Taxi (I) (1998)
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The movie was written and produced by Luc Besson, director of such films as Leon (aka The Professional in the USA), The Fifth Element (with Bruce Willis), Kiss of the Dragon (with Jet Li and Bridget Fonda) and Nikita (aka La Femme Nikita in the USA).
The story follows Daniel, a moped pizza delivery guy who has worked to fulfill his dream of becoming a Marseilles taxi driver. He has tuned and tweaked his own taxi into something a little special... something a little out of the ordinary... I don't want to give the game away so I'll leave it there!
The film is a fast paced thrill ride that crosses the boundaries of action, comedy, romance, farce and buddy movie amongst many other genres. The characters are likeable, the humour is quick and snappy and the driving is fast and furious (some of the best chases seen on screen for a few years). After a short while you barely realise that you are reading the subtitles. The storyline may not be particularly original but it is well executed overall. The soundtrack is funky and fits in perfectly with the film.
It's not Shakespeare, but it never sets out to be Shakespeare. So if you are looking for a nicely shot film, suitable for just about anyone, give it a try.
It's got style and it's got speed.
What more do you want?
Fortunately for Daniel the police has some trouble with a Mercedes-gang. Bank robbers who even inform the police before they rob a bank, with a Mercedes as the getaway car. Since Daniel knows much of cars he can help Émilien solve the case and keep his drivers license. Émilien desperately wants to solve this case because he wants to impress Petra (Emma Sjöberg), the girl he is in love with but always looks down on him. Daniel agrees since his driving is his life. He has to miss a lot of quality time with his girlfriend Lilly (Marion Cotillard) for this.
I agree with you if you say the story sounds familiar. That part is not very original although it has some original touches. Daniel, for example, was a pizza delivery boy before he started his job as a taxi driver and the early scenes that deal with this fact are a lot of fun to watch. But the story is not what 'Taxi' is about. It is about funny moments and some good action. I have to admit there are plenty of funny moments, every scene between Daniel and Lilly is terrific, the action looks good and the cinematography for this kind of movie is perfect. Although the character of Daniel can get on your nerves, a little too much of a wise guy, Samy Naceri does a nice job portraying him.
In the end I enjoyed this movie very much. The clichés and simple choices sometimes (the bad guy grabs his gun the minute Émilien reveals himself as a police officer who wants to ask some questions) can not spoil the fun the movie has, and therefore the audience. Don't expect a 'Lethal Weapon' but it is not that far from it.
The down side of the movie is that it has a very bad plot and some boring scenes.But it is all worth it when the car scenes come. The dialogue is sometimes very funny and so is the french police.
So if you like fast cars and incompetent police officers then this is the movie for you.
The motion picture blends action packed, cars pursuits, humor, shootouts, rip roaring and is pretty amusing. From the start to the ending the action pace is fast moving, provides fast and furious entertainment with spectacular scenes.Displays nonstop action and is extremely bemusing and hilarious. There are chases galore in breathtaking velocity and with impressive finale race cars, filmed by magnificent stunts and excellent visual effects. Luminous cinematography and adequate musical score fitting to action by Akhenaton. The picture is lavishly produced by great producer and director Luc Besson and well directed by Gerard Pirés. Followed by three sequels : Taxi 2(2000), Taxi 3(2003) y Taxi 4(2007), all directed by Gerard Kraczyc and same actors and an American version with Queen Lafitah and directed by Tim Story. The flick will like to adrenaline lovers and those young people looking amusing and strong emotions, It's a must see for the cars buffs.
A mismatched pair of heroes is pretty much standard in action films (Lethal Weapon being the most famous case), but here is works well as they manage to be more than just stereotypes and are believable even if their circumstances aren't. Both characters come across as real people, flawed, but likeable, especially the roguishly charming Daniel.
Despite being an action film, special-effects are kept to a minimum and although they are a large part of the film, the high speed car sequences are never self-indulgent, peppered with humour and brilliantly directed so as to hold the attention of even of the most "seen it all before" viewers (i.e. me).
All in all a refreshing change from Hollywood comedy or action films and one which I would happily watch again and again.
I am VERY glad I did, this film is excellent, and put me onto the path of discovering foreign cinema by starting at the best. Sure it may not have the high budget thrills that Hollywood seem to think are necessary in such films but for breathtaking action and some hilarious comedy moments Taxi is amazing. Filmed on location for a lot of it, there are some stunning shots of Marsielle, the marina and countryside etc.
So for brilliant action, comedy, and a fair bit of sexiness, Taxi is an ideal film. Tres bon!