Money Train

Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes are sitting on a money machine indeed with this action crowd pleaser. The runaway-subway-train climax packs the requisite pow to make this $60 million production (the New York subway system was re-created in Los Angeles) a popcorn-movie deluxe. If only getting there really was half the fun. The script by Doug Richardson and David Loughery drags its formula ass setting up John (Snipes) and Charlie (Harrelson) as foster brothers who are also transit police working the subway beat and vying to get naked with cute decoy cop Grace Santiago (Jennifer Lopez).

The two stars are fast comic company, even though they did their buddy number before and better in Ron Shelton's White Men Can't Jump. Shelton's script had style and sass. This script has padding. Charlie is the bad boy; he's in debt to gamblers who dangle him off a 51-story hotel until responsible brother John comes to the rescue. At work the boys try to nab the Torch, a nut job who likes to burn female token clerks. Grace is the bait to catch the creep, and Lopez plays her with sexy spirit. Charlie is turned on, but it's John who beds her in a hot clinch that Charlie walks in on.

Have you noticed that all this filler has nothing to do with the money train, the armored car that carries the millions collected each day from the subway stations? That's the trouble. Luckily the film snaps into high gear when Joseph Ruben, a hit (The Stepfather) and miss (The Good Son) director, focuses on Charlie's plan to rob the money train as revenge on his nemesis, the mad-as-a-hatter MTA chief Donald Patterson (Robert Blake). It's gratifying to have the great Blake (In Cold Blood, TV's Baretta) back onscreen and chewing up scenery as the brothers take Donald's train for a whiteknuckle ride through the night that turns the dauntingly intricate subway system into a screeching demolition derby.

From The Archives Issue 88: August 5, 1971