Taxi is a 1998 French action comedy movie written and produced by Luc Besson and directed by Gérard Pirès, and the first of a series of five.
The main protagonists are Daniel Morales (Samy Naceri), a Badass Driver from Marseille who quits his job as the city's fastest pizza delivery boy to become the city's fastest taxi driver with his tuned and souped-up Peugeot 406, and Émilien 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 Marseille at 217km/h (135mph), who didn't know that the man on the backseat of his taxi is a cop. They end up as a team chasing a German gang of bank robbers driving Mercedes cars because Daniel knows more about fast cars than Émilien 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 spend intimate time 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 fail spectacularly.
This movie spawned three direct sequels over nine years, Taxi 2 (2000), Taxi 3 (2003), and Taxi 4 (2007). All of them were directed by Gérard Krawczyk, who already directed some scenes in the first film when Gérard Pirès had health issues.
After a 11 years-long gap, Taxi 5 was released in France in April 2018 for the 20th anniversary of the franchise, with new leads, Franck Gastambide as police inspector Sylvain Marot and Malik Bentalha as Eddy Maklouf (Daniel's nephew). Samy Naceri and Frédéric Diefenthal did not return. Only Bernard Farcy and Édouard Montoute (from the previous movies' police cast) came back. Gastambide also directed it.
A spin-off series, Taxi Brooklyn, debuted in 2014. It takes place in New York City where a plainclothes officer named Caitlin "Cat" Sullivan (Chyler Leigh) and a French-American taxi driver named Leo Romba (Jacky Ido) work together to take out criminals operating in the city.
The films have a character sheet.
The Taxi movies contain examples of:
- Action Girl: Petra. Also, the Japanese hostess from Taxi 2.
- As Himself: Rally drivers Jean-Louis Schlesser and Henri Magne in Taxi 2 (the series uses famous rally drivers as stunt drivers also), Sylvester Stallone in Taxi 3 and soccer player Dribril Cissé in Taxi 4.
- Automobile Opening:
- The first film's opening features Daniel racing through Marseille on his pizza delivery scooter.
- The second movie opens with rally drivers Jean-Louis Schlesser and Henri Magne on a road-turned-track, shortly before their unpleasant encounter with Daniel and his taxi.
- The third movie has Sylvester Stallone escape rollerskate-using goons through the streets of Marseille, first on a bicycle, and then via Daniel's taxi.
- Badass Driver: Daniel has unmatched driving skills with his souped-up at high speed.
- 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.
- Beat Them at Their Own Game: Daniel always has to outsmart the enemy gangs' own badass drivers.
- Butt-Monkey: Emilien and especially Commissioner Gibert. He is severely injured out of his own stupidity in Taxi 2 and otherwise constantly ridicules himself.
- 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 and moving his driving school to Paris so he would stop coming back.
- Car Fu: Taxi is the most well known French movie series when it comes to this trope.
- Car Meets House: Emilien's attempts at acquiring a driver's license all ended in some store front.
- Catch-PhraseCommissioner Gibert: "Emilieeeeeeen!!!"Commissioner Gibert: "Alerte generaaaaaaaaaaaaallllle!!!" — Emilien steals it briefly in Taxi 2, lampshaded by Gibert himself.
- Chase Scene: Naturally. All movies love these.
- Subverted often enough in Taxi 3 because the baddies keep using vehicles that cannot be chased under the given circumstances.
- Code Name: The teams during Operation Cobra (in Taxi) have snake species as names. Commissioner Gibert really loves naming his operations.
- Cool Car: Many.
- Of course, the Peugeot 406 V6 piloted by Daniel. 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.
- Crazy-Prepared: Daniel's Peugeot cars are 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 could be the Batmobile.
- Cunning Linguist / Omniglot: Petra. She speaks French perfectly, her mother tongue is German, and Gibert has to find out the hard way that she's the only one in his team who is fluent in Japanese in Taxi 2.Gibert: Does your file say you speak Japanese? It was embarrassing.
Petra: Yes, it does. Below my measurements.
Gibert: Guess I stopped there.
- 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.
- The Ditz: Commissioner Gibert's stupidity seemingly knows no limits.
- Drives Like Crazy: Daniel, even when he's on two wheels (as a pizza delivery guy).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 (i.e. subway) tracks if need be.
- Everybody Owns a Ford: Or a Peugeot, as there are strikingly many Peugeot cars in these movies. Taxi 2 is particularly notable: Not only is Daniel's taxi 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.
- 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 Gisèle Bündchen.
- Interrupted Intimacy: A Running Gag. Whenever Daniel and Lilly want to get down and dirty, something comes in between.
- 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 of state in Taxi 2).
- Odd Couple: Daniel, a police-hating taxi driver, finds himself teaming up with Émilien, a clumsy cop.
- Official Couple: Daniel and Lilly until Taxi 3. And Emilien and Petra until Taxi 4.
- 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.
- Police are Useless: Applies to pretty much every cop in these 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.
- Removable Steering Wheel: Done on purpose. Daniel can exchange the stock steering wheel of his cars with professional racing wheels when going Super Mode.
- Running Gag:
- Emilien's attempts at acquiring a driver's license.
- Expect Emilien to end up 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.
