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"THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3"
(2009) (Denzel Washington, John Travolta) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Heavy Extreme Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Minor Heavy Heavy Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy None Mild Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Thriller: A subway control center dispatcher becomes the point man for dealing with a team of criminals that has hijacked a subway car and threatens to kill their hostages if their demand for $10 million in one hour is not met.
PLOT:
Walter Garber (DENZEL WASHINGTON) was once a bureaucrat for New York City's MTA system, but allegations of accepting a bribe has resulted in him being demoted to a dispatcher in the rail control center. During his watch, Ryder (JOHN TRAVOLTA) and his team of criminals -- Phil Ramos (LUIS GUZMAN), Bashkim (VICTOR GOJCAJ) and Emri (ROBERT VATAJ) -- hijack a subway train.

Separating that down to just one car that they then stop inside a tunnel, Ryder decides Walter should be his only point of contact and gives him -- and thus the city -- just one hour to deliver a $10 million ransom or they'll start killing one hostage for every minute that's late.

With S.W.A.T. teams, NYPD hostage negotiator Lt. Camonetti (JOHN TURTURRO) and then even the city's Mayor (JAMES GANDOLFINI) arriving on the scene, Walter finds himself the unlikely and unfortunate intermediary for the situation. With the clock ticking down, he does what he can to help Camonetti and the others resolve the crisis, all while staying in contact with Ryder whose perverse and fatalistic attitude doesn't seem to bode well for a successful resolution.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast, films by director Tony Scott and/or suspense/thrillers, they might be interested.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violence and pervasive language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • DENZEL WASHINGTON plays a former MTA bureaucrat who's recently been demoted down to a dispatcher position as a result of allegations of him taking a bribe. While doing his job, he ends up being Ryder's lone contact, and must contend with the criminal's behavior and demands, as well as being the intermediary between him and the authorities. He uses strong profanity and ends up shooting a man in self-defense.
  • JOHN TRAVOLTA plays the mastermind behind the hijacking and demand for $10 million in one hour or else he'll start killing hostages. Intelligent but perverse and fatalistic, he kills various people and uses strong profanity, all while toying with Walter and the others.
  • LUIS GUZMAN plays his right-hand man, a former MTA employee who's in on the crime and uses strong profanity.
  • VICTOR GOJCAJ and ROBERT VATAJ play the other armed members of the criminal operation who participate in the crime, including with lethal repercussions.
  • JOHN TURTURRO plays the hostage negotiator for the NYPD who arrives on the scene to resolve the situation.
  • JAMES GANDOLFINI plays the city's mayor who isn't pleased with the developing situation, what with hoping to retire soon and leave this sort of mess, as well as an unrelated scandal about his personal life, far behind him. He uses some strong profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated suspense/thriller. Profanity consists of at least 102 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue (some of explicit) is present, while a teen or young woman pulls down her shirt to show her cleavage-revealing bra to her boyfriend via his computer.

    Violence consists of people being shot, wounded and killed by gunfire, as well as some bad traffic accidents. There are bloody results associated with that, while those scenes and moments of potential peril might be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers. Bad attitudes are present, and some of the action and other behavior might be enticing for some kids to imitate.

    There are references to past drinking and substance abuse, and some scatological material and related references also occur. Some tense family material is also present.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that from time to time in the film, but nothing nearing strobe intensity.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of camera movement (sometimes fairly bouncy) as well as various spin-around camera shots.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • The mayor comments on having just nine months left before retirement and looking forward to margaritas on the beach.
  • We hear that Ramos was a former MTA motorman who ended up killing some passengers while high on cough syrup (meaning in an accidental crash).
  • About Ramos, it's stated that his "piss" has been clean (apparently a drug test reference).
  • Ryder talks about being hung-over in the past.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Ryder holds his gun on a subway train's motorman (driver), with Ramos then striking that man, bloodying his nose.
  • We see blood on a man's shirt as he's being shot. We then see a woman who has blood on her face, presumably from that shooting.
