Money Train (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joseph Ruben|
|Produced by||Neil Canton
|Screenplay by||Doug Richardson
|Story by||Doug Richardson|
|Music by||Mark Mancina|
|Editing by||George Bowers
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||110 minutes|
|Budget||$68 million (est)|
Money Train is a 1995 American comedy thriller film starring Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson and Jennifer Lopez as New York City transit cops and Robert Blake as their iron-fisted boss. After losing his job, Harrelson's character plots to hijack and then rob the "money train" which hauls collected fare revenues for the New York City Subway from the system's stations.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (May 2012)|
The story begins on Christmas with two foster brothers, John (Wesley Snipes) and Charlie (Woody Harrelson), who work as transit cops, patrolling a subway in New York City. When a mugging occurs, and John and Charlie chase the mugger into the subway tunnel, all trains traveling in their direction are halted. But the harsh transit captain Donald Patterson (Robert Blake), allows the money train (a high dense single steel rail car designed to deliver the money from every station to the central command center) to continue, stating "nothing stops the money train". John and Charlie avoid getting hit by the train, however when the transit police at the next station witness the mugger running to the train, they shoot the mugger dead thinking the incident to be a robbery. The mugger is revealed to be a young teenage boy, which creates a brawl between John, Charlie, and the other transit officers, so as a result Patterson blames the two for causing his money train to arrive late, taking it as a personal sign of disrespect.
After leaving the station, Charlie asks John to borrow some money in order to buy him a Christmas present. When John accepts, Charlie instead uses the money to pay off his gambling debts to the sleazy night club owner Mr. Brown. When the deal does not go as planned, Mr. Brown intends to have Charlie killed by throwing him off the edge of the building, but John bursts in and interrupts the process. John tells Mr. Brown that he has the money for him that Charlie already owes him, but Mr. Brown reveals to John that Charlie is $15,000 in debt. John makes an agreement to have the money delivered to him within several days and to pay Mr. Brown the $300 he has brought, but have no harm done to Charlie. Mr. Brown accepts and lets Charlie live. During their night shift, John and Charlie are introduced to Grace Santiago (Jennifer Lopez), a decoy transit officer just assigned to their unit whom both brothers immediately take a liking to. During their patrol, a serial killer known as the Torch (Chris Cooper) robs a station pay booth, then sets it on fire after spraying it with gasoline. John and Charlie both rescue the pay booth worker and put out the fire, but the Torch manages to escape.
Afterwards John, Charlie, and Grace take the rest of the afternoon off at the local bar, where Charlie reveals his plan to rob the money train in order to pay off their debts. John does not agree with the situation, saying it to be impossible. Later that night, the two brothers and Grace are assigned to patrol the money train which the other officers do not feel comfortable with. While Charlie discovers a metal grate in the floor along with a ladder leading out to Central Park, a brawl breaks out between John and another officer over who was standing in his position, causing the entire squad to get involved. Patterson again blames the two for the incident and also accuses them for the loss of some money when the train arrived, but even after it is found that a collection agent miscounted the money, Patterson still continues to insult them. At the local bar, Charlie tells John that robbing the money train would still work and that the best time would be on New Year's Eve, not only because the subway security will be loosened, but it is the time when the subway makes the highest profit during the year: up to $500,000. The plan involves entering the train through the metal grate when the train has stopped, driving it to the maintenance ladder, and escaping into Central Park. John doesn't find it right to steal and while he proceeds to buy a drink, sees Grace dancing in the back alley where two agree to share a dance together, but John abruptly ends the dance and goes back into the bar.
When John and Grace meet later at a local gym, Grace asks why he left her last night which was because he promised Charlie to let him seek a romantic relationship with Grace instead of him. Grace convinces him to not ignore his own feelings that he might have for her. Later that day, John gives Charlie a gift that he had been saving for him: the $15,000 that he needs to pay back Mr. Brown. On the train, an old lady bumps into Charlie. Charlie helps her and as the next station approaches he spots a guy stealing a man's wallet. Charlie handcuffs the robber to overhead bar and while he advises the victim about what's the safest place to keep valuables, he realizes that the old lady made away with his $15000. But it's too late and the train continues its journey while Charlie sees the old lady hastily exiting the station. He goes to Mr. Brown to explain but is subsequently brutally beaten outside his club by his men. During this time John and Grace meet at his apartment and have sex.
Charlie comes back home dejected and when he looks at John's house from his window, he sees Grace and John sleeping together. John notices this and while he tries to explain, Charlie walks off saying he's happy for him, although he feels like a loser.
One evening an ambush is set up to nab Torch, where Grace disguises to be the attendant at the station pay booth. Torch notices this and to distract all the officers, pushes a man onto a running train. John leaves Charlie to keep an eye on Grace, and proceeds with the other officers to the spot where the man was killed. Torch then returns to the booth and sprays gasoline on Grace. Charlie fails to notice this as he keeps looking at the accident spot. But before Torch could light her up, Charlie alerts the other officers and shots are fired at Torch. Torch starts running and is chased by Charlie and John. John pursues him into another station and gets into a brawl with Torch. In the fight, Torch gets burnt due to the gasoline he's carrying and while he tries to ram into John, he's pushed onto a moving train. Patterson fires Charlie for all the commotion that was caused during the chase and when John speaks in favor of Charlie, he fires John too.
John then heads to the strip club of the mobsters who beat up his brother and were threatening him for failing to pay up his gambling debts and, after storming inside, beats them all up, including knocking down the criminal boss of the organization, Brown, with a 360-degree kick.
Charlie decides to go ahead with his robbery plan and to let John know about this leaves him a gift at the bar. The gift is the money train model that Charlie had earlier stolen from Patterson. John is reluctant to do anything about this but Grace persuades him to save Charlie from trouble. When the money train stops at one of the stations, Charlie enters the train from beneath it and rides away, leaving all the officers behind. Charlie stops the train near the maintenance ladder and while he tries to escape with the money, spots a group of policemen and hence is unable to escape. Meanwhile John reaches the train and persuades him to drive further to prevent being arrested. Knowing that Patterson will direct his team to trip the train's brakes, the duo agrees to bleed the brakes. Patterson then orders steel barricades to stop the train. But John increases the speed to its maximum so that the train smashes the barricade. With no more options left, transit control officer Kowalski (Skipp Sudduth) calls the money train a runaway and starts clearing tracks. But instead, Patterson diverts the money train onto a track that is occupied by a passenger train, believing that the brothers will have no choice to but to stop when they see the other train ahead. But since the money train can't stop, the resulting impact would cause a derailment killing the lives of people which Patterson takes no interest in. The train is now on full speed, without brakes and heading for danger. The brothers decide that the only option left is to put the train in reverse but doing so will definitely derail the money train, killing both of them but allowing the others to live. Charlie comes up with an idea and positions an iron bar in such a way that when the money train rams the other train, the bar trips the reverse lever. Both of them climb on top of the train and proceed to the front. Once the trains ram, the reverse lever is activated and both brothers jump across to the other train as the money train derails, spins through the tunnel and crashes in a huge wreck with Patterson watching in horror.
Both of them try to escape through the commotion but are spotted by Patterson (unknown to him that they were the robbers), They pretend to have come to help him, but Patterson rudely insults them. Fed up by his constant obnoxious behavior towards them, the brothers take their revenge and punch Patterson across the face. As he shouts out to his team to arrest them for assault, Grace comes rushing and arrests Patterson for endangering the lives of innocent people. When the two brothers exit the station they are right on Times Square where the countdown for the New Year has just begun. As they celebrate the New Year, John, while hugging Charlie, realizes he has stuffed himself with a money bag amounting to $536,435, much to his dismay. The film ends with John and Charlie walking off into the distance arguing over the money while the credits roll.
The subway car used as the money train in the film is a modified R21 subway car. The rolling stock was modified by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and film crew into an imposing subway train covered in silver armor plating and equipped with flashing orange lights and sliding barred doors, like those on a jail cell. After production, the car was donated to the New York Transit Museum, and is currently stored at the Coney Island Complex, as of February 2010. Other cars were used as props in the movie.
Four additional R30s were used for filming on New York City Subway property. These four cars were 8463, 8510, 8558, and 8569.
The actual money train resembled a normal maintenance train painted yellow with black diagonal stripes. The New York City subway system retired its money trains in 2006; the introduction of the MetroCard and computerized vending machines that allowed fare payment by credit card have dramatically reduced the number of coins stored in subway stations.
The film took in $35,431,113 at the North American box office, including $10,608,297 on its opening weekend. With a budget at an estimated $68,000,000 and a box office total of approximately $77 million, the film was a moderate box office bomb. It was generally poorly received by film critics, described by one reviewer as "a loud and truly pointless action-comedy". Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a "Rotten" rating of 22% based on 32 reviews.
In addition to its middling reviews, the film was vilified for its portrayal of a man robbing a ticket booth by running a rubber tube around the bulletproof partition and dousing the attendant with an unknown flammable liquid, then threatening to set them on fire. This crime was repeated in real life after the film's release, although the police did not think the similar crime was related to the film. Nevertheless, many people including Bob Dole called for a boycott of the film.
- Wesley Snipes - John
- Woody Harrelson - Charlie
- Jennifer Lopez - Grace Santiago
- Robert Blake - Donald Patterson
- Chris Cooper - Torch
- Joe Grifasi - Riley
- Scott Sowers - Mr. Brown
- Skipp Sudduth - Kowalski
The original music score by Mark Mancina was released in March 2011 by La-La Land Records as a limited edition of 3000 copies. The album features approximately 41 minutes of music across 17 tracks. Additional music is composed by John Van Tongeren.
- "Money Train - Box Office Data". The Numbers. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- "Money Train (1995)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
- "Money Train - Rotten Tomatoes". Rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
- "Money Train - Review Comments - Rotten Tomatoes". Rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
- Holloway, Lynette (December 16, 1995). "Token Booth Fire Attack Seems Unrelated To Movie". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
- Vandam, Jeff (2006). "Cash and Carry". New York Times. Retrieved 2006-12-31.