Taxi Movies

Do you need a ride? Hop aboard these Taxi Movies!

In our times, when every aspect of life seems to be constantly changing, taxi drivers remain an unshakable icon, almost like a vintage actor frozen in an old black-and-white movie.

Yet, this profession has undergone numerous shifts over the decades. Once upon a time, being a taxi driver was about being an expert on the city, a kind of living encyclopedia who could find his way even during the busiest hours.

However, the mission of transporting people from point A to point B remains the same, even though smartphones have replaced CB radios, because the road, ah, the road is still the same!

That’s why taxi drivers are typically seen in different ways from nation to nation, from city to city: friends on four wheels, willing to trade jokes or listen to the problems of the day, or wise confidants who dispense unsolicited but often helpful advice. And then, of course, there are also the little hustlers willing to take the longest route just to make the meter run as long as possible.

For us movie lovers, turning on the screen is a bit like taking a cab: a journey into a new and unfamiliar world, exploring different cultures, eras and situations while remaining comfortably seated in our living room.

So today, we step into the strange world of these modern-day street knights, figures who, while often in the background of chaotic cities, are always present and ready to serve anyone in need of a ride.

So get comfortable, buckle up… and mind you, don’t disturb the driver!

Special Delivery (2022)

Special Delivery 2022 movie

Technically, the driver in today’s first movie does not drive a taxi, but she is young Eun-ha, a girl working at a construction site near Busan harbor, actually the hideout of a large underground delivery business.

However, most of these “deliveries” are about getting people from one point to another as fast as possible; usually, criminals need a quick getaway when cops are on their heels.

One such client, former baseball star Kim Doo-Sik, shows up with his little son at the pick-up location just in time for a group of thugs to attack and kill him mercilessly.

Left alone with the child, Eun-ha does not know what else to do besides taking him back to her home. However, unfortunately, she learns the attackers are still after them and are not just criminals but are led by the corrupt policeman Kyeong-pil.

So begins a mad dash through Seoul‘s streets to escape the pursuers, not knowing the child is carrying a data key that gives access to a $30 million black account.

South Korean cinema confirms its status as an incredible hotbed of all kinds of movies, in this case, following in the footsteps of Walter Hill‘s famous The Driver but with young Park So-dam driving a clandestine taxi.

We had already seen this actress in the celebrated Parasite, another South Korean gem that won the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, and it is entertaining to watch her in a different, more action and adventurous light.

Director Dae-min Park handles drama and comedy equally well, without mitigating the often cruel and sudden violence, alternating with sequences of car racing that are just as entertaining and spectacular.

What’s not to love about this high-speed thriller?

A taxi driver (2017)

A taxi driver 2017 movie
Amazon Prime Video

We remain in South Korea but during a very different historical period, the tragic 1980 Gwangju rebellion, when the military dictatorship that was ruling at the time choked in blood the many popular demonstrations.

This story follows an ordinary day of madness for Kim Man-seob, a Seoul taxi driver with a simple soul and a strong sense of duty to his family.

With the pressing need to pay rent and put something to eat on the table, he accepts a well-paid ride from a foreign journalist, Peter, wishing to report on events in Gwangju, where martial law is in force, and the army shoots on sight at anyone on the streets.

Unfortunately, Kim leaves unaware of the extent of this carnage, realizing how serious the situation is while approaching the city and becoming witnesses to the military’s horrific violence on the helpless population.

While at first, the taxi driver would like to just drop everything and go home, he soon becomes actively involved in the fighting along with his brave colleagues, starting to help people escape the massacre.

Director Jang Hoon honors the victims of those tragic days with a movie that begins with comedy and becomes a cruel war documentary, closely following a taxi driver on his journey to hell.

Resounding is the excellent Song Kang-ho, one of South Korea’s best-loved and most famous actors, here in the role of this little weasel who cheats on friends and colleagues to scrape together some money.

Yet when he faces the ordeal of fire, he unleashes an unexpected courage that inspires others to battle oppression.

A Taxi Driver can be an excellent start for those who want to approach South Korean productions, discovering a treasure chest of movies of all genres to keep movie fanatics happy.

Collateral (2004)

Collateral 2004 movie
Amazon Prime Video

The following taxi ride unfolds in the middle of the night in Los Angeles for a movie directed by veteran of the crime genre, Michael Mann.

For young driver Max, it seems like just another day, driving from place to place in the crowded city as he dreams of saving up enough money to open his limousine transport business.

