Starring Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon. Directed by Tim Story
Running Time: 97 mins
Rated: Rated PG
The opening scene in Taxi is brilliant. A delivery cyclist goes to extraordinary lengths to cross mid-town Manhattan and get to the New York suburb of Queens in 13 minutes. The speed demon, who takes ridiculous risks on the road and everywhere else she goes on the bike, is Belle Williams (Queen Latifah). This is her last day at work. Belle has graduated to driving a New York taxi, but hers is no ordinary cab. Being a skilled mechanic, Belle's taxi is a modified dragster. She's all set for the big time in the Big Apple.

On her first day she picks up the inept Detective Andy Washburn (Fallon) who is pursuing a gang of beautiful Brazilian bank robbers. A game of cat and mouse ensues and this unlikely pair cracks the case.

Loosely based on Luc Bresson's French film of 1998, Taxi is fast-paced, lowbrow, popular entertainment. It's only moderately funny but has a few good one-liners. It races through one sight gag after another, has loads of clever stunts and does not overstay its welcome. Its greatest achievements are Stuart Levy's editing and Steve Genrke's script supervision (the new name for continuity).

Taxi is an adaptation of the Batman story, minus the hood and capes. It has a bat cave (Belle's garage), the bat car (the suped-up taxi), Robin (Washburn) and advocates the same citizen vigilante-style policing.

To enjoy this film one has to suspend disbelief more than usual, especially in regard to how Manhattan streets, which are infamously deadlocked with crawling traffic, seem to part like the Red Sea for the belle-mobile.

Fr Richard Leonard SJ is the Director of the Australian Catholic Film

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