Reviewed by: Trinity

Luc Besson is one of the few original French filmmakers who bucks the normal socio-realist trend and produces his own kind of films. So when you take a story by Besson and ally it to a suitably large budget with a suitable helping of car chases, bullets and high-octane action, you're sure of a fun time.

Taxi is not a film to be taken seriously. From the moment that Dick Dale's Misrilou (now forever connected with Pulp Fiction) pumps out of the speakers over the credits sequence it's clear that we're in post-Tarantino territory. But Tarantino is not the only director to be satirised here. The title, Taxi, references Scorsese's Taxi Driver, and even Besson's films get worked into the mix.

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The plot follows two men in Marseilles, one an ex-pizza delivery boy who wants to be a taxi driver, the other a cop who wants to be a success. They are brought together when a group of German bank thieves descend on the city causing chaos in the police force.

The talents of a high-speed driver who knows his vehicles are called for. What's really spectacular is not the functional script but the tremendous action set pieces. From the opening motorcycle tour of the streets, through to the thrilling finale, no expense is spared to bring the action to the screen. Plenty of cars are crashed, there's one big shootout that rivals Heat for bullets used and loads of French-German jokes.

The film is definitely tongue-in-cheek: just look at the flip down panel on the taxi which reveals custom features that even James Bond would be proud of. Add the stunning locations in and around Marseilles and what you have is a stunningly simple yet exhilarating cops and robbers film.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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A wannabe taxi driver finds himself hooked up with a bungling cop, investigating a bank heist.
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Director: Gerard Peres

Writer: Luc Besson

Starring: Samy Naceri, Frédéric Diefenthal, Marion Cotillard, Manuela Gourary, Emma Sjöberg, Bernard Farcy, Georges Neri, Guy Quang, Maurice Murcia, Sabine Bail, Dan Herzberg

Year: 1998

Runtime: 86 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France


EIFF 1999

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