Except everything changes when the impeccably dressed Vincent, a mob hitman who hires his services overnight, suddenly steps into his cab.

His goal is simple: find and eliminate five targets who are all involved in one way or another in a major trial against his boss, the dangerous smuggler Felix.

With no other choice, Max must lead the killer from victim to victim, all the way to the final murder that he absolutely will not want to allow.

If anyone knows how to chronicle cops’ and criminals’ lives, then it is Michael Mann, a multi-celebrated and beloved longtime director in both cinema and television.

From the days of Miami Vice to masterpieces like Heat or The Last of the Mohicans, this great movie artisan has never stopped steaming the forge where he crafts his magic.

In this case, he puts two prominent stars in the same car, such as Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise; the latter is simply stunning as an exceptional villain in what I do not hesitate to say is the best role of his long career.

Mann takes us with the innate grace of his impeccable direction on a magical and frightening journey through an unforgiving Los Angeles, where every man and woman stands alone in a ruthless struggle against the world.

Sky-high tension, memorable action scenes, and a mind-blowing soundtrack combine for one of the best action movies around. Do you really need more?

No Blood No Tears (2002)

No Blood No Tears 2002 movie
Amazon Prime Video

Once again, we fly to faraway South Korea, where we meet the no-longer-young Ms. Kyung-sun, a taxi driver who once had a promising boxing career.

However, past dreams are over, and in the present, there are only debts to be paid off when one evening, by luck/unluck, she crashes into the car of Su-ji, a flashy and vulgar girl who is also the girlfriend of Dok-bul, one of the most violent and dangerous criminals in town.

Initially, they tell each other to go to hell; later, their lives cross again, and they decide to work together to solve their financial and personal problems.

They thus plan a daring heist to steal a large sum of money from Dok-bul, robbing the proceeds of the underground gambling den that the criminal runs on behalf of his boss.

Unfortunately, others also have their eyes on the same rich loot, including a lame street gang, a corrupt policeman, and Dok-bul himself, who is now tired of taking orders and wants to become the leader of his crew.

Director Seung-wan Ryu stages a merry-go-round of irascible, off-the-wall characters, constantly jumping from situation to situation yet always staying with his compass pointed in the right direction.

The protagonist, Lee Hye-yeong, a tough-minded lady who stays afloat in the city’s macho criminal ecosystem, is fantastic, contrasting with the naive and mistreated accomplice Jeon Do-yeon.

Two women so different and yet so close, victims of a society that wants them subservient to men without protest, who will end up in a maelstrom of action sequences directed with grit and a genuine spirit of fun.

In short, we have a pulp noir charged with glee but with subtle undertones of dramatic nostalgia for a movie that begins and ends on the bloody seats of a taxi cab.

The Fifth Element (1997)

The Fifth Element 1997 movie
Amazon Prime Video

For today’s latest movie, we travel to faraway 2263 New York City at the dawn of an interstellar emergency with a mysterious deep space monster threatening to destroy the entire universe.

Fortunately, humans are not alone in the struggle, relying on the help of the millenarian Mondoshawan sages, in close contact with Earth for centuries through a religious order responsible for guarding the Stones of the Elements, the only weapon capable of defeating the Supreme Evil.

Greedy for power, industry tycoon Zorg gets in the way by slaughtering the Mondoshawans, but one of them is rescued and brought back to life in the form of a humanoid creature with the appearance of a beautiful girl, Leeloo.

I already know what you are wondering: how do taxi fit into such a movie?

Well, young Leeloo, newly reborn, immediately escapes and runs headlong into the swirling traffic of the city; ending up directly in the flying cab of former highly decorated soldier Korben Dallas.

Together with a wacky company of heroes, Korben and Leeloo begin a long journey to find the Elemental Stones before it is too late for everyone.

The Fifth Element is one of the most controversial movies from Luc Besson, a French blockbuster genius who jigs the American way with this colorful, childlike, explosive science fiction.

A style reminiscent of the best Star Wars, without the same epic but with plenty of desire to amaze through an exaggeratedly baroque experience with over-the-top characters and situations.

The romantic action couple works wonderfully with solid cab driver Bruce Willis along with the young and wonderful Milla Jovovich, an alien so sexy she is hard to forget.

Perhaps a little wasted Gary Oldman as the villain, barely effective even though the great actor does his best to give him some personality.

However, you can’t have everything in life, and personally, if one of these movies came out in theaters at least once a week, I would have nothing to complain about. What do you guys think? Do you have other taxi drivers from other movies in mind to add to the list?

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