Review of 'Taxi'

taxi.jpg Pizza delivery scooter driver Daniel Morales (Samy Naceri) is finally issued his taxi driver licence. His talent at speeding allows him to get his clients where they need to go in record time…though they may not feel too well when they get there. The law finally catches up to him. Hapless police inspector Émilien Coutant-Kerbalec (Frédéric Diefenthal) has failed at several attempts to capture a group of German bank thieves but he realises this speed racer could help him finally put them behind bars. Dangling the promise of a clean police record, Daniel is coerced into helping Émilien trace the highly organized gang.

A simple, humorous story of an incredibly talented driver just trying to do what he loves while attempting to evade the law. There are some absolutely incredible race sequences here that have us on the edge of our seats as we are taken at breakneck speed through the streets of Marseilles. Besson delivers a frenetic and tremendously fun light film on the old troupe of loveable law-breaking rogue seeking redemption teaming up with the inept police.

It is the humour that may surprise many and there is a great deal of this here including Daniel forever being interrupted at the last minute from bedding the beautiful girl, the incredibly disastrous attempts of the police attempting to stop the violent thieves with ensuing multi-car pile-ups and, of course, the predictable reaction of the chief inspector as he gets caught in the chaos. “Taxi” is not exactly high-brow but it is hugely great fun – A film that never takes itself too seriously: When Daniel is asked to put his foot down he calmly replaces the standard steering wheel of his meek-looking Peugeot with a racing steering wheel, presses a button to change the standard wheels to racing wheels and, of course, yet more buttons to engage the various systems he has painstakingly installed in the previous years. Challenging the thieves driving their sleek Mercedes to a race at a local racing track Daniel, of course, easy puts them in their place…in his Peugeot (queue gaffaws). This is modern farce and all the better for it. The pace of the film does occasionally drag but this is more than made up for with the well choreographed action sequences.

With the huge success of this film there were the inevitable sequels that never seemed to capture the simple pleasure of this original film and took the whole thing WAY too far (a rocket on a car, seriously?).

Originally released in French, I watched “Taxi” in an English dub.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2020-10-18

Directed by: Luc Besson

Studio: ARP Sélection

Year: 1998

Length: 86 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Other reviewed films by Luc Besson: