Taxi (1998) Movie Review

Director: Gerard Pires

Writer: Luc Besson (Screenplay)

Starring: Samy Naceri, Frederic Diefenthal, Marion Cotillard, Manuela Gourary, Emma Wiklund, Bernard Farcy

Plot: To work off his tarnished driving record, a hip taxi driver must chauffeur a loser police inspector on the trail of German bank robbers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun

Story: Taxi starts as slick pizza delivery man and scooter racer Daniel (Naceri) finally gets his dream job, as a taxi driver in Marseilles, his driving skills means he can complete the fares which others wouldn’t get completed. Police officer Emilien (Diefenthal) is still struggling to pick up driving, which is making his own position a problem, when the latest job is to stop German thieves.

When the two meet, Emilien sees a chance to redeem himself, while letting Daniel off the misdemeanours he has been committing behind the wheel, as the unlikely duo look to capture the German thieves.

Thoughts on Taxi

Characters – Daniel is a speed demon, he races scooters and once he gets his taxi licence, he uses this passion for racing as a challenge to get fares to destination on time, only this sees him speeding with Emilien in his car, needing to make up for his mistake, he offers to help Emilien crack the case he is working on, as the two become friends. Emilien is a clumsy cop, he can’t pick up driving, with his actions leading to more problems, he knows his time is limited and uses his new found friendship to crack the case that will impress the super intendant. The pair work well together showing they can fill the weaknesses they both have. Lilly is Daniel’s girlfriend that is always missing the chance to spend time with him. Camille is Emilien’s mother that is the only person he has in his life, with her ever positive mood reflecting onto him.

PerformancesSamy Naceri and Frederic Diefenthal together are great to watch, with excellent chemistry together through the whole film. Marion Cotillard in the supporting role is fun, but we don’t get to see enough of her character.

StoryThe story here follows a speed demon taxi driver that reluctantly joins forces with a down on his luck cop to try and take down a group of German thieves in France. This is a buddy comedy, with two different people working together for the greater good, the pair get laughs as they plan for the next robbery. It does show us how sometimes you must find a way to outsmart the criminal and is designed to get more flash out of the car chases, with the comedy in the partnership. We don’t need to get much deeper with everything, letting the simple idea shine through.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film is very entertaining, with flash car chases all the way through, with the comedy coming from seeing how the two as they get through the days together.

SettingsThe film is set in Marseilles, which does bring together a couple of tighter streets and a different location for the car chases, that we would have seen before.


Scene of the Movie – The final chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough of Lilly.

Final Thoughts Fun action comedy that doesn’t hold back on the action, while letting the comedy flow nicely.

Overall: Enjoyable.

Signature Entertainment presents Taxi on Digital HD July 31 and on Amazon Prime August 3rd

ABC Film Challenge – Action – W – Who Am I? (1998) Movie Review

Director: Benny Chan, Jackie Chan

Writer: Jackie Chan, Susan Chan, Lee Reynolds (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Michelle Ferre, Mirai Yamamoto, Ron Smerczak, Ed Nelson, Ton Pompert, Glory Simon

Plot: A Secret Agent loses his memory after falling from a crashing helicopter. He is then chased by several other agency operatives, but he has no idea why.


Tagline – Fight now. Ask questions later.

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Standard Jackie Chan Movie

Story: Who Am I? Starts when a special agent (Chan) gets betrayed on a mission, he survives a helicopter crash in South Africa, bought back to health by a local tribe, before looking to get back into his life, only to learn that other agencies are looking to uncover the secret to what they have discovered.

The agent who is going by the name Who Am I starts to learn what injuries he suffered, when he starts to meet the agencies that are all offering him a chance to learn about his past, only they might not be as true as they are letting on, can he learn the truth to save the world from a new dangerous threat.

Thoughts on Who Am I?

Characters – Who Am I is a special agent that has lost his memory after an accident on his latest mission, he still possesses the survival skills to make it out of sticky situations, only he doesn’t know who to trust about unlocking the truth about his past, seeing him trying to escape any threats coming his way. Christine Stark is a reporter looking to make a story out of Who Am I, she will always be there at the right time, only she is getting to close to the story. Yuki is a lady that Who Am I helps in the desert, she is a tourist that is always looking to get involved in help him learn the truth. Morgan is one of the many people trying to track down Who Am I, he is looking to make a major business deal which would see him make billions.

PerformancesJackie Chan is always an entertaining watch, which is nothing less than we expect, he handles the fighting sequences with ease, being the best part of this film. The rest of the cast do struggle to make an impact, despite how involved they should be in the film.

StoryThe story follows a special agent that loses his memory after a mission turns sour, only to find himself being hunted down by most intelligence agencies from around the world. This is an entertaining story, which is filled with twists and turns along the way as the agent is trying to stay ahead of a game, he just doesn’t know who to trust. A lot of the story is planning, when we aren’t following the agent in his fight sequences, which can slow down the story for large parts too.

