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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 <email@example.com>
Based on the 1974 classic of the same name, this TV version looks very much like a regular TV show, spread out over two hours instead of one. This remake does indeed suffer from modest budgets, a less than sterling cast. Vincent d'Onofrios, stepping into Robert Shaw's "Mr. Blue" ringleader role, seems bored, wooden, and unaffected by the entire scenario. Likewise, Edward James Olmos (filling Matthau's shoes) is equally as bored and wooden as d'Onofrios. Poor Brooklynite Lorraine Bracco is reduced to a supporting role (formerly played by Jerry Stiller) that does not make use of her endless talents.
What is most irking is the fact that the NYC-based flick was filmed in Toronto, Ontario. Exterior shots, subway stations, and particularly subway equipment looks nothing like the grimy, intimidating system that is New York's. New York's transit system is as much a celebrity as the city it holds together. Few cities in the world can be quickly identified by their form of subway transport as New York's. One big demerit for the producers on this one (no fault of Toronto, eitherit is a marvelous city, to be sure).
With the one exception of an emotional relationship established by highjacker "Brown" (Tara Rosling) and her 'angel of mercy' female conductor "Babs Cardoza" (Babs Cardoza), all other subplots among the hijackers and characters were not developed. The deliciously menacing "Mr. Grey" character, played to perfection in the original by Hector Elizondo, was reduced to an angry, almost juvenile person by Donnie Wahlberg.
The overall feeling is choppy and suspenseless. One gets the feeling the original movie was being watched closely during filming, with the director causally removing chunks of original script.
Even though TV movies are in an entirely different category than those produced in Hollywood, there is no reason for quality scripts to go M.I.A. TV budgets may be limiting, but the believability in the characters need not suffer.
Stick with the original. Watch this remake to satiate the curiosity factor only.
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