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Why does Hollywood do it? Why does such a high percentage of their product consist of remakes, adaptations and re-imaginings? Actually the answer to that is simple and well known - they have no imagination left, no ideas and no stories. Well they do have one and his name is Tim Story, as worthless a hack as any in the kingdom. This is the genius who brought us Fantastic Four remember, and Taxi serves as the introduction to his complete lack of narrative ability that should have warned the producers of FF not to go anywhere near him.

Taxi

Feature


A remake of the Luc Besson penned French hit of the same name, this updates the action to New York while keeping many of the same basic elements. Belle (Latifah) is a cycle courier who finally gets her taxi licence after five years of trying. Her pride and joy is her souped up cab in which she takes more interest than in her boyfriend Jesse (Simmons). She's barely on the road when idiot cop Washburn (Fallon), fresh from bungling a counterfeiting bust and having his driving licence revoked, jumps in her cab to pursue some bank robbers who turn out to be Brazilian supermodels led by Bundchen.

Soon enough the pair are on stakeouts together, trying to solve the case even though Washburn has been thrown off it and tearing around the streets of New York in Belle's supercharged cab. Will they overcome their initial dislike of each other and foil the robbers? Sadly the answer is yes, as every buddy/cop cliché is trotted out without managing to create a single funny scene or memorable line or an ounce of chemistry between the two stars. Latifah is perfectly decent but Fallon is a bit of mystery. What he lacks in talent and charisma he more than makes up for in annoyance and, though he's not unlikeable and tries his best, his sub Mike Myers mugging is tired and tiring.

Most of the appeal of the original lay in the purity and verve of the car chases, but an overdose of CGI here strips away all the kineticism until all that's left is a hyper-edited orgy of screeching tyres and cutaways that provides no excitement whatsoever. Worse than being merely lacking in entertainment, Taxi is actually incompetent, with atrocious continuity and actors appearing to read lines from off-screen. The plot is idiotic beyond belief and the structure is lamentable—chase, supposed comedy scene, chase and repeat. Terrible.

Taxi
Video
Picture quality is very good indeed with barely a flaw to be seen, as should be expected from such a new film. Colours are pin sharp and vibrant with loads of bright reds and yellows and these are handled superbly, while the enormous amount of movement proves no obstacle, with a complete lack of bleeding or smearing. Clarity is outstanding throughout and black levels are rock solid, with night scenes also very well presented and plenty of depth in the shadows.

Audio
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is competent but not outstanding given the nature of the film. Driving scenes are its bread and butter and, while there are lots of good crashes and squealing tyres at the front, they surprisingly don't create an especially immersive sound stage. The LFE channel does provide some nice throaty engine noises but the rears are generally more interested in music than effects although there is some good, if rare, movement from front to back. The opening cross town traffic sequence should set the pace but ends up being quite tame with only the odd whoosh from the rears and not a lot of movement. Some tremendously pinging gunfire towards the end of the film will wake you up if you've dozed off but by then it's too late.

Extras
Commentary: Director Tim Story loves everybody (‘the great Jimmy Fallon!!!’) in this dreary track that focuses mainly on how perfect everyone is and how much fun they all had. He touches on some of the changes that took place from the French version and where many of the locations were, but there isn't a moment of insight or interesting anecdote to be had.

Taxi
Deleted Scenes: As if the film weren't enough there are four deleted scenes averaging about a minute each, none of them worthwhile, none of them missed—Central Park Detail, Line Up, Washburn At Belle's, The Swap.

The Meter's Runnin': Making Taxi (20 mins): This featurette combines behind the scenes footage with cast and crew interviews. There are some interesting moments of location shooting but it's mainly a puff piece that only further serves to highlight the blandness of Fallon.

Lights, Camera, Blue Screen (5 mins): A nice insight into how many of the chase scenes were filmed, this shows how footage of the actors working against a blue screen is composited with real location film in order that Story can better direct the actors without worrying about speeding vehicles.

Tour Guide: Jimmy Fallon (5 mins): Oh dear. Fallon accompanies us on a stroll around the set while trying to regale us with witty banter, but it's pretty desperate stuff that doesn't raise a smile.

Reel Comedy: Taxi (20 mins): Comedy Central presents this clip heavy promo with two morons interviewing Fallon and Latifah in a taxi quickly becoming tedious. They move on to Bundchen for some of the same before coming back to the two stars for more inane ramblings. Another featurette that barely deserves to be watched once.

Beautiful Criminals (3 mins): This rather useless inclusion is basically a montage of scenes from the film featuring the Brazilian supermodels. Not really sure why I'm complaining.

Inside Look: A trailer for Rebound starring Martin Lawrence. The joy.

Taxi
Overall
This is certainly one to avoid even though it's pretty solid in the AV department. Extras may be plentiful but they're lacking in quality although there is the option of watching the theatrical cut or the extended version which comes with six extra minutes. If you must take a look at Taxi then, for your own sanity, watch the theatrical version. On the other hand you can probably pick up the French original for a couple of quid—a far better proposition.


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