This is the story of a train being highjacked and the people on it kidnapped, being held for ransom. This is a remake of the 1974 film, which had a title with the numbers spelled out as in "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three." This update shows the bad guys having more sophistication. John Travolta plays the lead character of Bernard Ryder, who is the head of the terrorist gang. Denzel Washington plays Walter Garber who is the head of the Metropolitan Transit Authority in charge of the subway trains. Garber is under investigation for accepting a bribe when purchasing replacement trains from Japan.
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Bernard and his men, Ramos (played by Luis Guzmán), Bashkim (played by Victor Gojcaj) and Emri (played by Robert Vataj) capture the Pelham train at gunpoint, disconnect all except the first car, where they hold the hostages, and demand a ransom of $10 million dollars. Ramos used to be a subway operator, so he knows how to run the train. They discover an undercover cop on the train. Bashkim promptly kills the cop. After this, everyone, including the Mayor of New York (played by James Gandolfini), realizes they are deadly serious.
One of the train passengers was using video chat to talk to his girlfriend before the highjacking. Now, it shows the hostage situation. They connect the live video chat feed to show it on television, so everyone in the world can see exactly what is happening. This makes the Mayor pay the ransom. A jerk NYPD officer Lt. Camonetti (played by John Turturro) takes over the negotiations from Garber forcing him out. This angers Ryder so much that he kills the train operator. The police are not supposed to take action but a rat startles at officer who has trained his rifle on Ramos and he shoots him. Ryder demands to talk only to Garber and that Garber has to bring the ransom money. Camonetti reluctantly agrees as long as Garber allows Camonetti to search his house for evidence in the bribery case. Garber agrees. he calls home to tells his wife the police are coming to search the house. She asks him to buy milk for her on the way home to let him know she expects him to get through all of this. Ryder learns about Garber's bribery case on the news. He gets Garber to confess he took the money, by holding one of the passengers at gunpoint and threatening to kill him. Garber confesses and says that he needed the money to send his kids to college, but also he would have recommended those same train cars anyway.
Garber takes the bag of ransom money to deliver it. A cop gives him a gun to conceal. Garber boards the train, gives them the money, then they force him to drive the train. They make an unplanned stop between stations and the highjackers escape with the money, putting the train in full ahead speed by locking the controls. Garber escapes the highjackers, and then follows them. They come out of the subway tunnel to enter the Waldorf Astoria. Bashkim and Emri split away from Ryder, but are soon caught by police and killed in a shoot-out. Garber follows Ryder to the bridge in a taxi. Ryder checks his laptop and sees that he made over one hundred million dollars shorting the stock market due to the crisis of confidence he caused. Ryder gets out to walk because of a traffic jam. Garber follows and catches up to him. Garber holds him at gunpoint by Ryder insists he shoot him rather than turn him over to the police. Ryder pulls his weapon out, so Garber has no choice but to shoot him. As Ryder dies, he calls Garber a hero. The Mayor offers to help Garber with the bribery case and get rid of it, now that Garber has saved the day. Garber goes home and on the way remembers to buy milk for his wife.
Best part of story, including ending:
The best part was that Ryder was not really after the ransom, but instead the profits made from shorting the stock market, which were much larger. This was not in the original 1970's version.
Best scene in story:
I like the scene when the girl discovers the video chat with her boyfriend has changed into a live feed of the hostage situation, because she gets it on television so everyone can see what is happening.
Opinion about the main character:
Ryder is a vicious criminal, but his idea to short the stock market is very clever.