The Taking of Pelham 123 Tony Scott

The Taking of Pelham 123 Tony Scott
Within the 30-minute "making of" supplement included with the DVD of 2009's The Taking of Pelham 123, producer Todd Black states that Tony Scott's (The Fan, Beverly Hills Cop II) impetus was to remake the '70s New York crime thriller like it was on steroids. And while the film does indeed appear to be on drugs, it's debatable as to whether or not steroids are the culprit. The general vibe of the original is there, with the hijacking of a subway car leading to a series of mind games between criminal and negotiator, but there's a switching around of motivations, job titles and latter events. Walter (Denzel Washington) is a subway dispatcher relegated to a crap assignment for allegedly accepting a bribe, while Ryder (John Travolta) is a crazed Catholic homosexual ― a subtext that most certainly wouldn't have occurred to Robert Shaw ― who seems keen on either getting killed by, or running off into the sunset with, the perplexed Walter. Although we know the latter ending isn't possible, as Denzel wears his earring in the left ear. Seriously. Thankfully, Tony Scott partially subdues his typical dizzying, shaky style, still incorporating some of his more amusing idiosyncrasies ― the blurred slow-mo cutaway and random cityscape pan ― but keeping things grounded in plot machinations. It's still mindless, clichéd and chock-full of logic issues but it works as a serviceable popcorn thriller. Taken in this light, most should be able to ignore the amusing secondary character reactions, offensive subtext and stylistic immaturity (an example being a slow motion sequence of two men being graphically ripped apart by bullets). In addition to the aforementioned "making of" bonus feature, the DVD includes a featurette on the New York subway system and an interview with the hair stylist, who we assume handled the complicated task of maintaining the lead actors' shaved heads. A commentary track with Tony Scott gives us insight on the "sunlight glimmer," while another track with screenwriter Brian Helgeland and producer Todd Black gives us a whole lot of monosyllabic nothing. (Sony)