Taxi begins with Daniel’s (Samy Naceri) last day at Pizza Joe and he’s done a lap of Marseilles on his delivery scooter to mark his final shift. However, just as he’s getting down to business with his missus, Lilly (Marion Cottilard), he’s realised he needs to go and sign up for his new job – a taxi driver.
Starting as he means to go on, he drives around far too fast, resulting in one customer who needs to get to the airport urgently, seeing Daniel speeding and panics, “I don’t want you to lose your licence”, to which Daniel quips, “It’s okay, I haven’t got one(!)”
However, it’s not long before such tomfoolery ends him up in trouble with the cops, and one of his next customers is Émilien (Frédéric Diefenthal), a total prat and a member of the police team who are trying to take down a German group of bank thieves in France known as the Mercedes Gang, because they drive around in red Mercs as they carry out their robberies.
At first, it feels like a movie version of Crazy Taxi, but then settles down into a typical buddy action movie, one guy as the ne’er-do-well mad driver who hates the law, and the other is the law himself, and they find there’s a minor connection with one of Daniel’s first customers being the cop’s mum, Camille (Manuela Gourary), while Émilien is forever trying to (badly) woo tall, blonde Chief Inspector Petra (Emma Wiklund), who’s clearly way out of his league, but he’s too stupid to realise that. It’s like he’s trying to channel the spirit of Jim Dale in the Carry On films, but with not much of the comedic value.
Taxi is a silly and predictable romp, but an easy 90 minutes to watch. Also, the first bank shoot-out is rather sloppily directed, in terms of who’s placed where and when as it’s rather all-over-the-place, but the driving scenes all look fantastic so they more than make up for that.
And I’m not sure if the music’s been remastered, but the end theme continues on for almost a minute after the credits have finished.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition, and it looks pin-sharp, bright and colourful, showing off the car chases brilliantly.
The sound is in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, and there’s occasional use of split-surround, which is done very well and adds to the enjoyment of the film, so certainly worth seeing in this audio format.
The brief extras are as follows:
- The Making of Taxi (15:21): Made at the time in 4:3, led by director Gérard Pirès talking about how he wanted to work with Luc Besson, but also featuring chat from other members of the cast and crew, including a look at the music and the stunts. I’ve not seen any of the sequels, but Pirès was replaced with Gérard Krawczyk for all three so I’d be interested to see where they go next, but I hope they’re not as formulaic in the apparent plot.
- Trailer (1:48): Presented in the original 2.35:1.
Chapters are fine with 16 – better than the usual 12 most distributors give. I would always recommend one every 5 minutes, so that’s near enough, here.
Subtitles are in English (and can’t be switched off, in case you’re French and want to watch this without them), while the main menu mixes clips from the film with the theme which is the 1941 version of Misirlou, as reworked by Greek-American music instructor Nick Roubanis.
Running time: 90 mins
Released: November 10th 2014
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Super 35)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Gérard Pirès
Producers: Luc Besson, Laurent Pétin and Michèle Pétin
Screenplay: Luc Besson
Music: Akhenaton (as IAM)
Daniel Morales: Samy Naceri
Émilien Coutant-Kerbalec: Frédéric Diefenthal
Lilly Bertineau: Marion Cotillard
Camille Coutant-Kerbalec: Manuela Gourary
Petra: Emma Wiklund (as Emma Sjöberg)
Commissaire Gibert: Bernard Farcy
Joe: Georges Neri
Pizza Joe Motorcyclist: Guy Quang
Pensioned Taxi Driver: Maurice Murcia
Femme Préfecture: Sabine Bail
Paulo: Dan Herzberg
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.