Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3

I guess I should have known what a motor man was before I saw this movie. I know it has something to do with a city's Department of Transportation.

Denzel Washington performs well in another movie pointing the hero finger at him. Walter Garber is his name and he is a director in the transportation department in NYC. Washington is not the reason to watch this movie. His character is not that appealing but that was the way it was written. John Travolta is the reason to watch this film. He has taken some time off and he had a heavy personal loss. He is the villian in this movie but this villian is meaner than his crazy persona in Broken Arrow. He shared the nutcase role in Faceoff with Nicolas Cage. That character, probably one of the most wicked of them all, Castor Troy, was a long lasting and a professional terrorist. The character in Pelham, named Ryder, is a bad ass in his own right. He is not a true sociopath though, no way. He is only interested in making a fortune.

Ryder hijacks a subway train and directs the conductor to take the subway train into a strategic location. Ryder demands $10 million from the city of New York in cash. The viewer thinks this is about that money and only that money. But the movie is good to me since I enjoy financial discussions. This cash demand from the city is only a ploy for something bigger.

Luis Guzmán is one the team of Ryder's. Phil Ramos is his name and he used to be a subway conducter but he tossed that away with stupidity and spent time in prison because of it. Ryder and Ramos spent time in prison together and that is where they most likely hatched this devious plan. Two other hired guns were on the team as well to keep the hostages at bay and to ward off police SWAT teams that ofcourse would be called into this conflict.

Ryder negotiates with Garber for the most part. He treats others like trash and has the advantage since he has hostages at bay. And he has shown the willingness to kill. He kills the conductor right in the beginning when the city does not satisfy one of his demands quick enough. One the people Garber treats poorly is James Gandolfini's character who is the Mayor of the city. He is an average mayor but he is not Rudolph Guliani. And the great mayor is shown some respect in the beginning with a sharp comment centering on his resolute image.

John Turturro is the city's hostage negotiator named Camonetti. When they let Garber go home in the beginning, relieving him of this situation, Camonetti takes command. Ryder is not OK with this, and this is what leads to a hostage to be vanquished. Garber is quickly run down but it is right after the conducter is shot down in cold blood by Ryder.

Ryder made some comments in the movie about him serving breakfast, so I thought he worked at Ihop or something like that. But I knew he had financial knowledge right in the beginning since he quickly turned to numbers with Garber. It is later revealed Ryder siphoned off money from a public employee's retirement fund, something like this and this is why he was sent to prison. Two million dollars though was not recovered and this is the cornerstone of this crime. Ryder creates panic in gold or the market in general by this heinous act and he has shorted the market. He may have used a spot or timed by since he mentioned this in the beginning. Either way, he was betting the market would decline and at the end of this movie, he turned $2 million into over $300 million. Incredible. An outstanding plan.

Ryder's plan is ingenious because he probably told his partners in crime they would all receive $2.5 million dollars. He made them carry the money bags at the end which probably did not bother them at all. This made them an obvious target for the police. He probably did not even inform these knuckleheads how much money he was going to come out with. And if his plan did not work, he would have a little more money than what he started off with but in cash. The main problem though is, he has sinned greatly. Mayhem needed to be created to spark this market plummet.

The movie had some good hip hop music at the outset. It was exciting. Ryder had a potty mouth and the work f--- and its brothers and sisters were used repeatedly in this movie. This did not bother me that much. It was just interesting because I have never heard Travolta toss this language out with so much frequency. I doubt that many Wall Street guys like this are mavericks like this, or as cold hearted. Many Wall Streeters have courage, farsightedness and are willing to take risk, but Ryder is cut above them all. He is also greedy and tossed away his life, two different times.

I really like the plan. But this movie is a remake, it is not original. It is hard to judge. It is not Star Trek or Wolverine by no means but it was entertaining.

I allocate this movie three stars.***

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