- Standard Snippet: "Misirlou" (a cover of Dick Dale's cover) is played while Daniel speeds through Marseille on his pizza scooter at the beginning of the first movie and while driving Sylvester Stallone through Taxi 3.
- Stress Vomit: The usual effect of Daniel's 406's speed on pretty much all of his customers. Can be followed by either Vomit Discretion Shot or Vomit Indiscretion Shot.
- Accidental Kiss: Lilly kisses Daniel, and he thinks he got one of these. Which he didn't.
- Easter Egg: The driving school car Emilien crashes into a shop is called "G. Pirès Auto Ecole". It is named after the movie's director, Gérard Pirès.
- Foreign-Language Tirade: The German gang's leader (Richard Sammel), upon having his plans foiled, lets out a stream of German expletives.
- 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 sandwiches.
- Housewife: Camille Coutant-Kerbalec (Emilien's mother) is perfectly this despite lacking a husband.
- Identical-Looking Asians: Invoked by Daniel when talking about Korean taxi drivers.
- Meddlesome Patrolman: The pair of pesky motorcycle cops.
- Metallicar Syndrome: Subverted. The bank robbers' first escape happens with in conspicuously red Mercedes-Benz cars, 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.
- Modesty Towel: Subverted in that it's Emilien who wears one. 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.
- Oh, Crap!: The moment when Daniel ends his speed ride through Marseille in front of the police department where Emilien wanted to go, and Emilien mentions he isn't really working for IBM and shows him his Police card.
- Punk in the Trunk: This is how Korean taxi drivers manage to work 24 hours a dayseemingly. 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 Marseille 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 they have to put the tires somewhere.
- Vapor Wear: After her nude scene, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Awesome, but Impractical: The "Project Ninja" 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.
- The Cameo: French rally driver Jean-Louis Schlesser and hi co-driver Henri Magne appear as themselves in the opening.
- 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 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.
- Digital Bikini: In the fight scene in the theatrical version, 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.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Spectacularly averted by Général Bertineau's limousine. 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.
- Funetik Aksent: Gibert'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 sequel takes Daniel and Emilien to Paris to rescue a French State Secretary and Petra from the Yakuza.
- Gratuitous Ninja: The Yakuza Mooks.
- In the same movie, Gibert believes he can increase his awesome by adding a bit of ninja to himself. He fails.
- The General's Daughter: Lilly's father is a general of the French Army.
- 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. Just as normal as piloting a Transall while in full camo.
- It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: It just happens to be Bastille Day in Paris.
- Lemming Cops: While trying to chase the Yakuza, the Paris police wreck several dozen of their cars of various sizes in one big Blue Brothers 2000-style mass crash scene, accompanied by a song 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.
- Panty Shot: The scene in which Petra and the Japanese hostess fight the Yakuza.
- As far as the original theatrical release is concerned, not in Petra's case.
- Running Gag: The Cobra car'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)
(Engine starts up)
Gibert: "Above all, don't worry. Let things happen. If the Nip..."
(Engine shuts down)
(Engine starts up)
Gibert: "Don't play while I'm talking!"
Daniel: "Not me. You keep saying 'Nip'!"
(Engine shuts down)
- Screaming Birth: On the backseat of Daniel's 406 at the beginning. 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.
- Tank Goodness: Daniel orders a tank from Général Bertineau to stop the Yakuza chasing him. Général Bertineau just happens to have some spare tank at hand as he's preparing a Bastille Day (July 14th) military parade.
- Vapor Wear: 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.
- Yakuza: The antagonists are Yakuza gangsters.
- Artistic Title: Parodied with the James Bond-style opening... only with incompetent heroes and gun-toting Santas on rollerskates.
- Bad Santa: The villains are dressed as Santas.
- The Cameo: Sylvester Stallone appears as Daniel's first customer in the film.
- Computer = Monitor: A monitor is hacked spectacularly.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male / Black Comedy Rape: Qiu forces oral sex on Emilien.
- Nitro Boost: Daniel's Peugeot 406, but with pastis instead of nitrous oxide.
- Obvious Pregnancy: Not so obvious for overworked Emilien that Petra is pregnant. Eight months in, even.
- Rollerblade Good: The opening credits prominently feature rollerskates. It foreshadows a scene where the Bad Santas break through a roadblock on rollerskates, with heavily-armed soldiers just staring at them in confusion and disbelief.
- Composite Character:
- Sylvain Marot is both a Badass Driver like Daniel was and a cop, like Émilien was.
- Eddy Maklouf regularly gets himself in trouble with the law like his uncle Daniel, and he's as clumsy as Émilien was.
- Legacy Character: Sylvain inherits Daniel's Peugeot 407 and becomes the series' new Badass Driver.
- The Mafia: The antagonists are Italian mafiosi this time around.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Sylvain had a great chance at a brilliant career in the RAID, the French police's elite tactical unit... and it was all ruined when his affair with a prefect's wife was revealed, leading to him being demoted and sent to Marseille, with menial municipal police tasks and stupid/mean colleagues aplenty waiting for him.
- Stock Sound Effects: Eddy inadvertently fires a Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun while Sylvain is talking with Rachid. The weapon's recoil sends him crashing into a wall backwards, and he yells the infamous Wilhelm Scream doing so.