Action/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action is everything that you would imagine from a Jackie Chan movie, we have excellent choreographed fight scenes, mixed with stunts to escape, a nice mix of serious and comedic too, which lets us get the laughs along the way. The sci-fi side of the film focuses on just what the danger in the world is going to be.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, with some being used for the scales of the fights, which adds peril to them, while others show typical business meeting locations, for scheming.


Scene of the Movie – Handcuff escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too long for what it is.

Final Thoughts This is an entertaining Jackie Chan film, it does rely on his skills more than anything, despite being slightly too long for its own good.

Overall: Entertaining.

ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – E – Enemy of the State (1998) Movie Review

Director: Tony Scott

Writer: David Marconi (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet, Regina King, Stuart Wilson, Laura Cayouette, Barry Pepper

Plot: A lawyer becomes a target by a corrupt politician and his N.S.A. goons when he accidentally receives key evidence to a serious politically motivated crime.


Tagline – The only privacy left is inside of your head

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fast-Paced Tension Filled Thriller

Story: Enemy of the State starts as a lawyer Robert Dean (Smith) shows off his skills dealing with criminals, he is out shopping for Christmas when he bumps into an old classmate Daniel Zavitz (Lee) who has footage of the NSA and Thomas Reynolds (Voight) murdering a congressman, he is being hunted down for the footage and leaves a cassette with Robert.

With the team believing Robert has the footage, he must go on the run from the team using the satellite system to track him, turning to conspiracy man Edward Lyle (Hackman) with any chance of escaping the man hunt.

Thoughts on Enemy of the States

Characters – Robert Dean is an labour lawyer who knows how to get the cases closed at all times, he has been working on his latest case which has seen a gangster coming after him, he has been unfaithful in the past, but has managed to clean up his act, while still working with the lady he had an affair with. Robert does become a target by the NSA who target him after they start to cover up a murder which will expose a big plan, where he must work to stay ahead of them and figure out why they are after him, learning to go under the radar. Edward Lyle is the conspiracy theorist that has been living off the radar that reluctantly helps Robert, knowing how much trouble he has gotten himself in. Thomas Reynolds is the man pushing for the surveillance system being used, he wants the win the votes, which means getting rid of the problems that were against it, which means he is running the operation to keep things under cover. Rachel is the source for Robert, though she does have a past with from their previous relationship, there working relationship is always going to be difficult, she sees her life spiral out of control too.

PerformancesWill Smith is wonderful in this role, he showed us a much more mature performance than we are used to after the fun performances he did before. Gene Hackman is great to watch too, you completely agree with his mindset through the film, while Jon Voight will always make for a great villain. We have such a big cast in this film, which sees all the actors performing strong through the film, which could be considered an early role for most of them.

StoryThe story here follows a man who’s live is turned upside down when he gets targeted by the NSA who believe he has evidence which could ruin a bill being put into place by congress. This story does focus on the idea that the country wants to use surveillance to watch over the people for the greater good, while arguing where the lines could be drawn about privacy. We do see how quickly Robert has his life taken apart and how is almost feels too easy to make happen. This is a fast-paced story which might have become something that has dated because the surveillance world is now here and the warnings are here for the characters to get through.

ActionThe action here is mostly filled with chases sequences that are entertaining to watch and show how the cameras keep everything on edge.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in the big cities, showing they would have an almost endless amounts of cameras watching over everybody.


Scene of the Movie – You made a phone call!

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The end is slightly ridiculous.

Final Thoughts This is a great action thriller that keeps the pace flowing showing just how the surveillance world has evolved through the years with wonderful performances throughout.

Overall: Great Action Thriller

Ground Control (1998)

Director: Richard Howard

Writer: Mark Shepherd, Robert Moreland (Screenplay) Talaat Captan, Robert Moreland (Story)

Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Bruce McGill, Kristy Swanson, Robert Sean Leonard, Kelly McGillis, Margaret Cho, Ruben Paul

Plot: A disgraced former air traffic controller is called back into service when the airport’s traffic control system malfunctions.


Tagline – No Radar. No Contact. No Control.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Smart Thriller

Story: Ground Control starts as air traffic controller Jack Harris (Sutherland) loses one of his planes in an accident, with nothing being his own fault. Jack is out the game working on developing a video game in air traffic controlling when his friend T.C. Bryant (McGill) comes to him in need of help because of the workload thrown upon his team.

When Jack reluctant agrees to work for one night, he must face his past, even with hot shot new trafficker Cruise (Leonard) not wanting to work with him and rookie Julie (Swanson) willing to learn off Jack.

