The Taking of Pelham 123

Rated 2.0

I’m not certain of the exact moment that John Travolta decided to squander his rejuvenated career playing a series of laughable villains, but if time travel were possible, that might be the second thing I’d change right after killing Hitler’s mom. It used to be that Travolta could make anyone from a heroin-addicted hit man to a disco greaseball likable, but starting with Broken Arrow, reaching an apex with Battlefield: Earth, and continuing with The Taking of Pelham 123, he’s specialized in peculiarly unthreatening, silent-movie-style villainy. Travolta doesn’t sport Kiss boots or dreadlocks as investment banker (boo!) turned subway terrorist (hiss!) Ryder in Tony Scott’s predictably frantic and dumbed-down remake, but he does mention “leverage” several times, and delivers a lot of weak, Terl-ready threats (“He can lick my bunghole, motherf—-er!” is a favorite in our household).