News
"Pelham" dangerously good!


Date Posted: 22 July 2009


John Travolta sheds his quirky female character from "Hairspray" to a vengeful killer in "Pelham."

22 Jul – Denzel Washington squares off against John Travolta in a tense hostage thriller "The Taking Of Pelham 123," directed by Tony Scott ("Top Gun") and adapted from the same novel that was the basis of a hit movie 35 years ago in 1974. In the film, Scott frames the hijacking of a subway train and the subsequent standoff between cops and crooks, putting an ordinary, overburdened train dispatcher (Denzel Washington) against a mercurial vengeful killer (John Travolta).

Throughout this film, NYC Transit granted "Pelham" with unprecedented access. "In the past, we've allowed filming on a platform or inside a train, but very little filming with actors down on the track," says Joe Grodzinsky, Superintendent Rapid Transit Operations, who has overseen several shoots in a 35-year career. "'Pelham' shot scenes with the actors on the track as trains moved past them. That was unique."


Two-time Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington.

The entire cast and crew, ultimately some 400 people, had to enroll in an eight-hour safety-training course before filming. They learnt how to identify hazards, and most importantly, avoid the electrical contact rail, better known as the third rail. The third rail is just as dangerous as legend would have it. A touch can lose a limb or a life. "They showed us a photograph of what happens if you hit that third rail," Washington says. "And it ain't nice."

Second only to the danger of the third rail is the danger of an oncoming train – in fact, failing to look both ways is the number one cause of fatalities in the subway. As their guide instructs, "You must centre yourself between the columns, press your shoulder against one, and place your hand flat against the opposite. Now don't move. If you stand with your hands in your pocket, the wind can pull you right in. And don't stick your neck out to see if the train is coming!" Then followed by a warning, "And don't turn around to look at it!"

Cinema Online "The Taking Of Pelham 123" contest winners had the opportunity to catch the preview screening at Cathay Cineplexes Damansara on 21 July 2009. After the movie, we asked some of our viewers what they thought of the movie, how was Travolta and Washington's performances, and how many stars would they rate it out of 5.


Chua Chun Wee (left): Fantastic! It was thrilling to see how these hostages were going to escape from the subway train. Washington was good playing the calm negotiator with Travolta's character. Travolta, who has put on a little weight, did a splendid performance in my books! 4.5 stars!

Satchitanandam Veloo (left): Quite good! It was entertaining and worth the watch. The two main leads performed very well. I personally liked Denzel because of the way he portrayed his character in a tough situation - calm and collected. 4 stars!

Lee See Yin (centre): This is by far one of the better ones I've watched this year. From what I've read in reviews, the drama was very good! Both actors performed their roles well and they were perfect for this film remake. 4.5 stars


"Taking Of Pelham 123" is currently playing in cinemas!

 

Writer: Lai Swee Wei



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