The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a quintessential 1970s New York picture, full of prickly characters and urban tension. Expletives here are as vital to communication as nouns and verbs. Even the martial, cop-movie score features horns that mimic the blare of rush hour. Walter Matthau stars as a disinterested transit cop who is called in when a team of mustached hijackers take over a subway car and demand $1 million in exchange for the hostages. Matthau mostly seems annoyed, though he redeems the low-key effort in the final scene, in which his bulldog mug itself serves as the picture’s exclamation point. For the most part, though, this is a well-cast and crafted ensemble picture, with colorful bit characters – from the flu-ridden mayor (Lee Wallace) to the foul-mouthed transit supervisor (Tom Pedi) – all adding to the distinctly Big Apple atmosphere.