Billboards for The Taking of Pelham 123 omit the first names of Travolta and Washington; maybe this will start a trend. Denzel and John star in the remake of Joseph Sargent’s 1979 gritty New York thriller that faced off Robert Shaw’s cold-blooded hijacker against dispatcher Walter Matthau. The New York of thirty years ago, at least on the big screen, was a melting pot of street violence and political tension and contrasts nicely with the modern day New York of high tech and trendy lifestyles.
Travolta plays the hijacker of a New York train, holding passengers hostage in return for a ransom. Washington is the dispatcher Walter Garbe whose ordinary day is turned upside down. Ridley Scott directs with the usual speed and excitement. The trailer looks terrific and the reviews have been just as good.