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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Taxi (2004/Special Edition)
Taxi (2004/Special Edition)
Fox // PG-13 // February 15, 2005
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 21, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:


Although it took me a while to get into its particular brand of humor, I've fallen head-over-heels for Comedy Central's "Reno 911", a superbly funny parody of "COPS" that focuses on a band of screw-up officers working in the Nevada town. While I've never seen "Fifth Element" director Luc Besson's French comedy/actioner "Taxi", when I'd read that two of the featured players on "Reno" (Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon) were working on a screenplay, I was intrigued. Director Tim Story had just come off of the hit, "Barbershop".

So, what happened here? Either the two "Reno" writers wrote something in their show's bizarre, abrupt style of humor that was given a complete overhaul before production, or the two need to stay in "Reno" and not write movies. Although not a complete disaster, this remake of Besson's film is rarely that funny or exciting. Jimmy Fallon (frantically flailing his limbs in order to get some sort of laugh) stars as Washburne, a NYC police officer whose running joke is that he's an incredibly awful driver. This gets him in trouble with his lieutenant (Jennifer Esposito), who also happens to be his ex-girlfriend.

After his license is taken away, he runs into Belle, an African American woman who has just started becoming a taxi driver, zipping around in a souped-up Ford that has to be seen to be believed. Although the pair's first chase of a group of bank robbers that look like models (supermodel Gisele Bundchen leads the pack) has them at each other's throats, they eventually begin to get along by the film's end, naturally. The less said about the middle of the film, the better: the action is predictable and the chemistry between Fallon and Latifah is nothing short of disasterous. I've never understood Fallon's appeal before, and this film doesn't prove enlightening - the actor's comedic timing is awful and his delivery seems forced. Latifah doesn't do much better as the taxi driver, although to her credit, her dialogue is pretty tired. The real surprise is Bundchen, whose character has little to say, but still manages to make an impression. She's a pretty believable villian, considering there's hardly a character there.

"Taxi" gets off a couple of decent chuckles, but the rest of it is pretty hopeless. The chemistry between the two leads is less-than-zero, the action isn't exciting and the comedy and characters are underdeveloped. It's a miss.

The DVD includes both the film's theatrical edition and an extended edition that offers an additional seven minutes. I couldn't tell what the new footage was, unfortunately.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Taxi" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen (there's also a pan & scan version available). The colorful film has been reproduced quite vividly on this very nice transfer from Fox. Sharpness and detail are excellent, as the picture appeared consistently crisp and well-defined, with good small object detail.

The presentation does show some minor traces of pixelation and slight edge enhancement, ubt most of the film remained free and clear of issues. As one might expect from a recent theatrical release, the print appeared to be in perfectly fine condition, with only a tiny speck or two. The film's candy-colored palette remained bright and vivid, with excellent saturation and no smearing. Black level remained solid, while flesh tones remained accurate and natural.

SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation was moderately lively. Surrounds kick in fairly often to help propel the action scenes and provide some minor ambience. The film's soundtrack - one of its best assets - kicks the bass into high gear and sounds superbly dynamic coming from the front speakers. Audio quality was fine, as dialogue, sound effects and score seemed crisp and well-recorded.

EXTRAS: director Tim Story offers an audio commentary on the theatrical edition only. The cops from "Reno" make an appearance on "Comedy Central's Reel Comedy", as they interview the actors throughout New York City. Four deleted scenes are offered, and we also get trailers for "Sandlot 2" and "American Dad", the latter being the latest Fox animated comedy from "Family Guy" creator Seth McFarlane. "The Meter's Runnin'" is the disc's "making of" documentary, featuring interviews with the cast/crew and a pretty solid amount of behind-the-scenes clips. The only fault? It's mostly made up of everyone chatting about how wonderful each other was and what a great experience it was making the flick. Besides that, Fallon attempts to "improv" throughout the documentary, and it's just irritating, because he seems to think he's funnier than he is. "Lights, Camera, Blue Screen" takes a look at the blue screen work done for the driving sequences. "Tour Guide" has Fallon taking the viewer on a tour through the set. Finally, "Beautiful Criminals" looks at the women portraying the robbers in the film.

Final Thoughts: "Taxi"'s idea of a mismatched pair chasing down a set of leggy criminals through the streets of New York City is a decent one, but Fallon and Latifah are a horrible pairing and the script rarely gets across a solid laugh. Fox's DVD is a nice effort, offering good audio/video quality and a fine helping of supplements. Recommended for fans, others should skip it.

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