|Star:||Samy Naceri, Frédéric Diefenthal, Marion Cotillard, Emma Sjöberg|
|Cert / Year:||15 / 1998|
Daniel Morales (Samy Naceri) has worked for seven years as a pizza delivery boy but has now graduated to become a taxi driver. He drives his custom built souped up Peugeot taxi with little regard for the police. That is until one day he accidentally gives a lift to the hapless Émilien Coutant-Kerbalec (Frédéric Diefenthal) who happens to be a police officer. Faced with losing his licence Daniel is blackmailed by Émilien in to working with him in trying to catch the ruthless Mercedes gang who are robbing banks in their performance cars and making the police look fools. So it is up to Daniel and Émilien, the cop and the cabby, to succeed where the whole of the Marseilles police force has failed. The answer may lie in Daniel's driving skills and his souped up taxi.
Take a touch of Ronin add some of 48 hours and season with a sprinkling of The Italian job, and you have a very tasty dish called Taxi. This film is frightenly fast and totally funny in equal measures. Break neck car chases are indispersed with top notch mismatched partner scenes. The end result is a witty and entertaining roller coaster ride. This is thanks in part to the excellently witty script by Luc Besson, but also to the superb cast and great stunts.
The two main characters are brilliantly cast. The roguish good looks and charm of Samy Naceri counterpoints the diminutive charm of Frédéric Diefenthal. For once we get two characters that are perfectly matched yet realistic and that avoid stereotyping. Things are greatly helped by the obvious chemistry the to leads generate. Marion Cotillard gives fine support as Daniel's frustrated girlfriend and Manuela Gourary as Émilien's eccentric mother. However the biggest laughs are reserved for Bernard Farcy as the pathetic police chief and Emma Sjöberg as the super tough female cop. All in all this is a fine cast.
So the script is good the story is good and the actors are good. What about the car chases, well they are excellent. Take some performance cars add some top draw stunt drivers and you have the best chases since Ronin. There is no CGI here all of the stunts are real, and yes they really are driving that fast. The stunt work is flawless from the opening moped scenes to the exciting finale. This is top class driving and some of the best car chases ever, all aided by the commitment to realism.
So the film is perfect then? No, occasionally Gérard Pirès's direction lapses. For example during the chases it is nearly spot on, but every now and then a shot is included that really doesn't work. I know this is a minor gripe but its annoying given that the rest of the film is so good. My only other concern is that is does borrow heavily from the various films mentioned at the top of the review. Don't get me wrong the way in which the elements are combined is fresh and new but the existing elements have been seen before. Overall these small problems do not detract from what is an excellent movie.
So that's it, fast, funny, and very watchable another example of how the rest of the world's cinema equals if not surpasses Hollywood's current output. It's a breath of fresh air to see old-fashioned chases that don't descend into an unbelievable mess of CGI. This is a well written, well acted, and full of excellent stunts. Even the french techno rock soundtrack is good. In short watch this film. There is a sequel starring the same cast with the original title Taxi 2 and another on the way, but worryingly it appears an American remake is being made, but I won't be holding my breath.
|1.75:1||Very good picture despite not being anamorphic|
|Stereo (French)||Good but better mixes must exist. Clear burnt on subtitles.|
|Main Cast and Crew Biographies|
|A disapointing disc. More extras, a better sound mix and subtitle \ audio options are all noticable by there absense. Shame for such a good film.|