Luc Besson is a mind-bogglingly prolific writer (as well as a director and producer), having scripted in excess of 40 films in the last 30 years. Recent times have seen him score with the Taken series, but he also hit franchise gold with Taxi. This 1998 film has had three sequels, a US remake and a television show, but none have come close to matching the frenetic action of director Gerard Pire’s original.
Clocking in a just under 90 minutes, Taxi is a fast-paced actioner which shows that the French have a knack for creating thrillers that’s equal to, if not better than Hollywood. Besson’s script covers a lot of ground as the film weaves its way through the streets of Paris. It’s a simple cops and robbers tale that’s light on logic but high on action.
Besson’s skill as a writer has always been the way that he tackles genre cliches head-on. He understands their ridiculousness, yet he embraces them with fervour. With Besson, there’s always the feeling that he writes his action scripts for his fourteen year-old self. He doesn’t go for subtext or social commentary, he just goes straight for entertainment. He does this so often that it’s exhausting to think how he continues to do it.
Taxi is writer-producer Luc Besson doing what he does best. He delivers over the top action in a film that might skimp on plot and logic, but he lashes on dollops of high octane action. This 1998 film shows that keeping this simple is often the best way to entertain.