Bigger, brasher and bolder than its 1998 predecessor, Taxi 2 is a mindlessly enjoyable chase movie that brings a touch of Gallic flair to the American thrillers it so shamelessly emulates. Though some may find the casual racism and sexism hard to stomach, this is an efficient piece of fluff that deftly combines Blues Brothers-style car stunts with Inspector Clouseau-style humour.
The first movie, which Luc Besson scripted in the 30 days spent waiting for Columbia to give the greenlight to The Fifth Element, had bumbling cop Émilien (Diefenthal) team up with taxi driver Daniel (Naceri) to defeat a group of Mercedes-driving Germans. This time around the bad guys are Japanese yakuza (mispronounced as "jacuzzi" by Bernard Farcy's incompetent chief inspector Gibert in just one of many anti-Asian jibes).
Despite Daniel swapping his souped-up taxi cab for a voice-activated Peugeot and the action shifting from Marseilles to Paris in the final stages, there are few changes to the formula that made Taxi such a hit. As before, Émilien is entranced by statuesque Nordic colleague Petra (Sjöberg), while Daniel's attempts to satisfy his girlfriend's carnal lusts are perpetually thwarted by his prospective father-in-law, a loopy general who makes Herbert Lom's Inspector Dreyfus look positively restrained.
Despite being released in both subtitled and dubbed versions (the latter featuring Lock Stock...'s Jason Flemyng), the original Taxi failed to make much of an impact here.