ABOUT: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (also known as The Taking of Pelham 123) is a thriller movie released in 1974. It stars Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Jerry Stiller, and Martin Balsam; it was directed by Joseph Sargent, produced by Edgar J. Scherick, and was based on the novel of the same title by John Godey. Peter Stone wrote the screenplay, which takes its basics from the novel but is highly different in its approach, embracing a kind of NYC cynicism.
Four armed men hijack a New York City subway train and demand 1 million dollars - which must be delivered in 1 hour - for the train and the lives of the passengers held hostage. Lt. Zachary Garber of the New York City Transit Police must contend with City Hall red tape, the unrelenting demands of the hijackers, and the ever-ticking clock in his efforts to save the passengers and bring the hijackers to justice.
In 1998, the film was remade as a television movie with the same title, with Edward James Olmos in the Matthau role and Vincent D'Onofrio replacing Shaw as the senior hijacker. Although not particularly well received by critics or viewers, this version was reportedly more faithful to the book, though it updated the setting with new technologies. It was also devoid of the quirky humor that made the original so memorable.
MY REVIEW: I've been waiting a long time to see one of those 70s NYC crime movies that I haven't seen before. I have never even heard of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three until recently when I found out that it was being remade by Tony Scott. So I thought that I would check it out before I saw the remake since usually the original films are better.
I was tickled to see Walter Matthau in a serious but comedic role and Jerry Stiller looking not young but middle aged was pretty funny too. Robert Shaw is awesome as the leader of the train kidnapping gang. I like how the movie is serious and at the same time playing for laughs. I doubt that the remake will be like that but its always nice to change things up a bit.
The film is suspenseful all the way through and a subway train is a nice change of scenery after countless bank heist films.
MY CHEESY RATING: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three will take you on a suspenseful subway ride. 7 out of 10