  • An adult hostage states he has to "take a piss," with one criminal asking what's stopping him. Ryder then agrees to let the man urinate out through an open door on the subway car, but the man can't get himself to go. A boy who stands beside him has no such problem, and we see his urine stream.
  • Ryder shoots a hostage several times, killing him, with bloody results.
  • We see blood on a man's shirt as he's being shot.
  • Ryder angrily mocks another person who's not in his presence by saying he can "lick my bung-hole."
  • About Ramos, it's stated that his "piss" has been clean (apparently a drug test reference).
  • Ryder talks about being on a dog sled and one dog "taking a sh*t" and "dumping" while still pulling the sled, referring to that as "multi-f*cking-tasking." There are metaphors about being behind the lead dog meaning you're always looking at its "ass," that "sh*t" always hits you, and that Ryder couldn't "take a sh*t" because he was literally scared "sh*tless" his first time in prison, until he remembered that sled dog.
  • We see blood on yet another man's shirt when Ryder repeatedly shoots him in the torso.
  • A rat crawls up a sniper's pants legs, resulting in him accidentally shooting his rifle, striking a villain in the head, killing him (with bloody results). We later see blood splattered all over the subway car window, as does Walter, and Ryder jokes that the person shot was the brains of the operation (a joke related to the gore). We also see a blood on that dead man's face.
  • Cops surround two of the criminals, and when one goes to fire his weapon, many cops riddle the two with gunfire, killing them (with very bloody results).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Ryder and his goons obviously have bad attitudes for hijacking a subway train, holding people hostage for money, and killing some of them.
  • Walter's new boss at the rail control center has a bad attitude toward him.
  • Ryder refers to Camonetti as a "grease ball" (presumably an ethnic slur based on the latter's last name).
  • We hear that Walter has recently been demoted due to allegations of him accepting a bribe while on a business trip in Japan. He adamantly states he's innocent, but then later admits to doing so, although under pressure from Ryder to do so or else the criminal will shoot another hostage.
  • Connected via a laptop's wireless Internet connection, a teen or young woman at home is mad that her boyfriend -- a hostage on the subway train -- doesn't simply tell her he loves her.
  • We hear that Ramos was a former MTA motorman who ended up killing some passengers while high on cough syrup (meaning in an accidental crash).
  • Said as a taunt, Ryder tells Camonetti, "I'll f*ck you in your grease ball ass."
  • We hear that Ryder siphoned $20 million in his work years ago.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Ryder and his goons hijack a subway train at gunpoint and then give the city (via Walter) one hour to get them $10 million or they'll start killing their hostages one for every minute the money is late. Throughout the film, we then see onscreen titles showing how many minutes are left.
  • One of Ryder's goons holds his gun on the subway train's conductor and then escorts her through the train at gunpoint.
  • As a transit authority cop approaches, Bashkim signals for the train to hit the brakes on his command. It does, the cop falls forward, and Bashkim repeatedly shoots him with a handgun, bloodying his shirt and killing him. That's followed by Emri firing his machine into the train car's ceiling as a warning for everyone to stay down.
  • After learning that Walter has left, Ryder is mad, wants him back, and threatens to kill a hostage at the end of a brief countdown if Walter doesn't return. Others race to find Walter and get him back in position before it's too late.
  • Armed S.W.A.T. members take their positions inside the subway tunnel, including snipers who have easy shots at Ramos and Ryder (as seen via the sniper scope's POV), but not the other two gunmen.
  • Ryder holds his handgun on a hostage's head, threatening to shoot him if Walter doesn't admit to accepting a bribe in the past.
  • We see a rat scurrying along a sniper's leg, and when we return to that scene, the rodent crawls up his pants leg, apparently biting him and causing him to fire his rifle prematurely.
  • Ryder goes through another countdown of threatening to shoot a hostage, this time a mother with her young son nearby. Another man then stands up to put the focus on him. After he tells Ryder to do it, Ryder shoots him several times, killing him (with bloody results).
  • Walter slowly pushes a railway cart (carrying the ransom money) through the tunnel up to the hijacked subway car where he's frisked by the criminals and then ordered aboard.
