This movie has enough action and good acting to keep your interest. This despite a contrived story line that reduces the movie to almost a parody. Now, this graphically depicts a lot of ugly and vicious acts; shootings, high speed auto collisions, profane language, people being humiliated and terrorized, all set in a dysfunctional and ugly urban landscape. The problem is that in this movie even the good guys are bad. Everyone has different degrees of badness. So, it is unclear as to ho to root for and against. Denzel Washington plays Garber, the hero of movie. Yet, Garber's character is so flawed (we learn that he is under investigation for having taken bribes and has been demoted) that he's not even an ant-hero. He's a failed city bureaucrat. Accepting him as hero, or even liking him, is a real stretch. Then there is the role of the police. After the train is hijacked, there is a massive police response. Hundreds of police are deployed to the scene in the tunnel, and then ... do nothing. The after the head hijacker, played by John Travolta, shoots a hostage the police still do ... nothing. Now the movie is absurd. Then the movie resorts to all kinds of contrived action to build tension. All ridiculous. Instead Garber, who is a civilian, takes charge of the situation. After he delivers millions of dollars in cash to the hijackers (that scene itself borders on the absurd), he then eludes the hijackers, and finally, confronts the ringleader on the Manhattan Bridge while the police (no surprise) are cringing in fear. An especially interesting part of movie is its depiction of how the city manages to collect $20 million IN CASH in a half hour and how the police are reduced to being delivery boys, while Garber, who is actually an ex-motorman, engages in complex negotiations with the hijackers. It is apparent that this movie was made to showcase Denzel Washington. It certainly wasn't made to applaud the police. The movie shows police officers on motorcycles transporting sacks containing millions of dollars. Why one or more of the officers didn't abscond with the dough is not explained. But it certainly would have made for a more interesting and plausible movie.
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