Thoughts on Ground Control

Characters – Jack Harris was once one of the best air traffic controllers in the business, he does suffer the nightmare of all the air traffic controllers have, losing a plane, turning to the drink to blame himself for what happened. He has turned to designing video games, but it talked into return on a business night, where he must finally face his own past and deal with the pressure once again. T.C Bryant is the friend of Jack’s who has turned to him for help deal with the added pressure piled onto him, he controls the team with his work, which sees him showing off his micromanagement skills. Julie is the rookie on her first night in the team, nervous at the start, Jack offers to help her, while Cruise is willing to put her under pressure. Cruise is the hot shot that gets through the day with his abilities that could make him the best in the business, his attitude has been the one thing that has always held him back, where he is the closest to a villain we have in this film.

PerformancesKiefer Sutherland was a strange choice for this role, when it comes to being in the controller persons, he is great to watch, but when it comes to the unsure nervous filled with regret side of the character he does seem slightly miscast. Bruce McGill, Kristy Swanson and Robert Sean Leonard are all great to watch in their roles in the film.

StoryThe story here follows one night in an air traffic control station which has had increased number of flights thrown onto them and the pressure forces the boss to turn to his old colleague to help even though he has been battling his own problems. This is a story that does come from a strange angle because instead of doing anything glorified or over the top, it simply just looks to focus on the pressure these teams will be facing while working on daily basis. We do have the incidents that will show how calm they need to be and how easily they can work to solve the problems they face and by the end you will find yourself gripped to what is happening.

Action/AdventureThe action involved in the film is mostly off camera, it follows what could happen with the planes during difficult decisions, while it does have an adventure tone through how Jack wants to overcome his problems.

SettingsThe film is set within the air traffic control station which shows us how close the team must work together for when the pressure grows.


Scene of the Movie – The last plane to land, it is an intense scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Sutherland doesn’t seem to fit the nervous unsure figure.

Final Thoughts This is a tidy thriller that does keep us guessing just to what will happen next with the pressure being piled upon the team, it does keep everything feeling realistic too by only showing the team at work.

Overall: Air Traffic Thriller.

Ben Stiller Weekend – There’s Something About Mary (1998)

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writer: Ed Decter, John J Strauss, Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly (Screenplay)

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller, Lee Evans, Chris Elliott, Lin Shaye, Jeffrey Tambor, Markie Post, Keith David

 

Plot: A man gets a chance to meet up with his dream girl from high school, even though his date with her back then was a complete disaster.


Tagline – Warning: The guys who did ‘Dumb & Dumber’ and ‘Kingpin’ bring you a love story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Comedy

 

Story: There’s Something About Mary starts back in high school Ted (Stiller) is an outsider at school with a giant crush on the school beauty Mary (Diaz), he is lucky enough to get asked to the prom which only ends in disaster after an accident.

13 years later Ted still wants to know about Mary, he hires a private investigator Healy (Dillon) to find out about her, only for him to fall for her and he tries to get her using all the secrets he has learnt from spying on her, which drives Ted down to Florida to try and win her heart first.

 

Thoughts on There’s Something About Mary

 

Characters – Mary is the beauty woman that the guys are all attracted too, she is good-hearted helping the community including her brother, she however can’t settle on the right guy, attracting the wrongs one too often. Ted is the high school student that suffers an unfortunate accident on prom night, he never got over not knowing about Mary and sets out to learn about her 13-years later, he continues to have accidents in life, but is an honest guy. The nice twist on these two characters is that, Mary is the big sports fan while Ted doesn’t seem that interested in sports. Healy is the private investigator that is hired to learn about Mary, he falls for her and uses the information he has learnt to try and win her heart. Tucker is a friend of Mary’s that also loves her and will do anything to stop the guys dating her.

PerformancesCameron Diaz was the perfect choice for this role she has the looks which was important, but she shows us all that she has the comedic timing too. Matt Dillon as a creepy investigator works great too, this plays into his strengths in the comedy genre too, while Ben Stiller shows us just how good he is at playing to loveable loser figure, apart from his terrible fake crying. The supporting cast get their laughs too, which works well throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows multiply men that fall for Mary, they are going to try different plans to win her heart and certain ideas do work. This doesn’t paint the intelligent doctor figure of Mary very well, but we tend to focus on the guys plans over her decisions. Ted is the nice guy that mostly wants to make sure she is doing well in life only to become part of her life again, while others turn to lies to play into her favourite traits. For a comedy this story works very well, it will give you the laughs along the way even if the characters for the most part are turned into desperate people that will lie to get a woman.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film gets laughs throughout the film, certain people will be offended by certain material though. The romance shows how people will fall in love and how far people will go for love.

SettingsMost of the film is set around Florida, which gives us the sun filled background to make this easy on the eyes.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning the truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The depiction of mentally handicapped people.

Final ThoughtsThis is a funny comedy that does make us laugh more often than not, we have great performances from the whole cast and you will be happy to watch this again.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy.

Rating