Taxi (1998) Second Sight Blu-ray Review

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I am a big fan of Luc Besson. His films Leon and The Fifth Element are two of my favourites, and this one, Taxi, is another I look highly upon. Written and presented by Besson, and directed by Gerard Pires (L’entourloupe), Taxi has found a release on Blu-ray in the United Kingdom thanks to Second Sight Films, a company I thoroughly respect and enjoy, with their diversity of releases bringing so many excellent titles to the Blu-ray format in the last couple of years.

While I’m on a roll in terms of claiming myself to be a fan of things, I will add another “thing” to that list. French cinema. I love French films, from classics like Jean-Luc Godard’s “À bout de soufflé”, to quirky beautiful movies like Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “Amelie” and thousands of others, there is something about the tone and style of French film that draws me in and captivates me, enchants me and completely grips me. Tax is one of the mainstream French movies to cross over and gain the attention of film fans across the world and while it didn’t break any box office records, it is still possibly one of the better known French movies in the past few decades, so it is fantastique to finally see it given a nice, sparkly and handsome blu-ray release.

A comedy-cum-action-cum-crime film, Taxi follows Daniel (Samy Naceri), a delivery boy who gets his taxi license, much to his extreme happiness. Forced, under the deal that if he doesn’t he will lose his license for speeding, Daniel has to work alongside an incompetent cop named Emilien (Frederic Diefenthal) in order to catch a group of bank robbers. Emilien’s motivation for catching the criminals is to impress a girl who doesn’t like him, yet he adores, named Petra (Emma Wiklund). Daniel, attempting to hold onto his long-wanted taxi license, has to miss out on spending time with his beautiful girlfriend Lilly (Marion Cotillard). The action is there, and there is plenty of high excitement here, but the main positive and draw of this movie is the interaction between the taxi driver and the police officer, their banter offering lots of humour as they selfishly attempt to locate the criminals for their own needs.

I enjoy this film very much, and the characters are much more than you might be used to in your run-of-the-mill action titles. The sleazy and cringe-worthy one-liners that made The Expendables films possible aren’t here, but rather a much more interesting, realistic and intelligently penned dialogue between two men who are likeable yet flawed, allowing them to appear to have more depth and dimension that the usual action-film pairings. With gorgeous cinematography from Jean-Pierre Sauvaire (Paris Lockdown) and an excellent score from Akhenaton, it is a charming movie. Not the most original in terms of storyline, it is the relationships in the story that make this film so good, and there is plenty of laugh-out-loud funny moments and edge of your seat action to provide a constant stream of enjoyment. It is one of those films that is not only worth re-watching, but it demands it, it just gets better with repeated viewings.

The Blu-ray release from Second Sight Films is on par with the previous Second Sight titles I have delved into, and that means it is top notch. It’s glorious picture and sound quality is as good as it has ever been, showing the streets of Marseilles in vivid detail. For special feature fans, there is a trailer and an enjoyable albeit short (15:20) making-of featurette. With DTS Master Audio 5.1, it sounds terrific, and overall, if you like or love French film or are already a fan of Taxi, I recommend picking this up. I will be definitely revisiting it again and again, and that is more than enough of a reason to grab this lovely release.

Taxi is available on Blu-ray, from Second Sight Films, now.

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