Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 128 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: In The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, New York City subway dispatcher, Walter Garber's, day is thrown into chaos by an audacious crime: the hijacking of a subway train. Ryder, the criminal mastermind who, as leader of a highly-armed gang of four, threatens to execute the train’s passengers unless a large ransom is paid within one hour. As the tension mounts beneath his feet, Garber employs his vast knowledge of the subway system in a battle to outwit Ryder and save the hostages. But there’s one riddle Garber can't solve: even if the thieves get the money, how can they possibly escape? (Sony Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 34
  2. Negative: 4 out of 34
  1. 88
    It's a first-class ride. All aboard.
  2. 80
    Even at a distance from each other (Washington/Travolta), they conduct a tag-team master class in old-style movie star technique, barreling through every cliché and nugget of corn the script has to offer with verve and conviction. Even when you don't really believe them, they're always a lot of fun to watch.
  3. Has all the usual virtues of a good action suspense drama, but it lacks that extra something - that context, that vital interchange - that made the original "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" such a memorable experience in 1974.
  4. Washington offers another of his rock-steady performances, playing a career civil servant with a couple of secrets of his own, but confident, diligent, ready to go the distance for the city he loves.
  5. Reviewed by: Jim Ridley
    Scott's redo comes up short in almost every regard against the '74 model--against David Shire's knuckled-brass score, against its mugs' gallery of '70s New York character actors, against Peter Stone's serrated script, and certainly against its wordless punchline.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 53
  2. Negative: 12 out of 53
  1. LoganH
    Nov 3, 2009
    Actors in this movie seem like they were given a lot of freedom in this movie and just have fun. Denzel and Travolta are amazing in this movie.
  2. ChrisP.
    Aug 17, 2009
    Denzel was really good one more time.I just love his movies. the movie has a lot of action and and a powerful plot.of course also mentionable must be the amazing song of jigga "99 problems"!!! Expand
  3. YSH
    Sep 13, 2009
    Electric performances from Washington and Travolta - the tension arcs and crackles! Good performance too from Turturro. The story has some great plot twists and the camera work looks slick. Well worth a watch. Expand
  4. ChadS.
    Jun 14, 2009
    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
  5. Nov 16, 2013
    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. Expand
  6. LaszloS
    Nov 9, 2009
    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. Expand
  7. Robert
    Jun 17, 2009
    The movie was good to start and then fell apart completely. Whoever writes this crap should be arrested for impersonating a writer. Let me ask a question? Would someone just released from prison use his own name and invest millions but never consummate the trade to lock up a profit? And would that person risk his own life instead of hiring thugs to pull off his masterplan for chump change? Would a mild mannered transit worker who rides the trains to and from work suddenly learn how to shoot a gun and drive thru the streets of NY like Evil Knievel? And if a black man ran around the streets of NY waving a gun do you think that somewhere someone may have called a policeman? And if a subway train is roaring out of control on elevated tracks do you think that one of the passengers might dial 911 on their cell to advise that there is no motorman? And there's an open computer the entire time. There were more plot holes in this movie than swiss cheese. After the movie is over you start thinking and nothing makes any sense. Just awful. Expand

See all 53 User Reviews