Review: “Taxi”

A remake of the Luc Besson French flick of the same name, “Taxi” is a rather dull action comedy punctuated by some well-shot chase sequences – which are the only things that stick out in memory from this otherwise waste of cinematic space. The plot is limp – bumbling cop and lead footed new cabbie chase down four bank robbers who also happen to be Brazilian super models (although their reasons for the robberies remains as elusive as their desire for long-sleeved clothing).

As a result you get action sequences punctuated with mismatched characters, neither of whom is particularly engaging. Latifah comes off better, having done movie comedy before and playing to her usual sassy strength – she’s the kind of girl that’s hard not to like, but even she struggles to get a laugh out of the all too thin material here that’s begging for comedy and failing almost every time. Worse still, the pairing of her with Fallon’s character seems so forced and hard to swallow that the much needed buddy chemistry so standard to these movies is just non-existent.

Fallon on the other hand is a big disappointment. He’s been a sort of fun guy on SNL but he’s just not a crossover movie comedian I’m sorry. The pale sweaty Fallon mugs constantly at the camera, trying desperately for laughs when just a simpler and more relaxed air about him would be so much better.

Esposito as his ex turned boss holds her own far better, whilst the stunning looking Gisele Bundchen as the robbery leader has little to say but proves better than you’d expect for a first time beauty onscreen. Ann Margaret provides the few genuine chuckles as Fallon’s margarita-soaked mother.

Kudos has to go to the action choreographer. The chase scenes look spectacular, kicking off with an awesome bike sprint through crowded Manhattan subways, trains, over bridge holes and amidst oncoming traffic. The scene helps set the pace for the over the top chases which fly through the streets with pace. The trouble here though is that it’s all so unbelievable – Latifah’s cab and the robber’s red BMW drive around downtown Manhattan streets at top speed without once hitting a traffic jam let alone any major crowds or obstacles short of the occasional garbage truck.

In the end while the action may be passable, the comedy utterly fails. The script has no real story (if you’ve seen the trailer you’ve seen all the plot points), whilst the characters are paper thin excuses to get the action going. Director Tim Story handled characters well in “Barbershop,” why couldn’t he bring them into this limp duck. Take the bus instead.