die Hard and Speed-type movies. Films like Inside Man, which are more intelligent and creative need to be the prototype for dodgy-yet interesting-action movies in the 21st century.
  10. EvinC
    Aug 12, 2009
    5
    Most of the action in this film just seems unnecessary. It is slightly captivating. John Travolta is just too much. Give it up for James Gandolfini being the goofy mayor. He was the best.
  11. JayH
    Oct 28, 2009
    6
    Although it
  12. MayaF
    Nov 7, 2009
    4
    Seen it, survived it. for the action lovers it might be a little bit boring nd for the philosophers a bit shallow... anyway, already seen in many many movies.
  13. LaszloS
    Nov 9, 2009
    4
    What was the ingenious twist in this movie? That the bad guy is making money on the stock exchange? That the good guy follows the bad guy after he had a chance to escape. No. It s a disappointment. The story could be done in 15 minutes also.
  14. Aug 28, 2010
    6
    The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3 is a pretty good remake since the 1974 of the original,but not that close. It has good scenes in the subway and some trains that they could ride. But little too much,I see that they swap the scenes that they shoot every subways and every trains that they located in New York City,but not different location that they where at. I'm more like a subway likable personThe Taking of Pelham 1,2,3 is a pretty good remake since the 1974 of the original,but not that close. It has good scenes in the subway and some trains that they could ride. But little too much,I see that they swap the scenes that they shoot every subways and every trains that they located in New York City,but not different location that they where at. I'm more like a subway likable person that I see subways all the time. Denzel Washington is awesome in the cast. John Travolta was too weak as a villian,but okay. It has good scene when they take the hostages by those terrorists at the inside of the train. But it is a okay remake,but the original still is the best. Expand
  15. Jan 6, 2011
    4
    This movie could use some work, it seems as though it was made in a space a 1hr... because it's tripe... but with some advantages... NO further discussion... so 4!
  16. Oct 11, 2011
    6
    Not a patch on the original movie but not hideous either. I thought the train passengers were under used and there was no real character building for the gang members, (Travolta excluded) having said that I enjoyed the movie although how wrong can you go with the talents or John Travolta & Denzel Washington (and even though the part was much smaller James Gandolfini) which were the mainNot a patch on the original movie but not hideous either. I thought the train passengers were under used and there was no real character building for the gang members, (Travolta excluded) having said that I enjoyed the movie although how wrong can you go with the talents or John Travolta & Denzel Washington (and even though the part was much smaller James Gandolfini) which were the main reasons the movie reached a decent level. Turned into a cliche in the end but worth a watch none the less. Expand
  17. Dec 4, 2011
    4
    The script removes everything that is memorable from the first film and yet tries to burden the main characters with complicated back stories which you won't really understand. Although the director's style of editing and blurring images do give it the upper hand sometimes, its a big pity that a crash scene steals the spotlight from the main event. Also with these types of films realityThe script removes everything that is memorable from the first film and yet tries to burden the main characters with complicated back stories which you won't really understand. Although the director's style of editing and blurring images do give it the upper hand sometimes, its a big pity that a crash scene steals the spotlight from the main event. Also with these types of films reality is normally not a problem, but it becomes so disengaging that its difficult to get by the miracle internet connection in the subway, how Ryder is hoping to profit from the heist and the fact that Garber seems to be the only one who knows the subway. Expand
  18. Aug 25, 2012
    6
    Tony Scott produces another decent film despite all the cliches and the ridiculous look that John Travolta was wearing. A solid popcorn cruncher which will please most action fans without rocking the boat very much.
  19. Nov 28, 2012
    5
    Save for the two impressive lead performances, it's pretty ridiculous.
  20. Apr 17, 2013
    6
    I'm going to get straight to it, upset fans of the original and say that on the whole I quite enjoyed this film. Don't get me wrong it is definitely not without it's flaws, none more so than the hugely anti-climatic ending, cut-out bad guys (except Travolta) and terrible character writing for James Gandolfini's Mayor but up until the ending I enjoyed Tony Scott's fast paced and stylishI'm going to get straight to it, upset fans of the original and say that on the whole I quite enjoyed this film. Don't get me wrong it is definitely not without it's flaws, none more so than the hugely anti-climatic ending, cut-out bad guys (except Travolta) and terrible character writing for James Gandolfini's Mayor but up until the ending I enjoyed Tony Scott's fast paced and stylish direction and Washington's performance. The opening sequence, in which the train is hijacked, is a fantastic sequence of New York both above and below ground, framed through quickly edited long-taken blurred shots of colourful taxis and trains all played out to Jay-Z's 99 Problem's.

    Travolta's role see him reprise his familiar, unhinged and over the top villain from Face/Off (as Cage) that I can cope with in reasonable doses. Unfortunately, he is given a really clichéd profanity heavy script that doesn't do the film any favours.

    The film works best when Ryder and Garber are separate and playing traditional roles of terrorist and negotiator and begins to stall when Garber leaves the office to meet up with Ryder. The less said about the film's ending the better.
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  21. Jul 6, 2013
    5
    The plot is not that interesting but the acting of Denzel Washington is pretty good. The message is not clearly viewed. Th ending is rather stunning and not surprising, overall its averaged.
  22. Dec 7, 2015
    6
    Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 was a film was almost interesting, because very boring , just, but a ransom for a hijacked train, is a risky mission and somewhat interesting, because there is not much to play cards .
Metascore
55

Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 34
  2. Negative: 4 out of 34
  1. Curiously, despite the ever-energetic Tony Scott at the throttle, the sleek new edition isn't as transporting as it should have been.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    More than anything a fascinating portrait of how much New York has changed in 35 years, the film delivers the goods in excitement and big-star charisma.
  3. Watching this Pelham--a money job from its conception--you can believe that there's no other motivation on Earth.