  • Ryder places a device on the car's throttle and then he, his gang, and Walter get off the car, sending it down the tracks with no driver and increasing speeds that toss about the hostages still inside. We see their panic and the speedometer showing the increase, and hear others worry that the car will derail. It ultimately doesn't, but comes to a quick stop when automatic breaks kick in.
  • When he has the chance, Walter retrieves a hidden handgun from one of the bags of ransom money. As he and the criminals cross an underground track in front of an oncoming train, Walter stays behind and then flees as two of the criminals shoot machine guns under that train, trying to hit him. He hides for a bit and then gets the courage to venture back out into the tunnel, gun drawn.
  • Walter chases a cab (containing a villain) on foot and then in a truck that he takes at gunpoint.
  • Walter aims his handgun at a cab driver, but that man says the villain got out and is now on foot across a bridge. Walter then goes looking for the villain, spots him, and aims his gun at him. He then barely avoids an oncoming train as he walks toward the villain who implores Walter to shoot him (as cops with their handguns drawn cautiously approach). Walter won't, so the villain reaches for his gun, prompting Walter to shoot him once, downing and presumably killing him.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine guns: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • Federal Reserve guards carry shotguns.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*ck-nuts," "Or I'll f*cking kill you," "Big f*cking deal," "Stay the f*ck down," "What the f*ck /is going on/is wrong with you?" "My f*cking lucky day," "M*therf*cker," "Get the f*ck out of here/there," "Don't f*ck this up," "It's running like a f*cking Swiss watch," "You're f*cking good," "F*cking grease ball," "That's f*cking it," "How f*cking much?" "That's f*cking heroic," "I don't f*cking think so," "I hope they f*cking don't get lost," "F*ck me" (nonsexual), "What the f*ck's happening?" "I'm a f*cking hostage," "We all f*cking know it," "F*ck you," "He can f*cking kiss my ass," "That's multi-f*cking-tasking if you ask me," "M*therf*cking liar," "Who the hell you'd f*ck to get this job?" "I'll f*ck you in your grease ball ass," "Don't f*ck it up," "F*ckers," "What's taking so f*cking long?" "You're more f*cked up than I am," "No f*cking way," "F*ck it," "I f*cking love you," "F*cking city," "No sh*t," "Don't bullsh*t me," "He can eat sh*t," "Oh sh*t," "Take a sh*t," "I was scared sh*tless, literally," "Sounds like he slept with my ex," "He can lick my bung-hole," "He'd be my bitch in prison," "Shut up and walk," "Who the hell is this?" "What is he, a G*ddamn accountant?" "Maybe he's not such a douche-bag after all," "You're damn right," "I gotta take a piss," "Bitch of a way to find out," "I left my Rudolph Giuliani suit at home," "Chick," "She was an ass model," "We all owe God a death," "Somebody got their head out of their ass," "Pissed off," "Did she freak out?" "What the hell are they doing?" and "You're my G*ddamn hero."
  • The criminal behavior, action, and stunts might be enticing for some kids to try to imitate.
  • Ryder has large tattoos on his neck.
  • As a dramatic way of giving "the finger" to someone, Walter puts his hand down inside his vest and then pulls it back out, with his middle finger exposed.
  • A teen or young woman playfully lowers her shirt on a web-cam to show her cleavage-revealing bra to her boyfriend who's watching on his computer in the subway train.
  • Ryder gives "the finger" to a sniper who's targeting him.
  • Walter gives "the finger" and mouths the "f" word to Ryder in absentia.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Bashkim shoots open a lock on an electric panel in the tunnel.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful, ominous, and action-oriented music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song includes use of the word "m*therf*ck" as well as "bitch."
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 102 "f" words (16 used with "mother," 3 used sexually as is the term "screwing"), 21 "s" words, 1 slang term using male genitals ("pr*cks," and another possible one, "d*ck"), 13 asses (2 used with "hole"), 5 hells, 4 damns, 2 S.O.B.s, 6 uses of "G-damn," 2 of "Oh God" and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes," "For God's sakes," "God," "Jesus Christ," "Oh Jesus" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see miscellaneous cleavage.
  • A teen or young woman playfully lowers her shirt on a web-cam to show her cleavage-revealing bra to her boyfriend who's watching on his computer in the subway train.
  • Hearing Ryder state there are worse things than death, another man jokes, "Sounds like he slept with my ex."
  • About something else, a person states "You don't get that by screwing someone," adding that the person's wife knows about that.
  • Ryder tells a story about taking a "chick" who was an "ass model" to Iceland. This is referenced several times.
  • Ryder jokingly states that Walter has a sexy voice and would be his "bitch" in prison.
  • About Walter being the one to take the ransom money down to Ryder, one man sarcastically asks him, "Who the hell you'd f*ck to get this job?" Walter says himself, and the man replies that it's always easier to "f*ck yourself."
  • Said as a taunt, Ryder tells Camonetti, "I'll f*ck you in your grease ball ass."
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Hearing Ryder state there are worse things than death, another man jokes, "Sounds like he slept with my ex."
  • A hostage, with her young son with her, implies that her military husband is dead (referring to him in the past tense).
  • A reporter asks the mayor about the latter's divorce, but the mayor doesn't answer that.
  • Walter calls his wife and informs her of what's occurring, including that he's to take the ransom money to Ryder down in the tunnel, thus worrying the wife who then watches some of the events unfold on TV.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Hijacking and hostage situations.
  • Working for a transit authority system.
  • The comment that the mayor makes just $1 a year, but is nevertheless a wealthy man (from other sources).
  • We hear that Ramos was a former MTA motorman who ended up killing some passengers while high on cough syrup (meaning in an accidental crash).
  • Ryder's comment that we all owe God a death (meaning our own).
  • VIOLENCE
  • Ryder holds his gun on a subway train's motorman (driver), with Ramos then striking that man, bloodying his nose.
  • As a transit authority cop approaches, Bashkim signals for the train to hit the brakes on his command. It does, the cop falls forward, and Bashkim repeatedly shoots him with a handgun, bloodying his shirt and killing him. That's followed by Emri firing his machine into the train car's ceiling as a warning for everyone to stay down.
  • Bashkim shoots open a lock on an electric panel in the tunnel.
  • Ryder shoots a hostage several times, killing him, with bloody results.
  • A speeding cop car crashes into a cab, resulting in it going airborne.
  • A cop on a motorcycle slams into a vehicle and goes over that (just him, not the bike).
  • A truck slams into a police transport car, sending it flipping and falling off a bridge where it lands hard on the street below and is then hit by one or more cars.
  • Ryder goes through another countdown of threatening to shoot a hostage, this time a mother with her young son nearby. Another man then stands up to put the focus on him. After he tells Ryder to do it, Ryder shoots him several times, killing him (with bloody results).
  • A rat crawls up a sniper's pants legs, resulting in him accidentally shooting his rifle, striking a villain in the head, killing him (with bloody results). That results in two other criminals firing out of the subway car with their machine guns, and the hostages inside falling to the floor for cover (no one else appears to be hit).
  • When he has the chance, Walter retrieves a hidden handgun from one of the bags of ransom money. As he and the criminals cross an underground track in front of an oncoming train, Walter stays behind and then flees as two of the criminals shoot machine guns under that train, trying to hit him.
  • Some hostages fall and/or are tossed about when automatic brakes kick in on a runaway subway train car.
  • Cops surround two of the criminals, and when one goes to fire his weapon, many cops riddle the two with gunfire, killing them (with very bloody results). One keeps shooting as he goes down, but we don't know if anyone is hit by his gunfire.
  • Walter aims his handgun at a cab driver, but that man says the villain got out and is now on foot across a bridge. Walter then goes looking for the villain, spots him, and aims his gun at him. He then barely avoids an oncoming train as he walks toward the villain who implores Walter to shoot him (as cops with their handguns drawn cautiously approach). Walter won't, so the villain reaches for his gun, prompting Walter to shoot him once, downing and presumably killing him.



  • Reviewed June 9, 2009 / Posted June 12, 2009

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