Honourable mention: John McClane & Zeus Carver (Bruce Willis & Samuel L. Jackson), Die Hard With A Vengeance
OK, technically neither John nor Zeus (who does not look Puerto Rican to me) are taxi drivers, but at various points throughout this New York-set sequel they do drive a taxi, so technically they are taxi drivers, and therefore eligible for this list. I’ve loved Die Hard with a Vengeance since many years before I even saw Die Hard, and I think it’s the bickering relationship between the two that drew me to it. Specifically, I love the scene in which the two must make it across town in a very short amount of time, during rush hour traffic. The solution? drive straight through Central Park, ploughing through cyclists and pedestrians alike. This scene gives way to my favourite line in the film, when Zeus asks if McClane is aiming for the people, he replies “No, well, maybe that mime.” Other great taxi drivers I could have used are the pain in the ass sports fan who Cuba Gooding Jr. is lumbered with in Rat Race, Darwin (Edi Gathegi) the underused evolving mutant in X-Men: First Class, who we first meet driving a cab, Beauregarde from The Great Muppet Caper, Alan Ford in An American Werewolf in London, J B Smoove in Date Night and the terrifying, snarling, grotesgue “Ain’t much better in here, kid” guy from Home Alone 2.Continue reading →
Michael Mann takes a break from shootouts and dogged cops hunting master criminals in favour of a more laidback, narrative-driven movie about Jamie Foxx’s ambitious yet stunted taxi driver Max carries his fares around the neon-lit streets of L.A. That is, until he picks up Tom Cruise’s hitman Vincent, and Max’s night, and his dreams, are thrown into turmoil as the body count rises.
Cruise seems like an odd choice to play a fairly villainous guys, but he proves spot-on, retaining his usual casual charm but with a steely glint and wolfish menace to go with his salt and pepper hair, leaving Foxx to submit lie in his shadow.
The script relies too much on luck and coincidence, and leaves some pretty gaping plot holes you could drive a cab through, plus those paying attention should see that there’s really only one way the film can end, with a last act twist clearly signposted in seemingly throwaway lines. The writer even resorts to a low cell phone signal and battery as a means of moving the plot along; generally the laziest idea anyone could use.
The film evokes memories of much better films – Leon’s hitman, Taxi Driver, The French Connection’s subway stand-off, every buddy movie ever made – reminding you that there’s little original here. So whilst it’s watchable, it’s by no means worthy of a place on the list, and was wisely cut from the 1001 book some years ago.