Taxi (1998 film)
|Directed by||Gérard Pirès|
|Produced by||Michele Petin
|Written by||Luc Besson|
|Distributed by||France ARP Sélection
Lions Gate Entertainment (US)
|Running time||86 minutes|
In Marseille, France, a young Vespa delivery boy named Daniel (Samy Naceri) has just finished his last delivery for a local pizza parlor, Pizza Joe, owned by Joe (Georges Neri), his boss, also beating his old record, as he is planning to quit the job to pursue a career as a taxi driver. As he reunites with his girlfriend Lily (Marion Cotillard), a large group of delivery boys throw a huge celebration in honor of his departure as he goes with Lily to his apartment.
The next morning, after waiting for 6 hours to get his taxi licence, Daniel reveals his white 1997 Peugeot 406, and goes on his first shift of the day. He travels to the local plaza and picks up his first customer, an elderly woman named Camille (Manuela Goaury), whom he drives a mere 50 meters to her flat, helps carry her groceries, and gives her his number to call if she needs more service. His next customer is a panicked businessman who needs to arrive at the airport in only 20 minutes. Daniel reveals his gadgets and modifies the car before starting the engine. He roars through the streets of Marseille and arrives at the airport in only 14 minutes, causing the passenger to vomit as he exits the cab.
Meanwhile, Camille's son, Emilien (Frédéric Diefenthal), is a clumsy, sloppy young police detective who just failed his 8th driver's test after crashing into a meat shop. At work, he is visited by police Sergeant Petra (Emma Wiklund) (with whom he is helplessly in love with) who reminds him of a meeting with his boss, a neurotic Commissioner Gilbert (Bernard Farcy), who is currently with problems concerning the robberies committed by a German gang who operated in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany and is now in France, using supercharged Mercedes-Benz 500E Turbo cars as escape vehicles.
Using the information provided by the gang itself, Gilbert places several units with police officers and militia in civilian cars, just as the robbers arrive. Petra is placed with Gilbert, while Emilien is with a militia soldier and a backup driver. Just as the robbers arrive in the bank, they take long, and Emilien accidentally causes a huge traffic accident by opening the passenger door. Due to the confusion, another convoy of cars (the French Minister's escort) start firing at the officers, with the robbers making their escape. The next day, Emilien is picked up by Daniel who was called by Camille, and they have an argument about the importance of jobs as a taxi driver and a police officer (Emilien lies that he works for the IBM). Daniel eventually pulls his gadgets and engages a high-speed drive through the streets, prompting Emilien to reveal his true job and apprehend Daniel.
After interrogating Daniel, Emilien asks for help concerning the German robber gang in exchange for keeping his licence. After checking the pictures of the cars, he informs Emilien that the cars's tires are over-inflated, and concludes that the tires could only be available at a garage owned by Kruger (Gregory Knop). After abandoning Lily once again, Daniel joins Emilien at a stakeout at his garage and the German gang arrives at the garage during the night. The next morning, Emilien arrives and tries to interrogate Kruger, but he opens fire at the duo and escapes.
Later on, Emilien is watching a movie and gets the idea to catch the gang, and as such, Gilbert sets up a new plan. This time, they wait near the bank and a sniper shoots a tracking device on the car. The plan is initially a success, but as the gang arrives at a secluded garage, they arrive into a truck and repaint the cars silver, destroying the tracking device. Although Gilbert creates a 10-km block around the garage, the gang manages to elude them as they carry no money with themselves, and Gilbert is forced to let them go.
As Daniel finishes his shift and is ready to finally make love to Lily, Emilien and Camille arrive, since their apartment was burned to the ground (as he accidentally left the stove turned on while leaving the apartment), forcing them to temporary bond with them. Daniel goes with Emilien at work and they discuss about the ability for them to escape so quickly. Emilien thinks that they switch cars, but Daniel realizes that they are actually repainting them, red before the heist and then silver afterwards. He contacts one of his friends about the paint and realizes that they have a place on a local race track. After finding a truck in which they were repainted, he confronts them at the track and provokes them into a race, which he wins.
The same evening, Daniel and Emilien return, finding that Camille and Lily had actually grew close with stories of their past and smoking pot. Daniel and Emilien share their past while smoking, with Daniel revealing that he was an underachiever and that his dream was to be a race driver, but he couldn't do it after his father ended up wheelchair-bound after a car accident when he was 15 and he ended up in deliveries, while Emilien tells that his father died when he was 17, and he had to quit school to find a job, and he could only be accepted into the police service without his graduation. After forming a friendship bond, they devise a plan to catch the gang.
The next day, Emilien snatches the keys of 20 traffic light controllers and creates exact replicas of the keys and provides Daniel with a closed radio line and 20 chatters. He gathers several of Pizza Joe delivery boys and places them at the exact traffic lights through the large avenue. As the robbers gather at the race track and collect the money, Daniel follows them after they depart the truck back to the streets.
Daniel approaches them and offers a new bet to provoke them, which escalates into a wild chase through the streets. As the delivery boys turns all the avenue signals red to clear out the path for the trio, he cuts through several alleyways and then arrives onto the freeway. Daniel then turns on the section of a bridge under construction, with the huge gap between the two unfinished sides. Daniel slams on the brakes in the last second, while the gang jumps over the gap on the section of the bridge, only to reveal that the gaps are on both sides, trapping them, and they are arrested.
Later on, Daniel and Emilien are given medals by the police commissioner and praised for their action, and Petra accepts to go on a date with Emilien. Daniel is told that although he was given a medal for his work, he will still be without a licence for his driving crimes. After he objects that he feels like a prisoner without his own car, the commissioner offers him an idea which Daniel listens to.
Some time later, Daniel is in a Formula 3000 getting ready for the French Grand Prix with Emilien and Lily, as he was offered that solution. He is however, unsatisfied with the cheering police officers and Gilbert and the Marseille Police as his sponsor. Emilien encourages him to not of think of anything, but only to drive and to be the best. Daniel informs him to open the bottle of champagne and he starts the engine, and the scene ends as the race starts.
In terms of box office admissions, the "Taxi" series is one of the most successful French franchises ever, grossing a reported total of $200 million worldwide and 23 million admissions in France.
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