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Film: Taxi

For other works named Taxi, click here.

Taxi is a French action comedy movie from 1998 written and produced by Luc Besson and the first of a series of four. The main protagonists are Daniel Morales (Samy Naceri), a Badass Driver from Marseilles who quits his job as the city's fastest pizza delivery boy to become the city's fastest taxi driver, and Emilien Coutant-Kerbalec (Frédéric Diefenthal), an eager but ditzy cop who has been trying and failing to get his driver's license for a long time. He only manages to confiscate Daniel's license after the latter drove him through Marseilles at 217km/h, not knowing that the man on the backseat of his tuned Peugeot 406 is a cop. They end up as a team chasing a German gang of bank robbers because Daniel knows more about fast cars than Emilien and can drive him around, and because he needs his license back. Other notable characters in the movie are Daniel's friend Lilly Bertineau (Marion Cotillard) who tries quite hard to establish a love relationship with him (and who turns out to be the daughter of an army General in the second movie), Action Girl and German exchange cop Petra (Emma Sjöberg) for whom Emilien out of all people has the hots, and bumbling, chaotic Commissaire Gibert (Bernard Farcy) whose plans always end up in chaos.

This movie spawned three sequels, Taxi 2 (2002), Taxi 3 (2003), and Taxi 4 (2007), as well as an Americanized remake from 2004 which goes under the name Taxi in the USA and New York Taxi (or something similar) in many countries where the French originals were released. The remake features Queen Latifah as the bicycle courier-turned-taxi driver Belle Williams whose souped-up Ford Crown Victoria is confiscated after she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, namely near a bank robbery, and Jimmy Fallon as Detective Jimmy Washburn who's even more inept than Emilien from the French original, and who not only is too stupid to drive a car and loses his driver's license early in the movie but also doesn't know anything about automobiles at all. Besson is still credited as a co-writer, but he's actually also co-producer of the remake.


The Taxi movies contain examples of:

  • Accidental Kiss: Lilly kisses Daniel in the first movie, and he thinks he got one of these. Which he didn't.
  • Action Girl: Petra. Also, the Japanese hostess from Taxi 2. And, of course, Belle.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Sort of. Daniel, Emilien, and the Japanese hostess enter the Yakuza hideout in Paris through an air vent and escape via a chute for rubble.
  • The Alleged Car: Mrs. Washburn's Daewoo Lanos.
  • As Himself: Jean-Louis Schlesser and Henri Magne in Taxi 2 (the series uses famous rally drivers as stunt drivers anyway), Sylvester Stallone in Taxi 3.
  • Automobile Opening: The first movie features a Scooter Opening with Daniel racing through Marseilles on a pizza delivery scooter. The second movie opens with Jean-Louis Schlesser and Henri Magne on a rally track, shortly before their unpleasant encounter with Daniel and his taxi. And the remake opens with Belle speeding through crowded Manhattan on a bicycle.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The "Project Cobra" 605 has got a voice-recognizing ignition, one of its cool features. The problem, however, is that it's programmed to recognize words which are bound be used in conversation in the car, namely "ninja" and "nip" which means that whenever someone happens to say, "nip," the engine shuts down. See Running Gag.
  • Badass Driver: Daniel and Belle in particular.
    • The famous rally drivers who drove the cars during the chase scenes in the French movies. Jean-Louis Schlesser and Henri Magne even appear as themselves in Taxi 2, doing what they're famous for, namely driving in a rally, and getting pwned by Daniel who's driving a pregnant woman and her husband to the hospital and takes the closed race track as a short-cut.
  • Bad Santa: The villains in Taxi 3 are dressed as Santas.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Well, both Daniel and Belle always have to deal with Badass Drivers.
  • Big Applesauce: The 2004 remake.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Just about the only one in the French movies who ends up injured in hospital is Commissaire Gibert after a failed ninja stunt.
  • Butt Monkey: Emilien and Gilbert.
  • The Cameo: Sylvester Stallone appears as one of Daniel's customers in Taxi 3.
  • Captain Crash: Emilien. The very reason why he will never get his driver's license.
    • Actually, he did get it. His teacher ended up giving him one so he would stop coming back.
