Should I Watch..? 'Taxi' (2004)

Updated on February 26, 2020
Benjamin Cox profile image

Benjamin is a former volunteer DJ at his local hospital radio station. He has been reviewing films online for over fifteen years.

DVD cover
DVD cover | Source

What's the big deal?

Taxi is an action comedy film released in 2004 and is a remake of the 1998 French film of the same name written by Luc Besson. Directed by Tim Story, the film depicts an uneasy alliance between an incompetent NYPD officer and a talented taxi driver in her pimped-out cab as they try to apprehend a group of bank robbers. The film stars Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon, Gisele Bündchen, Jennifer Esposito and Henry Simmons. Although the film is a remake, it relocates the setting from Marseille in France to New York despite most of the filming taking take place in Los Angeles. Critics slammed the film when it was released for being unfunny and insulting to audience's intelligence and it only managed to earn $68.9 million worldwide - not that much more than the French original. Unlike the French Taxi film, this American version has been followed by no sequels whatsoever.


1 star for Taxi (2004)

What's it about?

Belle Williams is a born speed-freak, dreaming of becoming a NASCAR driver while working as a bicycle courier in New York. On her last day, she is presented with a supercharger for her pet project - a tricked out, custom-built 1999 Ford Crown Victoria with which she intends to become a taxi driver in the city. Unfortunately, she is so busy installing more custom parts to her car that she forgets about a romantic dinner with her boyfriend Jesse. Across town, undercover NYPD officer Andrew "Andy" Washburn not only blows his cover during a raid but crashes his partner's car who is then wounded in a shoot-out with the escaping criminals. His boss and former girlfriend Lt. Marta Robbins grows tired of Washburn's bumbling and takes away his driving licence before assigning him to foot patrol duties.

After hearing about a nearby bank robbery in progress, Washburn attempts to flag down a car with his badge but is unable to do so. Instead, he hitches a ride with Belle in her taxi. As her car transforms into the barely legal street racer she has created, Washburn realises that he has to commandeer the vehicle if he hopes to catch the robber. But Belle and Washburn don't exactly get on...


Main Cast

Queen Latifah
Isabelle "Belle" Williams
Jimmy Fallon
Andrew "Andy" Washburn
Gisele Bündchen
Henry Simmons
Jennifer Esposito
Lt. Marta Robbins
Ana Christina de Oliveria
Redhead (Second Robber)
Mrs Washburn

Technical Info

Tim Story
Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon & Jim Kouf*
Running Time
97 minutes
Release Date (UK)
19th November, 2004
Action, Comedy, Crime
*based on a screenplay by Luc Besson
As talented as Fallon (left) and Latifah (right) are, neither one excels in this witless remake of a superior French original.
As talented as Fallon (left) and Latifah (right) are, neither one excels in this witless remake of a superior French original. | Source

What's to like?

The original French version had several things going for it: a bright and sunny setting, decent comedic banter between the two lead characters (who were both male, interestingly), stunning driving sequences largely free from CG and a young pre-stardom Marion Cottilard as the girlfriend of cabbie Daniel. This version of Taxi has none of those things. New York isn't anywhere near as pretty as Marseille and certainly hasn't a road network as interesting, populated as it is with long and very straight roads. Fallon and Latifah struggle to make an impact with a script as brainless as this although Latifah does have the more enjoyable narrative and delivers the better performance. Unfortunately, they seem to work about as well together as fire and a dry forest. The driving sequences are dull and composed of so many cuts that the screen flashes from wheel to passenger to bonnet to brakes to wheel again to other cars... and so on. And while Simmons went on to do well for himself as a member of Agents Of SHIELD on TV, he's not Cottilard who is much more agreeable in general.

On the plus side, the film retains the same goofy narrative as the original which includes its horrifically out-dated and sexist portrayal of its female characters - bar Latifah. I remember thinking that Luc Besson had written the original film to spoof American action movies and judging by this film, he did. The sole positive, if I can call it that, is the extremely picturesque Bündchen as the ringleader of the bank robbers. While the role requires little in the way of acting ability (which still proves too much for Mrs Tom Brady), her endless legs and permanent pout are doubtless what Besson had in mind for the character. Otherwise, you can file this film under "so bad, it's funny".

