Belle Williams is a speed demon. Flying through the streets of New York in her tricked-out taxi, she's earned a rep as New York's fastest cabbie. But driving a hack is only a pit stop for her real dream: Belle wants to be a race car champion. And she's well on her way--until she's derailed by overeager cop Andy Washburn, whose undercover skills are matched only by his total ineptitude behind the wheel. Washburn, whose lack of vehicular skills has landed him in the precinct doghouse, is hot on the heels of a gang of beautiful Brazilian bank robbers, led by Vanessa, their cold, calculating--and leggy--leader. To nab the evasive crooks, drivers license-less Washburn convinces Belle to team up with him to pursue Vanessa and crew. Belle has carte blanche to drive at any speed and break any law. The car-less cop and speed-demon cabbie--New York's unlikeliest partners-- begin a high-speed game of cat and mouse with the robbers. That is, if Belle and Washburn don't end up killing each other ...Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Slick, flashy film, a semi-remake of Luc Besson's "Taxi" from 1998, here Americanized as an urban action-comedy. Queen Latifah plays smart-mouthed cabbie with a souped-up vehicle in New York City who inadvertently partners with stumble bum cop Jimmy Fallon to crack a major crime case. Film should have relied more on Latifah's natural sass and less on Fallon's white-bread, dim-witted act (race is a constant punchline in the script, and Fallon is just there as Exhibit A). Jennifer Esposito is wonderful as a no-nonsense police lieutenant, Ann-Margret is a stitch as Fallon's tippling mother, and John Sierros (Broadway actor shamefully credited as 'Fat Cop') shines as a bamboozled police officer, but what happened to Queen Latifah? She gets a few good cracks in, but there's no character here for her to play; she sticks to her sarcastic persona and puts everyone down, but her role is depressingly one-dimensional. Comedy has a fast pace, impressive cinematography (although the swooping crane shots in traffic get repetitive) and some good car chases, but the screenplay needed an overhaul. ** from ****
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