Taxi (1998 film)

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This article is about Taxi, the 1998 film. For other uses, see Taxi.
Taxi
TaxiPoster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Gérard Pirès
Produced by Luc Besson
Michele Petin
Laurent Petin
Written by Luc Besson
Starring Samy Naceri
Frédéric Diefenthal
Marion Cotillard
Manuela Gourary
Emma Sjoberg
Bernard Farcy
Music by Akhenaton
Cinematography Jean-Pierre Sauvaire
Production
company
ARP
TF1 Films Productions
Le Studio Canal+
Cofimage 9
Studio Image 4
EuropaCorp (uncredited)
Distributed by ARP Sélection (France)
Lions Gate Entertainment (US)
Release dates
  • 8 April 1998 (1998-04-08)
Running time
86 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget FRF 53,000,000

Taxi is a 1998 French action-comedy film starring Samy Naceri, written by Luc Besson, and directed by Gérard Pirès.

It has three sequels, Taxi 2, Taxi 3, Taxi 4 and one remake, Taxi (2004). It also provided the premise for the US TV show, Taxi Brooklyn in 2014.

Plot[edit]

In Marseille, France, a young Vespa[clarification needed] 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 Lilly (Marion Cotillard), a large group of delivery boys throw a huge celebration in honor of his departure as he goes with Lilly 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, Émilien (Frédéric Diefenthal), is a clumsy, sloppy young police detective who just failed his 8th driver's test after crashing into a butcher's shop. At work, he is visited by police Sergeant Petra (Emma Sjöberg) (with whom he is helplessly in love) who reminds him of a meeting with his boss, a neurotic Commissioner Gibert (Bernard Farcy), who is currently troubled by robberies committed by a German gang which operated in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany and is now in France, using Mercedes-Benz 500E cars as escape vehicles.

Using information provided by the gang itself, Gibert places several units with police officers and militia in civilian cars, just as the robbers arrive. Petra is placed with Gibert, while Émilien is with a militia soldier and a backup driver. Just as the robbers arrive at the bank, they take a long time, and Émilien 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, Émilien 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 (Émilien, under pressure from his mother, Camille, lies that he works for IBM). Daniel eventually pulls his gadgets and engages in a high-speed drive through the streets, prompting Émilien to reveal his true job and apprehend Daniel.

After interrogating Daniel, Émilien asks for help with the German gang in exchange for keeping his license. After checking the pictures of the cars, he informs Émilien that the cars' tires are over-inflated, and concludes that the tires could only come from a garage owned by Kruger (Gregory Knop). After abandoning Lilly once again, Daniel joins Émilien at a stakeout of the garage. The gang arrives at the garage during the night. The next morning, Émilien tries to interrogate Kruger, but he opens fire at the duo and escapes.

Later on, Émilien is watching a movie and gets an idea on how to catch the gang, so Gibert devises a new plan. This time, they wait near the bank, and a sniper shoots a tracking device onto the car. The plan is initially a success, but as the gang arrives at a secluded garage, they repaint the cars silver, destroying the tracking device. Although Gibert sets up a 10-km cordon around the garage, none of the gang has any of the money with them, so Gibert is forced to let them go.

As Daniel finishes his shift and is ready to finally make love to Lilly, Émilien and Camille arrive, since their apartment was burned to the ground (as he accidentally left the stove on), forcing them to temporary bond with them. Daniel goes with Émilien to work and they discuss how the gang escapes so quickly. Émilien thinks that they switch cars, but Daniel realizes that they are actually repainting them from red before the heist to silver. 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 Émilien return, finding that Camille and Lilly had actually grown close with stories of their past and smoking pot. Daniel and Émilien 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 could not do it after his father ended up wheelchair-bound after a car accident when he was 15 and he ended up making deliveries, while Émilien reveals that his father died when he was 17, and he had to quit school to find a job, and he could only get accepted into the police service without graduating. After forming a bond of friendship, they devise a plan to catch the gang.

The next day, Émilien 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 turn all the avenue signals red to clear 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 Émilien are given medals by the police commissioner and praised for their action, and Petra agrees to go on a date with Émilien. Daniel is told that although he was given a medal for his work, he will still be without a license for his driving crimes. After he objects that he feels like a prisoner without his own car, the commissioner offers him an idea.

Some time later, Daniel is in a Formula 3000 getting ready for the French Grand Prix with Émilien and Lilly. He is however, unsatisfied with the cheering police officers and Gibert and the Marseille Police as his sponsor. Émilien encourages him to not think, but only drive and be the best. Daniel starts his engine, and the scene ends as the race starts.

Box office[edit]

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.[1]

Remake[edit]

An American remake also titled Taxi was released in 2004, starring Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon and Gisele Bündchen. A remake of the original film as a summer series known as Taxi Brooklyn aired in 2014 on NBC.

The 2004 Bollywood film Dhoom also draws heavily on the plot of Taxi.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alison James (May 14, 2006). "Gauls hail a cab with fourth 'Taxi'". Variety. 

External links[edit]