  • Car Fu
  • Car Meets House: Emilien's attempts at acquiring a driver's license all ended in some store front.
  • Catch Phrase
    Commissaire Gibert: "Emilieeeeeeen!!!"
    Commissaire Gibert: "Alert generaaaaaaaaaaaaallllle!!!"; Emilien steals it briefly on Taxi 2, lampshaded by Gilbert
  • Chase Scene: Naturally, all movies love these.
  • Code Name: The teams during Operation Cobra (Taxi 1) had snake species as names.
  • Computer Equals Monitor: In Taxi 3, a monitor is hacked spectacularly.
  • Cool Car: Many.
    • Of course, the Peugeot 406 V6 piloted by Daniel. Yes, piloted, it can glide in Taxi 2. In Taxi 4, he drives a 407 as Peugeot discontinued the 406.
    • The two Mercedes-Benz 500 E driven by the bank robbers in the first movie.
    • "Project Ninja", a Peugeot 605 with a 600hp V12 engine, titanium carbody, several sophisticated defence systems, and voice recognition system (Taxi 2).
    • The Yakuza's Mitsubishi Evos in Taxi 2.
    • Belle's Ford Crown Victoria taxi in the remake.
    • The villainesses in the remake drive a BMW M3 and a BMW 760Li.
  • Cool Garage: The garage in which Daniel tuned up his taxi doubles as his home.
  • Cool Guns: The soldiers in Taxi 2 carry FAMAS assault rifles.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Daniel's Peugeot was awesome enough with just a nitro boost and some on-the-go transformations and stuff, but... Wings? Snow tracks? If it was black, its' nickname might be the Batmobile.
  • Cultural Translation: The 2004 remake was relocated from Marseilles to New York City, Belle drives a Ford Crown Victoria instead of a Peugeot 406, and the car chases are a lot more Hollywood-like because even a "tuned" Crown Vic can't be driven like a rally car.
  • Cunning Linguist / Omniglot: Petra. She speaks French perfectly, her mother tongue is German, and Gibert had to find out the hard way that she's the only one in his team who is fluent in Japanese.
    Gibert: "Does your file say you speak Japanese? It was embarrassing."
    Petra: "Yes, it does. Below my measurements."
    Gibert: "Guess I stopped there."
  • Dad the Veteran: Lilly's father, Général Bertineau, is an Algerian war veteran. He tests every visitor in his house by telling war tales.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Neither Daniel nor Lilly can tell her father at the beginning of Taxi 2 about Daniel's job. Général Bertineau would probably never allow his daughter to date a mere taxi driver. So Lilly mentions he's doing something in the medicine field, Daniel makes a student out of himself, the taxi is his brother's (Daniel doesn't even have a brother), and his driving skills come from frequently driving ambulances.
  • Determinator: Emilien. He can't catch the baddies on his own, he can't even drive a car, but he sure as heck doesn't give up trying.
  • Digital Bikini: In the fight scene in the theater version of Taxi 2, we got a split-second glimpse of Petra's uncovered crotch when she roundhouses one of the gangsters. For the DVD version, however, a pink panty was edited in, although she shouldn't be wearing anything under her skirt because she lost her panty when she was kidnapped.
  • The Ditz: Washburn. Also, Commissaire Gibert.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Daniel and Belle, even when they're on two wheels (a pizza delivery guy and a bicycle courier, respectively).
    Emilien: "Hey, ahem, have you ever heard of speed limitations? You know, the big red round signs with a 50 written on it..."
    Daniel: "Like this one, right here?"
    Emilien: "Exactly! Yes! It's exactly the sign I was thinking of!"
    Daniel: (laughs) "I thought it was for the skateboards!"
    • The Yakuza in Taxi 2 are crazy enough to drive on Paris Métropolitain tracks if need be.
  • Everybody Owns A Peugeot: There are strikingly many Peugeots in the French movies. Taxi 2 is particularly notable: Not only Daniel's taxi is a Peugeot (a 406 that does 306), but so are the rally car (206), the Cobra (605), and all the police cars wrecked in the mass crash scene. The three Mitsubishis seem like aliens almost. Even the other French car brands can only be seen incidentally, but never with any plot relevance.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Spectacularly averted by Général Bertineau's limousine in Taxi 2. A truck hits it and rips off the entire engine compartment (and the driver's pants), but it doesn't even explode after Général Bertineau got out.
