Summary: Taxi movie series is a popular French film franchise that depicts the lives of a group of taxi drivers in Marseille. With five movies released between 1998 and 2018, the series revolves around high-speed chases, dangerous stunts, and lovable characters.
1. The inception of the series
Taxi was first released in 1998 and became an instant hit in France, grossing over $134 million worldwide. Directed by Gérard Pirès and written by Luc Besson, the movie centers around Daniel, a pizza delivery boy who becomes a taxi driver after saving a police officer’s life. With his souped-up taxi, Daniel helps police officer Emile catch a group of German bank robbers.
The movie’s success led to the creation of four more films, with each installment featuring different lead actors. The sequels continued to follow the adventures of Marseille’s most daring taxi drivers while adding new characters and storylines.
Overall, the series has been praised for its action-packed sequences, humor, and eclectic cast of characters.
2. Iconic characters
The Taxi series is known for its larger-than-life characters, each with their unique personalities and storylines. From the cool and suave Samy Naceri as Daniel, to the comedic Édouard Montoute as Camille, each character brings their flair to the series.
One of the fan-favorite characters is Frédéric Diefenthal’s character Emilien Coutant-Kerbalec, a bumbling police officer who often relies on Daniel’s driving skills to catch the bad guys. His often-comedic scenes with Daniel have become a staple of the series and have garnered a loyal following.
Other memorable characters include Petra, the love interest of one of the taxi drivers, and Qiu, a Chinese man who speaks little French but always has a smile on his face.
3. The action-packed chases
The Taxi movies are renowned for their high-speed car chases, impressive stunts, and breathtaking action sequences. From the first movie’s chase scene around Marseille’s Vieux-Port to the fifth movie’s pursuit through the city’s underground tunnels, each film features heart-pumping scenes that keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
Director Gérard Krawczyk has been credited with creating the series’ adrenaline-fueled chase scenes. His ability to show speed and danger while keeping the action coherent and accessible to the audience has made him a sought-after director in the action genre.
Spectacular driving feats and stunts have been executed by professional drivers and stunt performers, adding realism to the on-screen action. Using real cars rather than computer-generated imagery means the chases feel much more authentic and engaging.
4. Impact on French cinema
The success of the Taxi series revitalized French cinema in the late 90s and early 2000s. The franchise became a cultural phenomenon and an emblem of French pop culture, influencing everything from fashion to music in the country.
The series also helped launch the careers of many of its actors, including Marion Cotillard and Frédéric Diefenthal.
Furthermore, it opened doors for international distribution of French movies. The series was released worldwide and even spawned remakes in different countries, including a Hollywood adaptation with Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon.
5. Criticisms of the series
The Taxi series has not been without criticism. Many have pointed out that the franchise promotes dangerous driving and a disregard for traffic rules. Others have criticized the series’ stereotypical portrayal of minorities, particularly the character of Qiu in the first two movies.
Furthermore, some argue that the series was a missed opportunity to showcase Marseille’s unique cultural background since the franchise mainly focuses on car chases and action sequences. However, many fans of the series argue that the movies are meant to be lighthearted, humorous, and not taken too seriously.
The Taxi movie series has become a cult favorite for action lovers and fans of French cinema alike. With its unique blend of humor, action, and lovable characters, the franchise has influenced the film industry worldwide and revitalized French cinema in the late 90s and early 2000s. Though it has faced criticisms, the series’ continued popularity attests to its enduring charm and entertainment value.