Fun Facts

  • Ingrid Vanderbosch, who plays one of the bank robbers, is married in real life to NASCAR superstar Jeff Gordon who also appears in the film in a cameo.
  • After the film's failure, another attempt to remake the French original was made albeit as a TV show. Taxi Brooklyn was a twelve-part series which relocated the first film's story from France to New York although only the pilot followed the plot of the film. Originally broadcast in 2014, it was cancelled after just one season.
  • Among the film's less-than-stellar reviews was a lament by Roger Ebert that Latifah, who has been appearing in films since 1991, could have instead appeared in a zero-budget indie drama with Oscar potential for the cost of just one of the movie's crash scenes? He described the film as "something that could not be good, was never going to be good, and only gets worse as it plows along".

What's not to like?

So why is this film such a car-crash? It starts with the script which is an ugly blend of unfunny scenes, uninspired action and an insulting level of intelligence. The film treats you like an easily distracted toddler, throwing noisy and incoherent scenes at you that are so painfully bad that you wonder who authorised their release. Fallon is astonishingly bad in the film which doesn't help him by making his character go "full retard", as described in Tropic Thunder. He is as unlikely a NYPD officer as the Predator and the film simply never recovers from this woeful piece of casting. And why change the gender dynamic at the film's core - are we supposed to think that these two diametrically opposed characters are gonna fall for each other, despite Belle already having a boyfriend? Obviously Washburn is single because he's the sort of guy to go back to his parent's house and cry himself to sleep each night.

The driving scenes are so obviously fake that there is never a hint of excitement to them, flooded with more CG than the original The Fast And The Furious. And of course, the central premise of a bicycle courier in New York being able to afford the sort of pimped speed machine that Inspector Gadget can only dream of is as ridiculous as the rest of the movie. Why do supermodels feel the need to rob banks? Where is the rest of the traffic in New York - or, for that matter, stop signs or road works or speed cameras? Why is everybody in this film so stupid? But most damning of all, who decided that this moronic excuse of a comedy would entertain anybody other than people who enjoy films of a truly disastrous quality? This film is less fun than being locked in a boot.

Mrs Tom Brady herself made her acting debut in this film playing a model who robs banks. And frankly, she's about as good as you'd expect.
Mrs Tom Brady herself made her acting debut in this film playing a model who robs banks. And frankly, she's about as good as you'd expect. | Source

Should I watch this?

The only reason anyone has for watching this wretched excretion of a film is for proving why Jimmy Fallon should stay on his late night talk show. And I always preferred Stephen Colbert anyway...

Great For: emptying cinemas, anyone with the mental age of a six-year-old, the Blu-ray makes a good frisbee

Not So Great For: furthering careers, any fans of the French original, anyone who can tie their own shoelaces

What else should I watch?

Even if you hate reading subtitles and dislike the French, you are still better off with the original 1998 version of Taxi which shows far more imagination in the action scenes and has better comedy thanks to the banter between Samy Naceri and Frédéric Diefenthal. Both men were mainstays of the Taxi series through until 2018's Taxi 5 which acts as a reboot with an entirely new cast but much the same style.

Taxi has been seen as the start of a trend of films featuring high-speed, realistic driving scenes taking place in France. The same year, Robert De Niro and Jean Reno appeared in the under-rated Ronin which was widely lauded for its driving sequences, this time in Nice and Paris. Not to be outdone, Besson scripted another action film inspired by vehicular mayhem - The Transporter features Jason Statham in possibly his first ever action role and while it's no classic, it's still worth a look. Finally, one film that certainly is a classic is the amnesiac-spy thriller The Bourne Identity which delivered even more driving destruction on the streets of Paris. It might not be as well known for its driving scenes as the others but the film's quality, excitement and intrigue make it far more enjoyable than any of the other films mentioned here.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Benjamin Cox

    Soap Box

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)