Taxi 5
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Taxi 5

Released in France almost 20 years ago to the day, the original Taxi movie quickly became a national sensation. Conceived and produced by Luc Besson, I Can Only Imagine the $8 million Marseilles-set action comedy raked in more then eight times its budget at the worldwide box office back in 1998, launching the careers of its two stars — not to mention its young co-star, Marion Cotillard — while spawning three successful sequels over the next decade. (This doesn’t include the woeful 2004 American remake, starring Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon in roles they’d probably like to erase from their IMDb pages.)

Even if each new film proved to be more or less worse than its predecessor, there was a certain charm to the Taxi franchise’s cartoonish melange of Champions slapstick humor, gonzo road stunts and recurring gags involving a bunch of nincompoop cops and the one badass cab driver who constantly steps in to save the day. Sort of like The Fast and the Furious, but with less action — although Taxi 2 did the car-parachuting-from-an-airplane stunt a long time before Furious 7 — and as if everyone both behind and in front of the camera had taken way too many drugs, the movies had a fun-and-dumb approach to the genre that worked on its own B-grade level.

Back for another go at it after more than 10 years, but with a new cast toplined by actor-director Franck Gastambide, Taxi 5 comes rolling Reach into French theaters and winds up driving straight off a cliff. Yes, this literally happens during a big chase toward the end of the film — but the film itself is truly a five-car pileup of a comedy, with jokes hitting the lowest common denominator and then hitting the ground, and a director at the helm who doesn’t seem to know the first thing about his craft. Not that the other Taxi flicks were comic masterpieces, but compared to this one they look like they were made by Billy Wilder at the height of his powers. Still, local fans should turn out for some of the mayhem, although not necessarily in droves this time.

Duration: 102 min

Release:

IMDb: 4.7

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