`...Pelham 123` could have been a far better thriller (IANS Review-Rating:***)
The Taking of Pelham 123 is akin to the train ride which starts off with a bang, picks on tremendous momentum, refuses to take any breather with any unnecessary stops, only to find it`s travel being cut short and the journey coming to a halt.
The plotline of the film is very simple and the kind that has made many a career in Hollywood for more than half a century. A mad man gets a bunch of passengers as a hostage and demands ransom for their return. Of course, in a situation like this, there is bound to be a negotiator, detective or a common man who becomes part of the drama which then goes on to take place in real time.
John Travolta along with accomplices takes charge over a train, stops it in a subway and demands 10 million in ransom. The person who is on the other line of the phone is Denzel Washington, a civil servant.
With the plotline being set and no time wasted in any peripheral activities, it is director Tony Scott`s vintage touch that gives the film a cutting edge treatment. Those who have seen his earlier films like Spy Game, Crimson Tide and, of course, the cult classic Top Gun, would definitely agree.
Of course, cliches abound in the film - we have a black man who is willing to sacrifice his life for a complete stranger, a boss who is unhappy with Washington being given the charge of the hostage situation, a mayor who is hardly respected by the city of New York and a wife who is too happy and proud to be seeing her husband being in charge.
Still, all of that is pretty much accepted in the film since Scott keeps the narrative taut for at least the first 60 minutes of the film. But after that it becomes a little too predictable.
This too could have been accepted had the climax been better spun. However, it turns out to be all too simple in the end with the final moments turning out to be a tad disappointing.
Now if only Hollywood movies too had an interval point, the best way to review The Taking of Pelham 123 would have been - the first half of the film was excellent though things became a little too predictable at the beginning of the second half. The climax was a disappointment due to which the second half didn`t impress as much as the first half.
The Taking of Pelham 123 is one action thriller
that could have been far better had it reached a better culmination.