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I went in with pretty low expectations for the remake of The Taking of Pelham 123. I haven’t seen the original, or the remade television movie, nor have I read the book. But, it was a remake, it was an action flick released in the summer which usually means mindless entertainment and a lot of explosions, and it had John Travolta in it all of which led me to think I wasn’t going to enjoy it. I was definitely surprised.

The film got mediocre to bad reviews by those who do this type of thing for a living but I generally disagree with them anyway so here we go, let the disagreement begin. The film is very post-modern, the aesthetics, the philosophy, everything about it which I for the most part enjoyed. Sometimes it did seem like they were trying to be too artsy with the camera shots and whatnot but overall the cinematography was good. The acting was criticized by some of the paid reviewers, but I have to disagree. Surprisingly, I thought that Travolta did wonderful playing his part. Supposedly the actors lacked “passion” but again I have to disagree, the passion definitely shines forth. The action was well done, I was on the edge of my seat for a lot of the movie which is the point of thrillers. What isn’t the point of thrillers is to offer the watcher something more to think about. This is what surprised me about Pelham. I expected a summer action flick to be mindless but there was a lot of musing on philosophical and theological topics. Travolta’s character claims that no one is innocent and that we all have inherent sin, he is a Catholic in the film, and none of the main characters are perfect which serves to demonstrate his point. There’s also a lot about a debt owed to God. Travolta says that our debt to God for sinning is death, Denzel Washington’s character says our debt is to live. I said earlier that the film is post-modern in philosophy and here’s why, it doesn’t offer any real answers and is very relativistic. I don’t want to ruin the ending or any plot points but in the end it makes every characters point of view seem as if it was right for them.

I will warn you, if you are offended by copious amounts of cussing and blood, this isn’t the film for you. I, however, really enjoyed it. I walked away thinking, and I’m still mulling a lot of the questions Pelham raised around in my mind. This movie isn’t perfect, but it’s not awful. I do give it a reccomendation to anyone who is interested in the questions I’ve talked about that it raises and who isn’t afraid of some cussing and blood, you may be like me and walk away surprised and contemplative.

Overall rating: 7/10

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