Taxi 3 (2003)

Taxi 3 (2003)

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Surprise cameo? Go on then.

Twitter Plot Summary: More shenanigans for Daniel and Emilien, this time with a gang dressed as Santa Claus.

Genre: Action/Comedy

Director: Gerard Krawczyk

Key Cast: Sammy Naceri, Frederic Diefenthal, Bernard Farcy, Bai Ling, Marion Cotillard, Edouard Montoute, Emma Wiklund, Jean-Christophe Bouvet

Five Point Summary:

1. Spoof Bond intro sequence and a Stallone cameo. Me like.
2. Are we supposed to believe he honestly didn’t notice she was 8 months pregnant?
3. She’s clearly up to no good…
4. That’s a bit extreme, using that wrecking ball on a man.
5. A trip to the mountains. Just because.

Things were starting to wear a little thin by the time we received Taxi 3. We’re quickly reintroduced to turbo-boosted taxi driver Daniel and police officer Emilien, who are now despite logic dictating otherwise, in relationships with Lilly and Petra respectively. The core theme is one of growing up, taking responsibility and parenthood, as both couples discover that babies are either due very shortly, or will be making an appearance in a few months. Whilst this domestic storyline takes place, the police are attempting to track down the Santa Claus gang, a group of criminals who dress up, surprisingly enough, as Santa Claus whilst committing crimes. All of the old faces are back, including a young Marion Cotillard as Lilly, making her final appearance in the series. We’re also introduced to Bai Ling’s Qiu, a reporter who is clearly up to no good as she worms her way around the Inspector Clouseau-esque bumblings of Commissaire Gilbert.

The Taxi series will never be known as anything more than moderately entertaining Euro cinema, and that’s precisely where this third film ends up. Allowances could be made for the first two films as they maintained the character relationships with a story that was not realistic per se, but at least made a bit more sense than the one we’re given here. The Santa Claus gang idea is a good one but it actually serves no purpose to the main story, which is the development of Daniel and Emilien’s personal lives. It seems to be an excuse to head up into the French Alps and film some stuff on location up there. Still, despite the poor efforts made in terms of the crime story, there are at least several moments that are amusing, if not laugh out loud funny. They do at least have the ability to make a joke about how racist the French are, specifically when black cop Alain tries to commandeer a vehicle and is instead run down by the driver. Before anyone claims that this sounds horrific, note that he jumps straight back up again – a very clever use of slapstick humour that makes a political point at the same time.

The Santa Claus look was all the rage in Paris.
The Santa Claus look was all the rage in trendy Marseille.

There’s a nice surprise at the beginning of the film with a totally unexpected cameo from Sylvester Stallone. Why he specifically is in the film isn’t clear (maybe he owed someone money), but it’s a sequence that reintroduces Daniel’s super-charged taxi and also spoofs the James Bond franchise at the same time The opening credits sequence continues this homage before we get into the film proper. Thereafter it’s hit and miss, some good jokes lost in a weak script. The action set pieces are nicely done, but are a far cry of those used for the first two movies. You can also tell when a franchise is losing its way when the vehicle is modified to suit the needs of the story rather than vice versa. Subsequently the taxi now has the ability to use skis. That noise you can hear is a franchise scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Favourite scene: The black cop gets run down trying to requisition a civilian vehicle, because he’s black and a cop.

Quote: “Do you know how to ski?”

“No, I know how to drive.”

Silly Moment: The car has snow tracks. Go figure.

Score: 2.5/5

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