Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.
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Four hijackers led by Vincent D'onofrio seize a subway train in the middle of a tunnel and hold 14 hostages for a $5 million ransom. Edward James Olmos and Lorraine Bracco are the officers assigned to work out the release of the passengers. However, even the murder of some passengers are met with an apparent calm by everyone involved. The murder of a subway supervisor prompts everyone to shake their heads and go on about their business. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Keeping up with the times this 1998 remake of The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three had to change certain things and deliberately changed others. One indisputable fact was that in 1998 the New York City Transit Police had ceased being a separate entity and was now just part of the NYPD. Hence Walter Matthau's character as a Transit Cop would not have existed any longer. For this version Edward James Olmos is not only a regular NYPD detective, but he's a hostage negotiator specialist.
The change out the Transit Police was necessary, but part of what made the first version work so well was Walter Matthau being placed in a situation he wouldn't normally be dealing with. In that version in fact he's shepherding a bunch of Japanese railroad people around the Transit Authority Command Center when the hijacking occurs.
Instead of Jerry Stiller as his partner, Olmos is paired with Lorraine Bracco, certainly women by that time were doing more than administrative work in the NYPD. The mysterious head of the four hijackers is Vincent Donofrio on the other side of the law. We don't know who he is, but he certainly didn't have the air of mystery that soldier of fortune Robert Shaw did in the Seventies. In fact we never really find out anything about Donofrio.
The plot follows pretty much the story in the original version. Since it was shot in Toronto, the streets of New York where a lot of the excitement above ground as the City tries to meet the hijackers deadline is missing from this version.
Seeing Donofrio and Olmos makes me wish for Matthau and Shaw. Maybe the new version that will have Denzel Washington and John Travolta as antagonists will be better.
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