ⓘ Money Train


ⓘ Money Train

Foster brothers John and Charlie Robinson are transit cops patrolling the New York City subway. On Christmas, they chase a mugger into a subway tunnel. Nearby trains are halted, but transit captain Donald Patterson allows the money train – hauling subway revenue – to continue. The teenage mugger is shot dead by transit cops guarding the money train, triggering a brawl between them and the brothers. Patterson blames John and Charlie for delaying the money train.

Charlie asks John for money to buy a Christmas present, but instead pays off gambling debts to mobster Mr. Brown. Brown intends to throw Charlie off a building, but John intervenes. Revealing Charlie is $15.000 in debt, Brown accepts John’s promise to deliver the money in a few days.

John and Charlie both take a liking to Grace Santiago, a newly assigned decoy transit officer. When a serial killer known as the Torch robs a token booth and sets it on fire, John and Charlie rescue the booth attendant and put out the fire, but Torch escapes.

John rejects Charlie’s plan to rob the money train to pay off their debts. When they and Grace are assigned to patrol the money train, Charlie discovers a grate in the train’s floor and a maintenance ladder leading to Central Park. A brawl breaks out between John and another officer, quickly involving the entire squad. Again blaming the brothers and accusing them of taking some of the money, Patterson continues to berate them even after realizing a collection agent miscounted. Charlie tells John the best time to rob the money train would be New Years Eve, due to looser security and the year’s highest proceeds: up to $4.000.000 that night.

John gives Charlie $15.000 to pay back Mr. Brown, but Charlie loses it to a thief on the train and is beaten by Brown’s men. Returning home, he is saddened to spot Grace and John sleeping together.

In a sting operation to apprehend Torch, Grace is disguised as a token booth attendant. Realizing the trap, Torch distracts police by pushing a man in front of a moving train, killing him. Torch sprays gasoline on Grace, but before he can light it, Charlie alerts the other officers, who open fire. John pursues the killer into another station, where they fight. Torch is burned by his gasoline and killed by a moving train. Patterson fires Charlie for ruining the ambush; trying to defend Charlie, John is fired as well.

John storms into Mr. Brown’s club, after hearing about Charlie and defeats the mobsters utilizing his Kung-Fu skills, threatening Brown if anything happens to Charlie, knocking him out with a 360-degree kick into a glass enclosure.

Grace persuades John to intervene in Charlie’s robbery. Charlie enters the money train from beneath and drives it to the ladder, but is unable to escape with the money due to the presence of a group of cops. Reaching the train, John persuades Charlie to drive further to avoid arrest, and they disable the brakes to prevent Patterson activating them remotely. Patterson deploys a steel barricade, but John increases the train to maximum speed and smashes through. Transit control officer Kowalski declares the money train a runaway and starts clearing tracks, but Patterson diverts the train onto a track occupied by a passenger train to prevent its escape. The money train rams the passenger train and slows down, but speeds up again, continuing to ram the train with increasing risk of derailing it and killing everyone on board.

Without brakes and the throttle jammed, the brothers decide to throw the train into reverse to save the passenger train. Charlie positions an iron bar to trip the reverse lever, and the brothers climb on top of the train. The trains collide, activating the reverse lever, and the brothers jump across to the passenger train as the money train derails.

The brothers try to escape but are spotted by Patterson. Fed up with his abuse, they punch him in the face. As he shouts out for their arrest, Grace arrests Patterson for endangering the passengers’ lives. The brothers exit onto Times Square just as the New Year countdown begins. During the celebration, John realizes Charlie has a bag with over $500.000.


1. Cast

  • Wesley Snipes as John Robinson
  • Robert Blake as Donald Patterson
  • Scott Sowers as Mr. Brown
  • Joe Grifasi as Riley
  • Skipp Sudduth as Kowalski
  • Chris Cooper as Torch
  • Jennifer Lopez as Grace Santiago
  • Woody Harrelson as Charlie Robinson

2. Production

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. Two money train cars were later sent to the New York Transit Museum.


3. Release

The film took in $35.4 million at the North American box office, including $10.6 million on its opening weekend. In 2005, USA Today characterized it as a "bomb".

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 was composed by John Van Tongeren.


4. Reception

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 22% of 32 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 4.3/10. The sites consensus states: "Loud, incoherent, and aimless, Money Train reunites Snipes and Harrelson -- and proves that starring duos are far from immune to the law of diminishing returns." Brian Lowry of Variety wrote that it "bounces along with a lame script and inconsistent pace". Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote, "More viscerally charged than Speed and hipper than Die Hard With a Vengeance, the movie is a careening, screeching joyride that showers sparks like fireworks." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Examiner called it "a cut above the usual" buddy cop film due to the stars chemistry and its well-crafted action scenes. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times described it as "a by-the-numbers action-buddy picture" that is "an acceptable if undemanding venture". Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly rated it D+ and called it "a big, noisy headache of a movie." Hal Hinson of The Washington Post called it a feeble and cliched buddy film.

Filmink said the film "exemplifies bloated dumb 90s action. J Lo is good though."

In addition to its poor 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 films release, although 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.