Money Train

Details At A Glance

Category Action Theatrical Trailer(s) No
Rating Other Trailer(s) 1
Running Time 106 minutes Commentary Tracks None
RSDL/Flipper No/No Other Extras None
Region 4    
Distributor Columbia Tristar    
RRP $34.95    

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG No
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (5.1 & 2.0 surround-encoded)
French (5.1 & 2.0 surround-encoded)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1    
Macrovision Yes    
Subtitles English 

Plot Synopsis

    The Money Train stars Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as John and Charlie, who are foster brothers and who are both transit police working for the New York subway system. The movie opens with Charlie (Woody) playing a drunk in an attempt to catch petty thieves who have been preying on drunks on the subway system. They capture one of the thieves, but the other one runs down the track and is narrowly missed by the Money Train, which we are told is the train that circles the subway system collecting the day's takings from all the stations. As a result of this narrow miss, the young petty thief unfortunately tangles with the police guarding the Money Train and is shot dead. This then leads to the introduction of the chief of the transit system, Patterson (Robert Blake). It is made clear that Patterson is the Bad GuyTM. John and Charlie are so annoyed by his attitude that they decide to rob the Money Train, and then immediately completely forget about this plot point for the next 45 minutes or so. It is of note that the three lead male characters - John, Charlie and Patterson - only have single names. This equates with the depth of their character development.

    At this point, the obligatory female love interest character is introduced - Grace Santiago (Jennifer Lopez). She does have two names, unlike the males in this film. She is a transit policewoman who is assigned to John and Charlie's team (why?). Predictably, a Love TriangleTM develops, with both John and Charlie interested in Grace.

    Next, another subplot is introduced, which involves a very unsavoury character who likes to go up to the women who work in the subway toll booths, splash them with petrol and set them alight. This character exists solely for the purpose of generating two action-filled chase sequences (which are quite entertaining by the way).

    Next, we find ourselves on the Money Train with John, Charlie and Grace getting into a fight with the police guarding the train. This sequence exists to show us that the Money Traincould be robbed fairly easily. We then cut to John and Charlie discussing how to rob the train. This sequence rounds off with John and Grace dancing together; Grace clearly fancies John over Charlie.

    Mixed up in all of this muddle is a gambling debt for $15,000 that Charlie has incurred. He is pursued for this with increasing vigour. John gives the money to Charlie, but a little old lady robs Charlie of the money whilst he is on the way to pay it back. This leads to Charlie being told that his brother would be killed if John did not pay the money owed. John learns of this by telepathy and goes and beats up the hoodlum in a badly choreographed Fight SequenceTM.

    Charlie by now is very depressed, and comes over to John's place to talk to him. Unfortunately, in a case of very Bad TimingTM, Grace is in bed with John at the time Charlie chooses to visit. Charlie becomes even more depressed, and so he heads off to rob the Money Train.

    The remainder of the movie comprises the Final Climactic Action SequenceTM, involving a runaway Money Train. There are some enormous plot holes during this sequence, such as;

    John joins Charlie, and tries hard to convince him to give up the idea of robbing the train, amidst the general chaos of these scenes. One of the scenes during this action sequence involves the Money Train being derailed - this is just a rip-off of the same sequence in Die Hard 3. Come to think of it, Die Hard 3 also featured two "buddies" - one black, one white. Hmmm, someone's not being original here...

    Finally, the movie ends, and not to disappoint us, it serves up another two Hollywood clichés in quick succession - the Bad Guy Gets His Just Deserts SceneTM, where Patterson is punched out by both John and Charlie and then arrested by Grace, and the Unexpected Plot Twist Right At The EndTM, where it is revealed that Charlie has kept some of the money from the train, so he can repay his debt and live Happily Ever AfterTM.

Transfer Quality


    This is an exceptionally good DVD transfer. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. Much of this movie occurs in dimly-lit areas, and the shadow detail is superb throughout with no trace of noise. The few bright scenes shown in the movie are always crystal clear. Colours are beautifully clear throughout the movie - even in the most subdued scenes. The colour balance is spot-on at all times. No MPEG artefacts were seen. I only noticed two print artefacts throughout the transfer. The only very minor complaint about the video transfer was very occasional aliasing (shimmer) - this happened three times during the transfer, and only for very brief periods of time and in very small areas of the picture.


    There are four soundtracks encoded on this DVD - Dolby Digital English and Dolby Digital French, both in 5.1 and 2.0 (surround-encoded) formats. There are no MPEG encoded soundtracks at all on this disc. The default audio format is Dolby Digital English 2.0. Columbia Tristar have an inexplicable habit of making the 2.0 soundtrack the default instead of the 5.1 soundtrack. I have no idea why they would choose to do this - all DVD players will downconvert a 5.1 soundtrack to a 2.0 analogue soundtrack automatically, so there is no reason whatsoever to default to the inferior soundtrack.

    Dialogue was almost always clear and intelligible, except for a very few scenes where music made it just a little bit difficult to clearly hear the dialogue. The surrounds were used extensively during the action sequences, with an enveloping and convincing soundfield being created during these sequences. The surrounds were also used to create atmospherics during parts of the rest of the movie, and to spread the music around the listener at times. Split surrounds were used with reasonable effect during this movie. There were numerous occasions, however, when the only audio was coming from the centre speaker.


    There are no extras on this disc, just the standard Columbia Tristar teaser trailer, which by the way is recorded in Dolby Digital 2.0. I won't go on about this, but it would be nice to see more extras.


    This movie is a below-standard action flick. The plot is thin and boring, merely serving as a transition between one action scene and the next. The use of one cliché after another will have you cringing. The action sequences themselves are generally stock standard action sequences - nothing that you haven't already seen a thousand times before, except perhaps for the second action sequence involving the arsonist which was a little original.

    The video transfer is superb, like pretty much all Columbia Tristar releases, and the audio, especially in the action sequences, creates a convincing soundfield which draws you into the otherwise fairly mediocre scenes.

Ratings (out of 5)

Extras nil

Michael Demtschyna
14th September 1998

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer