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Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - The Taking Of Pelham 123 (Re-Post)

Excuse forgetfulness. Combination of hunger and crossness. Toodles. Oh, and on a further note, High School Musical 3: Senior Year was fantastic.
Okay, a long-belated review on my hands here, The Taking Of Pelham 123. Now, this film has some real good potential, and I'm not going to lie, I did go into the film with an open mind and heart, hoping that I would be pleasantly surprised. I mean, John Travolta, now I know he has made some real crap lately, but this is a guy who was brilliant in Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction and to a lesser extent Face/Off, which I quite liked. Travolta is like Sylvester Stallone but worse in that he can say for all the crap he's made, he has given two genuinely great performances, but they are really the only reasons he is still famous, apart from flying aeroplanes and being the second most famous scientologist in Hollywood. Then we have the great Denzel Washington, who established reputation in the 1990's in indie films by Spike Lee, but also established his reputation as far back as 1989 when he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Glory. Throughout the 90's he was one of the most consistent leading men in the world, and then it seems after he won the Oscar for Training Day, he seems to have hit a brick wall and put his feet up. Then we have the majesterial talent that is Tony Scott, creator of Top Gun and Enemy Of The State, and culprit for recent slew such as Deja Vu, which was the first recipient of my annual Ed Wood Award For Worst Film Of The Year, so in many senses Tony Scott really owe's me one. Not that that is a hard thing to do seeing as how his older brother Ridley is director of the likes of Blade Runner and Alien and Gladiator and a number of brilliant films so excuse the favourtism Tony. But anyway, story goes that John Travolta and his team of bad guys take siege inside a subway train and Denzel Washington, who plays an MTA dispatcher, and is the expert on the subways who becomes entrapped in this plot, a case of Die Hard syndrome, wrong day, wrong time, wrong place. Now, perhaps the best thing about this movie is the fact that this movie is a siege movie, so it limits the amount of destruction that Tony Scott can cause, so at least in some ways in this film he is under reigns and controlled. The best scenes in the movie really are the conversations between Washington and Travolta over the phone, showing a strong potential for a good solid film. Travolta, while being decidedly over-the-top with his performance throughout, adds at least some interesting elements and character arcs to what would be an otherwise uninteresting villain. Washington likewise plays his character of the everyman very competently. However, as I said, competently, in that they do seem to be acting rather lazily and just having a laugh while making a movie, not that that is a bad thing, but it does seem like a couple of really lazy performances. Most underutilised is the talents of James Gandolfini, who is a genuinely good actor, but is completely underused. And on the topic while we're here, there really is no point in Luiz Guzman being in the film. His role is a nothing role which could have been played by an unknown. The real problems with Pelham 123 are more or less the same case throughout every category in the film. Tony Scott, who I really hate, shows promise and control with solid direction in some scenes, proving he can indeed direct to some degree, but then he just inserts something as random filler. The worst examples of this would be the absolutely dreadful cutaways to the police cars attempting to deliver the money across New York. Now, I can be quite suspicious of the police sometimes, particular the American police, but I am pretty that no where in the history of the world has there been more incompetent police officers than those in this film. As they are attempting to deliver the money across New York, they are forever crashing into things and destroying their own cars. Also, another example would be the death of Guzman's character, who gets shot because a sniper has his gun aimed at him and accidently pulls the trigger because a rat bites him. A frigging rat! These scenes really only exist for the purpose of demeaning the audiences sensibilities completely. I can imagine production meetings on these scenes: "Now, here we'll insert a crash, oh, let's kill Luiz Guzman there, because quite clearly the audience will be bored if we let John and Denzel talk too much." Listen you damn idiots, we are not stupid and we demand proper films. I completely agree with Roger Ebert on this one, who said, "There's not much wrong with Tony Scott's "The Taking Of Pelham 123," except that there's not much really right about it." That is completely correct. The Taking Of Pelham 123 is not dreadful, but it is not good, just a really, really lazy attempt at feature film coming from "Hollywood's most successful." Piss off and crawl under a stone. I do not want to see any of you until I see a proper film.
The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 4.3/10
The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - Pretty Angry!

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