The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (Tony Scott) - 2009

This is basically a two-man show with Denzel Washington as Everyman and John Travolta as the psychotic train hijacker with a bizarre sense of humor but not really.  Several violent ex-cons led by Travolta grab a New York subway train in an elaborate scheme to obtain a $10 million ransom from the mayor (James Gandolfini).  In an over-the-top performance, Travolta manages to terrorize the entire city with his threat of mass subway murder.  Washington plays it low-key and we all know where this one is going but director Scott makes it flow.  Fortunately, subway hijackings are rare but why would anyone want to live in New York City? [JAM 1/8/2011]