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The Taking of Pelham 123
Review by Ross Anthony

The Taking of Pelham 123 I probably won't be the first to say it's a train wreck. Starts out good enough, shows quite a bit of ability to the half way mark, but the last half hour is just a scripting mess. I'd love to explain why, but I can't do it without spoiling. So let me just list some other aspects of the film quite in need of improvement.

First, despite blood splattering, brutally graphic deaths inches from their faces, hostages didn't seem to be all that frightened -- specifically the boy with the computer. Second, that it took the authorities so long to figure the hostage-taker as a stock broker is absolutely silly. We laughed at that. Was it the intent of the script to paint NY authorities as Keystone cops? Didn't come off that way either. Thirdly, at a 7% drop, how much money could this guy really stand to make? If he'd invested more than the 10 mill, as implied by the cops, then he must have had a great deal of cash already. So why risk so much to make just 7% in a day? There's a quick mention that he might have a grudge against the city, and Travolta's character does enjoy jabbing at the city with verbal obscenities, but it just doesn't seem enough to make him into this hardened gun-wielding professional killer/criminal.

And that ending, it's just, well, kind of awful, it made me mad at this film. Mad, because these filmmakers and actors are good. They obviously have the talent, yet they let me go see a film that so falls on its face.

Also, as performances go, Gandolfini, Turturro and Guzman are great actors, but aren't big players in the film. They nearly only cameo here. I also felt that Washington, though acting well, was miscast. We've seen him be strong in this type of role too many times. Therefore, filmmakers should have cast someone we wouldn't expect to be strong. A slightly lesser known actor, perhaps someone like Steven Zahn or Mos Def.

-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --


  • The Taking of Pelham 123. Copyright © 2009.
  • Starring Denzel Washington, John Travolta, John Turturro, Luis Guzman, Michael Rispoli, James Gandolfini. Directed byTony Scott. Screenplay by Brian Helgeland. Produced by Todd Black, Tony Scott, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Grade..........................C (0.5/4)


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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Friday, 12-Jun-2009 17:37:06 PDT