Cinerama: Taxi 2

Posted: September 11, 2009 in Cinerama

Taxi 2

By Mike Derderian

“Taxi, taxi,” shouted a young man standing under the pouring rain. In answer to his call, one of the yellow cabs drove away from the crowded traffic line to pick up this potential customer. Ignoring angry sirens by other drivers, for the illegal lane change, the taxi driver managed to reach the rain-drenched man.

Opening the door, sitting in the front seat, the passenger saluted the driver and gave him directions. All appeared to be a normal day when suddenly a look of amazement took over the bearded driver’s aging face. Apparently he never saw a law-abiding citizen fastening the safety belt, a gesture that appeared to be more of the devil’s work and black magic. “What is coming to the world,” the driver said to himself. “First abiding to traffic rules; what next, not smoking in public places, ha?”

“So do you think that it’ll snow today?” asked the passenger in an attempt to break the silence through this long ride. Stopping to a red traffic light, allowed the driver to a look at the anticipating passenger in the face and say in complete lethargy, “Frankly dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Now, you might ask yourself, what just happened here? Well, the scene that you’ve just read through is quite normal; it is taken from our Jordanian streets, especially, the seatbelt incident.

You can’t believe how much I laugh every time a taxi driver gazes at me in shock, as I attempt to fasten the clenches of that cloth-wrinkling life-savor we all hate to buckle up.

I mean imagine yourself stuck with a taxi driver like Daniel Morales in “Taxi 2”, who has a state of the art Peugeot with a speed limit that could reach to Mach 2, think about it.

“Taxi 2” offers you a lot of things that could be missed out in a Hollywood production. For starters, this 2000 French production is an action packed film with no extra-gruesome death scenes and most importantly no x-rated scenes. Well, not in the real sense.

“Taxi 2”, with it’s prequel and sequel, were all written by Luc Besson, who directed films like the 1999 “The Messenger: the story of Joan of Arc,” and the 1994 success “Leon”, a.k.a. “the Professional.”

Directed by Gérard Krawczyk, this action-comedy with a French sense of humor manages to attract car lovers, especially rally fans, with a taste for high-speed cars and chase scenes that are excellently choreographed.

Not only that, but the human fight scenes are closer to early twentieth century slapstick scenes than to modern comedy. An aspect felt in the relationship between detective Milien Coutant, played by Frédéric Diefenthal, and his superior Commissaire Gibert acted by Bernard Farcy.

In addition to those French actors, a group of Japanese actors including Hirata Haruhiko, Tsuyu Shimizu and Kentaro Yuji Yamashita successfully portrayed the good guys and the bad guys in this international film.

Samy Naceri, the Algerian born actor plays the role of the cool confident taxi driver Daniel Morales, who with the help of his car never cares if he is late for an appointment—or if he is being chased by assassins for that matter, as in the scene where he will help General Bertineau get on time to the airport to receive the Japanese Minister.

An action film usually has a love story on the side, and in this film we have two love stories; although, they do not evolve as the film moves on, as they were presented by Besson only to add a little spice to the film.

Swedish actress Emma Sjöberg certainly managed to turn heads with her portrayal of Petra, the detective with looks that could kill on sight; with looks like that, one would wonder how the Japanese mobsters captured her.

Parallel to the carnal love shared between Coutant and Petra, we have a-not-so differently expressed love affection between Daniel (Naceri) and Lilly Bertineau (Marion Cotillard), the general’s daughter.

Let’s leave that to that and switch to the plot, where the viewer of the film will discover that it’s quite simple, easy going and fun to watch despite of the language barrier.

Don’t be alarmed, however, for there must be a version with English subtitles out there waiting for you to rent and enjoy a French taste of action mixed with humors—and it’s all on wheels.

During my overture for this week’s column the taxi driver uttered a famous quote. Now, if you are a film fan then you would know who was driving the cab in that scene.

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