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Feature


Daniel (Samy Naceri) is a delivery boy in Marseille, France. Renowned for his speedy driving he quits his Pizza Delivery job and becomes a taxi driver. Hitting the street in his kitted out 1997 Peugeot 406, Daniel begins taking fares and taking Taxi driving to a whole new level.
 
Meanwhile the German Mercedes gang are committing robberies all across Europe and the French police force are determined to shut them down on their turf. Unfortunately Emilien (Frédéric Diefenthal), who keeps failing his driving test and messing up police operations due to his clumsiness has one last chance to keep his job and when he enlists Daniel’s help, the pair take on the German Mercedes gang tearing through the streets of France.

 Taxi
Taxi is a whole lot of fun. It’s bright, breezy and doesn’t take itself too seriously. The high octane driving sequences are very easy to enjoy and the silliness of the situation most of the time is rather charming. It’s sort of a teen boy’s dream movie in that its full of cops and robbers, fast cars and hot women (boy, does Marion Cotillard look all kinds of great in this flick) and really it wears all of these factors on its sleeve and never tries to be much more than fun.

Produced by Luc Besson and a mega hit in France, it’s very easy to see how this 1998 film (where has 16 years gone?)  has spawned many a madcap sequel and even that iffy US remake. There’s something very simple at the core of all this and it’s all very safe, despite the machine guns and car accidents, in fact it’s almost Looney Toons in its approach to action, so whatever the mad turn it takes - a car that transforms for speed like K.I.T.T. used to in later seasons of Knight Rider, headlong into traffic car chases and unfinished bridge jumps that defy all logic  - it all just works within the story as a whole and you look forward to getting back in the fast cars and heading off at break neck speed into the next little encounter.

 Taxi

Video


This warm largely naturally lit film looks pretty stunning from the get go. Black levels are a tad crushed and blue-ish in the shadows and some of the heavier black heavy close ups can look a bit too blue tinted at times but this is an otherwise great looking presentation. Primary colours (and there’s loads of them) leap off of the screen. Yellows are particularly striking and the bright in your face style of the film feels more alive than ever in HD.

The interior darker scenes are a little softer and grain is more apparent which in turn shows off the film's age and budget a little but even these lesser good looking scenes have slivers of great lighting to keep everything glowing and can keep up the good level of textures and detail that keeps this bright and lively looking Blu-ray flashing about the place, making use of its fresh new HD home.

 Taxi

Audio


I’ll cover the 5.1 track here as it features a wider, crisper sounding track even though that may not be the for the film’s benefit. The basics here such as dialogue and sound effects sit cleanly and clearly up front but can vary in volume levels from time to time, often sounding softer than they did in the scene previously at times. The score is much livelier, dancing around the rears a fair bit in a clean crisp fashion. However rears can often feel rather disconnected from the frontal elements, rather than working in unison with them but it tends to be strong enough to keep the film driving along despite that.

Bass levels are inconstant but always underpin the score where the beats are required and add an extra thump to the sound effects when they want to hit home. Really this track sounds a bit dated and the disconnect between sound effects and score give the film a rather cheap feel. The two elements just fail to feel like they are working in unison sometimes and while that’s is an issue with the film’s creation rather than the audio track, this 5.1 track really highlights the separate elements in ways the alternative tighter PCM track manages to handle much better.

 Taxi

Extras


The only real extra here is the original ‘Making of’ (15:21 SD) which is a good look behind the scenes and features chats with the leads but beyond that it’s just the trailer that’s the only other thing on offer.

 Taxi

Overall


Taxi is a blast. It’ silly, manic and often chucklesome but it still all adds up to a fun time to be had. The Blu-ray is bright and colourful but struggles to absolutely impress due to some issues in darker scenes and some scenes feeling a bit grainer than I’d like. The audio track also has a few issues but it's largely down to the film’s age as opposed to the disc itself. All in all this is the best Taxi has looked and sounded on home release and while extras are thin and nothing new, fans of the film or those looking for a fun time speeding around France should be pretty pleased with this.

* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.


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