In today’s N.Y. Times A.O. Scott makes a good point about The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, which is that the “stubborn, earthbound fact of the subways serves as an anchor” for director Tony Scott. “The gritty physicality of subway cars and tunnels balances the director’s signature flights into G.P.S. and Google Earth-inspired bird’s-eye moviemaking, constraining his indulgences much as it limits the options of both the criminals and the civic authorities in the movie.

Another good quote: Costars Denzel Washington and John Travolta “interact mostly via squawk box, cellphone and radio. But even at a distance from each other, they conduct a tag-team master class in old-style movie star technique, barreling through every clich√© and nugget of corn the script has to offer with verve and conviction. Even when you don’t really believe them, they’re always a lot of fun to watch.”

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 “is neither too raw nor too nostalgic,” adds Entertainment Weekly‘s Lisa Schwarzbaum. “And in the hands of director Tony Scott, it’s relevant but not too distressing, something that doesn’t shy away from jolting violence but is also, you know, fun. It’s an open-hydrant whoooosh of an action thriller.”