Taxi appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Taxi offered a strong visual presentation that just narrowly fell below “A”-level.
Sharpness mostly worked well. A smidgen of softness crept in at times, largely due to the presence of some light edge enhancement. However, those concerns remained minor, as the flick usually looked concise and detailed. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and only very mild source flaws appeared. I saw a speck or two and some light grain, but that was it.
Colors offered the best parts of the visuals. Taxi stayed with a naturalistic palette, but it used a lot of bright tones within those restrictions. The movie’s hues were always lively and dynamic. Blacks also seemed deep and firm, while low-light shots were well-develop and smooth. Despite the smattering of minor issues, the film offered a very satisfying transfer.
With all its driving sequences, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Taxi offered a more involving affair than one might expect from a comedy. To be sure, the car-based sequences helped bring the audio to life. The mix consistently displayed a good sense of environment, and the various elements moved smoothly and neatly across the various channels. The surrounds didn’t overwhelm the action, as they mostly reinforced the front. They added good kick and allowed the driving scenes to demonstrate an extra layer of realism.
Audio quality also was positive. Speech consistently sounded natural and crisp, with no problems related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects were accurate and dynamic. They lacked any forms of distortion and often added a lot of kick in the louder scenes. The rock and hip-hop influenced music also cracked things open with lively and vivid tones. Bass response was very strong across the board, as the movie demonstrated excellent bass response. The track wasn’t quite good enough to broach “A” territory, but it worked well for this story.
When we move to the set’s extras, we find that the DVD in its theatrical rendition or an extended version. The latter adds about seven minutes to the movie’s original run time of 97 minutes. I only watched the longer version, so I can’t make a comparison between the two. However, the “Scene Selection” menu for the extended cut offers asterisks for the nine scenes that run longer. It’s nice to have the option and also cool that the disc lets us know which portions were altered.
Next we find a running, screen-specific audio commentary from director Tim Story. Note that this solely accompanies the theatrical version of the film. Story gets into a lot of useful topics. He covers comparisons with the original version of the film, casting and working with the actors, improvisation, the movie’s tone and influences, story issues, cinematographic choices and selection of aspect ratio, location challenges, editing, stunts, and music. As usual, a moderate amount of happy talk pops up, as Story makes sure to praise many of the participants. The track’s second half also drags at times, as that section suffers from sporadic bouts of dead air. However, the director mostly fills the commentary with good notes that flesh out the production and make this a positive experience.
The disc includes a collection of four Deleted Scenes that fill a total of three minutes, 53 seconds. These show us Andy’s post-accident assignment, Belle at a police lineup to identify the robbers, more of Andy’s driving woes, and an argument among the crooks. The bits with Officer Andy on patrol at the zoo almost border on becoming funny, but the others are a waste of time.
We find a mix of featurettes. The Meter’s Runnin’: Making Taxi runs 20 minutes and five seconds and features movie clips, behind the scenes elements, and interviews. We hear from Story, production designer Mayne Schuyler Berke, and actors Jimmy Fallon, Queen Latifah, Gisele Bundchen and Henry Simmons. We get a lot of fluffy praise for the project and the participants. A couple of notes about shooting and locations appear as well as Bundchen’s impressions of acting and the design of the cab, but don’t expect to learn a ton about the flick’s creation. Fallon fans will enjoy it, though, as he offers lots of wackiness on the set. We also get some outtakes that provide minor amusement.
After this comes Lights, Camera, Blue Screen. It goes for five minutes, 32 seconds, and includes remarks from visual effects supervisor Ray McIntyre, Jr. He discusses all the elements that allow them to recreate driving sequences in the studio. These look at both practical and post-production pieces used to make the illusion. Despite the featurette’s brevity, it presents a tight look at its subject and proves quite educational.
Up next we see Tour Guide: Jimmy Fallon, a five-minute and 34-second clip. Fallon takes us around the set and yuks it up with nutty comments about what he sees. It’s moderately amusing and that’s about it.
Part of a Comedy Central series, Reel Comedy: Taxi takes 21 minutes and 11 seconds. Hosted by “Lt. Jim Dangle” and “Travis Jr.” of Reno 911!, this goofy special includes comments from Fallon, Latifah, and Bundchen. All the prior “Reel Comedy” shows I saw were lame and dopey, and none of them offered any insight into the movies. Although we don’t learn anything about Taxi, this one actually manages to become pretty funny. “Dangle” and “Travis” do deadpan stupid well and offer some amusing moments. It’s still a superficial promotional piece with too many movie clips, but it’s easily the most entertaining “Reel Comedy” special I’ve seen. Heck, I laughed a lot more here than I did during the actual movie.
For the final featurette, we discover Beautiful Criminals. This two-minute and 33-second snippet offers a bizarre form of music video. We hear some score elements combined with movie clips and a few behind the scenes shots. All of these focus on the flick’s babes. If you want to see 153 seconds of Bundchen and the others, give it a look. It seems pretty pointless, though.
In the Trailers area, we find ads for The Sandlot 2 and American Dad. The promo for Taxi itself doesn’t appear on the DVD. Inside Look offers a preview for Rebound with some movie clips and comments from actor Martin Lawrence.
Neither a funny comedy nor an exciting action flick, Taxi fails to entertain. Actually, a few of the stunts are pretty impressive, but the film never uses these well or turns into an impressive flick. The DVD presents pretty solid picture and audio with a decent set of extras. Some fluffy bits pop up but we get a good commentary and a few other useful tidbits. Taxi adds up to a pretty good DVD, but I can’t recommend this weak film to anyone who doesn’t already know they like it.