Police officer Émilien has been having a bad few months. The Santa Clause gang, so-called because of their festive garb, have been embarking on a crime wave and the police are no closer to catching them. Commissaire Gibert is on his case to get results, partly to impress a visiting female Chinese reporter and Émilien’s girlfriend has some life changing news. Teaming up once again with speed freak taxi driver Daniel, who has women problems of his own, the race is on to apprehend the gang before they pull off their latest bank job.
Taxi 3 opens in explosive fashion with an exhilarating chase through the streets of Marseille involving bikes, rollerblades and a surprise appearance from Sylvester Stallone that leads into a fun pastiche of Maurice Binder’s 007 title sequences. Unfortunately this is as good as things get in this third chapter in the action comedy series again written and produced by Luc Besson. The plot is even slimmer than in the previous two films, but whereas they had a high quota of action and slapstick comedy Taxi 3 feels like a rushed cash in, hastily and lazily put together.
All the familiar cast return but are badly served by a script that has little comedic potential. The female characters are now relegated to little more than cameo roles and Bernard Farcy, hilarious as the Clouseau like Commissaire Gibert in the earlier films is not given much to do either. A couple of his scenes raise a smile rather than the customary laughs and are symptomatic of the whole film. Most importantly of all it takes a full 45 minutes for Daniel and Émilien to meet once again. The scant action scenes also offer little in the way of entertainment, despite the addition of more gadgets for Daniel’s car which gives him the edge during a climactic chase in snowier climes.
Fans of the series may welcome the opportunity to catch up with Émilien and Daniel and to be fair they still make for an appealing double act, despite the limited material. But Taxi 3 is not a worthy successor to the original movie and its fun sequel. At the time of writing a fourth film is in the post-production stages and it would be nice to see a return to the action packed comedic tone that made Taxi and Taxi 2 such unashamedly entertaining experiences. But on the evidence of Taxi 3 this looks like a franchise that has run out of gas.