Taxi (1998)

Thursday, April 03, 2008
Watching Luc Besson's original Taxi brought to mind that classic movie quote... I feel the need, the need for SPEED. And oh boy do you get a big dose with this film.

Daniel (Samy Naceri) is a scooter-driving pizza delivery boy with a secret desire to be a professional race car driver. As that's not likely to happen but his life is still going nowhere fast, he decides to make a change. Daniel trades in two wheels for four and becomes a taxi driver. There's only one problem...his car is no ordinary cab. It's a suped up, slicker-than-ox-snot Peugeot 406 that he likes to drive at a very safe 130mph, which often results in his passengers losing their lunch post-ride.

One day he picks up Camille, an older woman who soon becomes a regular customer. Enter her son, Emilien (Frederic Diefenthal) who asks Daniel to give him a ride. Daniel begins bragging about his car, how much he hates the police and all illegal stuff he gets away with. Not the smartest idea when your fare is a cop. A bumbling, inept, failure but a cop nonetheless. It seems Emilien is about to be busted down to traffic duty because he screwed up the biggest bust the city has ever seen. In an attempt to save his career, and a chance for Daniel to keep his licence, Emilien enlists Daniel's help in trying to catch a gang of German bank robbers known as The Mercedes Gang. Eager to impress his new girlfriend (Marion Cotillard) and keep the one job he's good at, Daniel agrees. High speed chases and explosions fill their hilarious attempts at nabbing the elusive gang.

I wasn't too sure what to expect from the original French version of Taxi. From what I've seen of the previews and clips from the 2004 remake, the plots are pretty much identical except Daniel is a woman. While I can't speak for the Queen Latifah film, Besson's original is not hilariously roll-on-the-ground funny but it certainly gets it's share of laughs and it's packed with car chases, action, explosions, and enough amusing antics to keep you entertained. Since the remake also stars Jimmy Fallon, I would expect that it might sacrifice some of the great action sequences Besson included for more laughs (or at least an attempt at laughs...it's Jimmy Fallon, how funny can it be?). Sure, my summary of the plot makes it sound a bit cheesy (like a movie that stars Jimmy Fallon) but if you like cars, chases, a great soundtrack (by IAM/Akenaton), and hot French men (lots of sweating faces...ha ha!), you'll enjoy this little gem. I certainly did. Even if you skip the rest of the movie, the end of the final chase scene (which you can watch most of below) is worth the price of the rental. Will I be watching the three sequels? You bet. While it may not be a classic, it's Captain recommended.



Oh, and for the fellas...you get a couple of shots of Ms. Cotillard's naked breasts. Enjoy.

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