This action-packed remake is the third filmed version of the John Godey novel. And if forced to choose, I'd have to say that the 1974 version starring Walter Matthau is still the best. Although this new realease is updated and set in an even grittier tone, it still can't capture the brilliant level of tension found in the aforementioned film version.
Whereas Travolta and his nameless henchman are suitably bad, their characters are not as fleshed out as Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam and the menacing Hector Elizondo were in the 1974 version. And in the original, Matthau played a cop, this time the hero is played by Denzel, but instead his character is a train despatcher (!).
There's a bit of a chase scene near the end, but nothing too exciting, although director Tony Scott is once again employing his rapid-cut editing to help make the film seem more fast-paced than it actually is.
In fairness though, while the perfomances from a first-rate cast are up to par, alas, the excitement and suspense just isn't. And for two-thirds of the movie you'll definitely be enjoying it, but I'm sure you'll be underwhelmed at the quick conclusion, as was I. (3 out of 5, by Carlisle Johnson)
Walter Garber is a New York City subway dispatcher whose ordinary day is thrown into chaos by an audacious crime: the hijacking of a subway train.
Ryder, the criminal mastermind behind the hijacking and leader of a highly-armed gang of four, threatens to execute the train's passengers unless a large ransom is paid within one hour.
As the tension mounts beneath his feet, Garber employs his vast knowledge of the subway system in a battle to outwit Ryder and save the hostages. But there's one riddle Garber can't solve: even if the thieves get the money, how can they possibly escape?
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
|Country of origin:
• John Travolta
||192 x 137 x 15mm (L x W x T)
||1 hour, 42 minutes
Region 2. This DVD will play in all South African DVD players.
|| Dolby Digital 5.1
|| Widescreen 16:9 (1.78:1)
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Review This Product
Tue, 28 Sep 2010 | Review by: Micky B
Neither having read the book on which this thriller is based, nor having seen the previous (1974) big-screen adaptation that starred Walter Matthau, I was more taken with the peerless acting performances by Denzel Washington (as the city subway dispatcher who suddenly finds himself in the role of hostage negotiator); and John Travolta, as the violent leader of the train hijackers (who blames the mayor and the entire city of New York for his 13-year stay in prison) than I was with the actual story itself. I mean, just how many variations of this kind of plot can there be?
The screenplay is, however, skilfully enough crafted to retain both the suspense and the audience's interest right to the very end. The direction is typically Tony Scott, though the terse editing here is more like that of a made-for-TV production. On the cinema-size screen, it must have been quite mind-blowing though!
Sure, it is still good entertainment... but I can never understand Hollywood's fanaticism for repeatedly wanting to do remakes of films - in some cases, proven classics - that were so highly successful in the first place! Fortunately, I have no personal standard of comparison with this one.
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