  • Fanservice: A lot.
    • In one scene in the first movie, Lilly gets out of bed naked and dresses quickly. As in we see Marion Cotillard in full frontal nudity.
    • This includes the whole villain cast in the US remake. The Big Bad is Gisčle Bündchen.
  • Foreign Language Tirade: The main villain, upon having his plans foiled, lets out a stream of German expletives at the end of the first film.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Which is good in Camille's case because she always prepares food for her son Emilien for a whole week. And after Daniel drives her home from the market, she makes him one of her fabulous croques.
  • Femme Fatale: The villainesses from the remake.
  • Foreign Remake
  • Funetik Aksent: Gilbert's attempts to get his subordinates to greet the Japanese delegation. He puts up a big board reading "Con - nichon- wah" (pussy - tit - wah) for "konnichiwa".
  • Gay Paree: The second movie takes Daniel and Emilien to Paris to rescue a French State Secretary and Petra from the Yakuza.
  • The General's Daughter: Daniel dates Général Bertineau's daughter Lilly. And he does the personal chauffeur's part deliberately. But it's the Général who convinces (read: shanghais) him to drive the Cobra through the urban obstacle parcours.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: In the American remake, one of the bank robbers pats down Lt. Robbins for weapons in a suggestive way, much to the pleasure of all the guys present.
  • Hollywood Skydiving: It's perfectly okay to jump off a flying Transall in a Peugeot 406 on which three parachutes are mounted (because one or two might fail). At least for Général Bertineau.
  • Housewife: Camille Coutant-Kerbalec is perfectly this despite lacking a husband.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: The Yakuza Mooks in Taxi 2.
    • In the same movie, Gibert believes he can increase his awesome by adding a bit of ninja to himself. He fails.
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: It just happens to be Bastille Day in Paris.
  • Large Ham: Commissaire Gibert.
  • Lemming Cops: While trying to chase the Yakuza, the Paris police wreck several dozen of their cars of various sizes in one big Blues Brothers 2000-style mass crash scene, accompanied by a chanson by Gilbert Bécaud.
  • Malaproper: Commissaire Gibert accidentally refers to the Yakuza as "Jacuzzi".
  • Martial Arts Headband: Gibert dons one before the warehouse raid to be a bit more ninja.
  • Meddlesome Patrolman: The pair of pesky motorcycle cops in the first movie.
  • Metallicar Syndrome: Subverted, the bank robbers first escape in conspicuously red Mercedes-Benzes, but then, after making the whole city police searching for red Mercedes cars, they drop off into a garage and quickly repaint the cars in inconspicuous grey.
  • Mission Briefing: Commissaire Gibert always holds one of these to introduce his latest crime-fighting missions such as Operation Cobra (the stakeout at the bank), Operation Zen (Emilien bursts into the briefing room with his own plan before we get to know what that is), or Operation Ninja (security for the Japanese secretary in Taxi 2).
  • Modesty Towel: Subverted in that it's Emilien who wears one in the first movie. Plus a pair of socks.
  • More Dakka: Everyone at Krüger's workshop is carrying a loaded submachine gun and ready to fire it when someone just as much as looks like he's a cop.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Emilien's attempt at investigating at Krüger's workshop the usual police way ends up with Krüger and his team shooting at him and Daniel with SMGs and escaping.
  • Nitro Boost: Daniel's 406 in Taxi 3, but with pastis instead of nitrous oxide.
  • Obvious Pregnancy: Not so obvious for overworked Emilien that Petra is pregnant in Taxi 3–eight months in, even.
  • Official Couple: Daniel and Lilly. And Emilien and Petra.
  • Oh Crap: The moment when Daniel ends his speed ride through Marseilles in front of the police department where Emilien wanted to go, and Emilien mentions he isn't really working for IBM.
