The Taking of Pelham 123 - Blu-ray review

The Taking of Pelham 123 is a movie with all the right ingredients: action movie stalwart Tony Scott directing Denzel Washington and John Travolta as they square up against each other as deal-maker and hostage-taker in the remake of a much-admired heist flick of the same name from the early ‘70s.

Unfortunately, all is not as rosy as you might expect. The script is full of clumsy, contrived dialogue and clichéd characters, while the jump-cut style of Scott’s action scenes actually serves to undermine, rather than enhance the tension.

The manic gurning that Travolta peddled in Face/Off and Swordfish is back once more, and it’s beginning to wear thin – worryingly his next project, From Paris with Love, seems to have him pulling the same faces yet again.

Wasted talent

A solid, if unspectacular performance from a fattened-up Washington keeps things ticking along at a reasonable lick, but the heavy-handed dialogue leaves even hugely talented actors like John Turturro and James Gandolfini with little room to exercise their ability.

Still, the picture is very clean and reasonably detailed, and the subway setting means your display’s black depth and insight will be thoroughly tested. Similarly, when the action does kick in, your surround package will be asked to reproduce fast-moving effects and decently deep bass.

So, what does all that add up to? That’s right; a decent test disc that’s also a reasonable, but not essential way to spend a night in.

3 stars

Picture: 2.35:1 (1920 x 1080p)
Sound: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1

The Taking of Pelham 123 is released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 11th. Blu-ray pre-order prices are all around the £16-mark, with Lovefilm proving to be marginally the cheapest at £15.93. Amazon and Play are offering it at £15.98 and £15.99 respectively.