About Me

Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    Take “Pelham 1 2 3”

    By kyle | June 12, 2009

    I was thoroughly thrilled by the remake of “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3,” the original of which used to be a mainstay of (I think) channel 9 TV back in the 1970s (or was it channel 11?). I never saw the movie as a kid and didn’t know what that title meant, being a Western Massachusetts lad. It always sounded like the weirdest title to me. Anyway, I’d give the remake 3 1/2 stars and I’m glad to call it one of the finest New York City subway movies of all time. (The original might be no. 1 in this department, though “The Warriors” is close.)

    (And I’m very perturbed by a graphic, in the remake, that indicates the 6 train goes through 34th Street/Herald Square. Please. The 6 is an east side train. Herald Square is on the west side.)

    (And as a west sider of long standing, I have to give favorite-son status to “The Warriors,” who of course came down the west side, even hightailing it out of the 96th Street 1-2-3-9 stop in a nicely evocative scene.)

    The new “Pelham” departs substantially from the original and comes up with an action-packed third act to replace the detective work of the original. This wasn’t the best part of the movie but worked well enough until the somewhat ridiculous final ten minutes. What I liked best was the wiseass dialogue and the strange camaraderie of the terrorist and the train dispatcher. Not that anyone could top Robert Shaw, much less the incomparable Walter Matthau, but Travolta and Denzel do a fine job of seeming like the warmest of enemies and their strange relationship does become convincing. Lou has more on the differences between Joseph Sargent’s classic original and Tony Scott’s more kinetic remake. Bottom line: See them both.

    Topics: Movies, New York City | No Comments »