“It’s Pelham,” says John Travolta, referring to the 1974 original in the flabby making of, “but on steroids.” he’s not wrong: this is, after all, a Tony scott movie. But, as a lot of the action is two fellas chatting over a radio while looking at colour bars on screens, the high-octane
helmer uses a bulging arsenal of editing tricks – swooping pans from deep below the sidewalks, dramatic aerial vistas over
the bridges of manhattan – and it works. Among the bustling energy of Scott The younger’s aesthetic is a maniacal Travolta
as baddie ryder; although the brains behind the subway heist almost strays into panto-villain territory, it suits the rata-tat-tat approach behind the camera. It’s also offset by the man on the other end of the line, an assured Denzel washington as everyman MTA-dispatcher walter Garber.
A lot’s changed since the first movie adaptation of John Godey’s novel left Pelham bay. Gone are the snazzy colour monikers and in come buzzcuts and handlebar ’taches.
Inflation’s been kind, too. robert shaw and his crew wanted one million dollars – 25 years later, all ryder wants is a cool 10 mil for his carriage of
hostages. or does he? built into the plot of the pumped-up Pelham are some gadge tbased twists and stock market-related finagling to pull it into the 21st century.
And, where the original relied heavily on the banter between shaw and walter matthau’s unlikely hero, Scott attempts to cram in more, including back stories for the leads and lots of car crashes, weirdly. For all the flourishes, though, you can’t escape the obvious: this is a
so-so thriller set alight by scott’s eye for action in gleaming HD.
The disc follows the same logic as the movie: it’s packed, in the hope that more means better. Aside from the two chattracks,
the extras are close cousins to the flimsy EPK, with the largest chunk dedicated to the challenges of shooting
on the subway, and, inexplicably, haircuts. ever since Top Gun. Scott’s been obsessed with ’dos; then it cuts to the helmer having
his barnet chopped, while his hairdresser bangs on about close crops and goatees and asks him whether he’s going anywhere
nice on holiday. Probably.
Scott chucks everything he’s got at Pelham and just about makes it stick in this diverting thriller.