Taxi (1998) (NTSC)

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Released 26-Jun-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy thriller Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 92:46
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Gérard Pirès
Studio
Distributor
TFI International
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Samy Naceri
Frédéric Diefenthal
Marion Cotillard
Manuela Gourary
Emma Wiklund
Bernard Farcy
Georges Neri
Guy Quang
Maurice Murcia
Sabine Bail
Dan Herzberg
Sébastien Thiery
Eric Bérenger
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Akhenaton


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.30:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Queen Latifah & Jimmy Fallon? No thanks, this is the original French film from 1998 not the remade Hollywood version from 2004. It is somewhat surprising that this film has not previously been released locally (as far as I know) as it has quite a cult standing amongst lovers of a good car chase. It has screened a few times on SBS in Australia which is where I first caught it. It has since spawned three French sequels with the same main cast (although Marion Cotillard is not in Taxi 4).

    The film is an action comedy from the pen of Luc Besson and in many ways could be considered a forerunner of The Transporter films, relying as it does on impressive car chase scenes. It is set in Marseilles. The plot is pretty straightforward involving Daniel Morales (Samy Naceri), a pizza delivery man who finally achieves his dream of becoming a licensed taxi driver. He is finally able to remove the cover on his souped up Peugeot and takes to the streets on four wheels instead of the two of his pizza delivery bike. On his first day he picks up a lady, Camille, who wants to be taken two doors down the street. He helps her with her parcels and she feeds him which starts a friendship between them. She mentions that her son, Emilien (Frederic Diefenthal) is having trouble getting his driving license and works for IBM. Daniel agrees to help him get to work which he does by driving too quickly and it is then that Emilien reveals that he is actually a police detective (although a fairly incompetent one). He tells Daniel that he must help him to catch The Mercedes Gang (a bank robbing gang from Germany) to avoid losing his recently gained taxi licence. The gang drives very fast Mercedes to escape the law and Emilien believes Daniel is the key to catching them due to his incredible driving skills. Recent Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose) appears in an early role for her as Daniel's love interest Lilly Bertineau.

    This is a fun film with some great car chase scenes although they are a little few and far between in this first film. There is some good dialogue and comedic scenes between the characters. Supposedly Luc Besson ripped the script for this off pretty quickly and it shows at some points where the story drags a little, however, this is an enjoyable film and good fun to watch. I would love to see the sequels and maybe those will be released soon. The cast are little known outside of these films (with the obvious exception of Cotillard) but they are perfectly suited to the material and bring the audience along for the fun and entertaining ride. The film was nominated for seven Cesar's, winning two for editing and sound design.

    Another case where the original film is much better than the Hollywood remake.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good but is in NTSC.

    The feature is presented in a 2.26:1 aspect ratio (with black lines on both left and right of a 16x9 enhanced window) which is close to the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

    The picture was very sharp and clear for a film of this age. Shadow detail is quite good. There is some occasional light grain.

    The colour was very good, vibrant and well saturated.

    There was some mild aliasing to be seen such as on blinds at 5:50 and some occasional white specks.

    There are English subtitles which are automatically displayed but can be turned off. They are clear and easy to read but obviously done with a US audience in mind as kilometres per hour have been changed to miles per hour. Also there are quite a few spelling mistakes and at 43:35 a line of subtitles is repeated instead of the line actually being spoken.

    There is no layer change in the feature.

   
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains one audio option, a French Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 384 Kb/s (The track is actually labelled as English on the disc). Annoyingly the menu has 448Kb/s 5.1 sound but the movie doesn't.

    Dialogue was easy to understand and clear throughout.

    The Cesar nominated music is by French hip hop band, IAM. It is very suitable for the film and adds to the exciting and edgy vibe.

    The surround speakers are well used for music and lots of effects during the gun fights and car chases.

    The subwoofer was used for music and car chases.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    

Menu

    The menu features car sounds and music. The only option besides play is for starting the one extra.

French Theatrical Trailer (2:36)

    Original French trailer, no subtitles. Shows that the transfer is really rather good for the movie itself.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There have been quite a lot of releases of this film globally however only a few have English subtitles. If you are interested in a full list of releases including those without English subtitles, look here . In terms of releases with English subtitles this would now seem to be the version of choice as it is anamorphic, uncut, includes the trailer and the 5.1 soundtrack. There does not seem to be a Region 1 release. So, Region 4 gets the gong for English speaking audiences.

Summary

    A fun and exciting French action thriller famous for car chases.

    The video quality is very good but NTSC.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The only extra is a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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