Taking of the Pelham 1 2 3 opens tomorrow and it has the feel of one of those movies that you know is going to suck before you hear anything about it.
It won’t suck just because John Travolta sucks, but because it is impossible to remake a 1970s caper film with 2009 technology and still have it be a good movie. Those old movies relied on characters to use their own intelligence, wits and savvy and get ruined as soon as you introduce technology.
In fact, I think you could argue that technology, computers, cell phone and the Internet have completely destroyed the caper film, and turned all action movies into some form of the spy genre. The original Pelham 1 2 3 was awesome because it was just some dude on the radio to the hijackers. And it was real because that was all you had. Now you’d have to deal with @WalterMatthau twittering for advice after getting a text message from the bad guys while CNN turns it into a month-long drama and no one would care. It’s like how being able to read a map is a useless skill today.
Imagine how bad a French Connection remake would be. The whole chase would be completely nullified by a helicopter tracking the train while Gene Hackman logs onto the GPS to find out where the next stop is, even though everyone is traced on their BlackBerry signals. And the French is an easy fix with Google Babblefish.
Walter Matthau was the kind of awesome old guy who would look at a shiny new gadget and say, “What the hell is this?” and any of his movies would be ruined if those gadgets were involved. The Bad News Bears kids would capture him on their phone cameras and put it on YouTube for Catch a Predator to get a hold of. And the Odd Couple would be a quick CraigsList fix.
Stop remaking awesome 1970s movies. They were awesome because they had to use their own wits and not rely on technology so the remakes don’t hold up.