The first time we ever remember hearing about The Taking of Pelham 123 was when the Beastie Boys sang about it in their song "Sure Shot." It caused us to seek out the 1974 film that starred a grumpy Walter Matthau and an even grumpier Robert Shaw. Despite its grittiness, we ultimately found the end product to be kind of meh. Now, some fourteen years after the Beastie Boys reintroduced the film to a new generation, Tony Scott has directed a remake that stars a husky John Travolta and an even huskier Denzel Washington. Unfortunately, it looks like a hodgepodge of genre clichés we've long since grown tired of: The dialogue between Denzel's subway engineer and Travolta's villain is straight from the Die Hard playbook (seemingly minus the wittiness), Travolta's goateed baddie is just a more poorly dressed version of the guy he played in Swordfish and, because it's a Tony Scott film, "speed up, slow down" editing tricks, and helicopters, abound. Also not helping its seeming lack of timeliness? The use of "99 Problems" in the trailer.
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