First Look: Denzel Washington in The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three
I was pretty excited to learn that James Gandolfini had been cast as the political heavy in Tony Scott's upcoming remake of the 1974 Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three. With John Travolta attached, along with Denzel Washington, this project is shaping up to be quite cool. And with just over a year until its theatrical release, Just Jared whets the appetite a bit with some early shots of Washington looking a bit like a really pissed off crossing guard.
As Lieutenant Zachary Garber, Washington isn't so much concerned with traffic, however, as he is stopping Travolta's character, Mr. Blue, who leads a team of subway-train hijackers that hold the riders ransom. Washington and Travolta then square off in-person, as you can imagine, as the latter tries to get away. I guess the scruffy goatee and thick-rimmed glasses are meant to conjure the jaded, well-worn police veteran created by Walter Matthau (with his fedora) back in 1974.
Even though I didn't see the original or the first remake (on TV) in 1998, this sounds like it's going to be a perfectly enjoyable action flick. True, we've mostly seen Washington and Travolta in these roles - Det. Keith Frazier in Inside Man and Gabriel Shear in Swordfish, respectively – but the two are pretty good at what they do. This is a comfortable good guy versus bad guy kind of deal.
What we're not so familiar with, however, is what scribe David Koepp (War of the Worlds, upcoming Indiana Jones 4) has in store for us in this updated version. For instance, I wonder what the ransom will be this time around. In 1974 it was only $1 million, which was then updated to $5 million in 1998. Also, considering the bar set by Reservoir Dogs, will the bad guys still go by Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, and so on? More importantly, how does the story handle the ubiquity of cell phones, GPS, and video surveillance?
When asked a while ago, Koepp told MTV, "I wrote many drafts to try and put it in the present day and keep all the great execution that was there from the first one. It's thirty years later so you have to take certain things into account. Hopefully we came up with a clever way to move it to the present."
What do you think? What convincing modern-day devices might one use to hijack a subway-car and then make a clean getaway?