  • Over Drive / Super Mode: Both Daniel's and Belle's taxis feature a kind of Super Pursuit Mode with extractable body parts and improved performance at varying degrees of credibility.
  • Panty Shot: The scene in Taxi 2 in which Petra and the Japanese hostess fight the Yakuza.
  • Police Are Useless: Applies to pretty much every cop in the French movies, perhaps with the sole exception of Petra. And Emilien actually, who is the first (even before Petra) to deduce the modus operandi in the first movie; he also manages to catch up with the ninjas in the second, he does find the yakusas in the third, and he does manage to solve the case in the fourth. He's just extremely unlucky and bumbly (confirmed by word of God in the first movie's making of.
  • Punk in the Trunk: This is how Korean taxi drivers manage to work 24 hours a day—seemingly. They've got one car, one license, and two drivers, one of which drives the car while the other one sleeps in the trunk. Daniel says nobody in Marseilles can tell one Korean from another, so nobody notices this.
    • Then Emilien has the brilliant idea to infiltrate the German bank robbers by hiding in the trunk of one of the Mercedes while they stop at Krüger's shop to buy new tires. What he didn't take into consideration is that it's right there where they'd put the tires.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male / Black Comedy Rape: The villain of the third film, Qiu, forces oral sex on Emilien.
  • Running Gag: The Cobra's voice-controlled engine starts up and shuts down when you say "Ninja" and "Nip" respectively. Whenever someone says these words within the microphone's range. And "nip" is what Gibert calls the Japanese secretary.
    Gibert: "The mission is simple. We prepared a demonstration... Get it? With fake attacks! Like the ghost train? Yes, so as to impress the Nip..."
    (Engine shuts down)
    Daniel: "Ninja!"
    (Engine starts up)
    Gibert: "Above all, don't worry. Let things happen. If the Nip..."
    (Engine shuts down)
    Daniel: "Ninja!"
    (Engine starts up)
    Gibert: "Don't play while I'm talking!"
    Daniel: "Not me. You keep saying 'Nip'!"
    (Engine shuts down)
    Both: "NINJA!"
    • Emilien's attempts at acquiring a driver's license.
    • Expect Emilien to fall in a garbage container once per film.
    • There's Marco, a small delinquent who always comes up with a robbing scheme. He always ends up in the middle of Gilbert's operations and miraculously avoids getting caught by numerous police forces.
  • Screaming Birth: On the backseat of Daniel's taxi at the beginning of Taxi 2. Despite speeding like crazy (which means like always), he doesn't manage to reach the hospital in time, so the baby has to be delivered in his car. Lilly calls him on the cell phone and mistakes the woman's screams and her husband's comments for something entirely different.
  • Standard Snippet: "Misirlou" (a cover of Dick Dale's cover) is played while Daniel speeds through Marseilles on his pizza scooter at the beginning of the first movie and while driving Sylvester Stallone through Taxi 3. The remake uses "Pick Up The Pieces" instead, by the way.
  • Stripperiffic: The outfits of the villainesses in the US remake.
  • Tank Goodness: Daniel orders a tank from Général Bertineau in Taxi 2 to stop the Yakuza chasing him. Général Bertineau just happens to have some spare tank at hand as he's preparing a Bastille Day military parade.
  • Vapor Wear: In Taxi 2, Petra is kidnapped while sitting on the toilet because she knows Japanese. The Yakuza simply lift her off the potty from above, causing her panty to fall off her ankles and stay behind, so she has to go commando for the rest of the movie. The original release even features a quick reminder during the fight scene.
    • After her nude scene in the first movie, Lilly first puts on her bra, then her mini-dress, and the panty comes on last.
    • At the end of the movie, Lilly might not wear a panty under her long blue dress. She and Daniel finally do it in a small hidden chamber while dressed, and we get to see all of her left leg up to the hips, but no trace of underwear.
  • Wrench Wench: Belle souped up her taxi herself.
  • Yakuza: Taxi 2.
  • You Didn't Ask: After observing for hours and waiting for Krüger to close his workshop, Daniel mentions that Krüger has insomnia and his workshop is open 24 hours a day. Emilien asks why he didn't mention this earlier, and Daniel replies that he didn't ask.

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