Movie Renter's Guide - December, 2009


"The Taking of Pelham 123" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by John Johnson

The Taking of Pelham 123


In New York City, the Pelham 123 subway train (arriving from Pelham at 1:23 pm) doesn't quite get there as expected.

Walter Garber (Washingon) works for the MTA (transit system) in the city as a detective, but he has been temporarily assigned as a dispatcher while he is being investigated for allegedly accepting bribes. Walter is contacted over the communication system by a man named Ryder (Travolta) who tells him he has hijacked the train, has a lot of passengers under his control, and demands 10 million dollars in cash within one hour. He emphasizes that he will kill one passenger for each minute the money is late.

NYC Police Lt. Camonetti (Turturro) brings in his squad to handle the hostage negotiation, and he tells Walter to delay everything as much as he can while S.W.A.T works their way into the tunnels to set up snipers who will take the hijackers out if they can.


  • Sony Pictures
  • 2009, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 46 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring Denzel Washington, John Travolta, John Turturro, Luis Guzmán, Victor Gojcaj
  • Directed by Tony Scott
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language:Bad


This is another attempt at remaking an old film, by the same title. Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw starred in that 1974 version.

The 2009 version is better than the old film, but only because the director had the availability of showing much more graphic violence, and of course, lots of the "F" word in the conversations about what will happen if the MTA doesn't get that money down to the train in the one hour time. Walter Matthau played it much more tongue in cheek than Washington. The ending in the 1974 version actually is comedic. Not so in the 2009 film.


The video is quite sharp, but not as sharp as it could be, and the audio doesn't make enough use of the surround channels.


These include No Time to Lose, The Third Rail, From the Top Down, Marketing Pelham, and other things.