5 Ingredients for a Great Crazy Taxi Movie

Believe it or not, a Crazy Taxi movie had been in the works as early as 2001! Initially, director Richard Donner (of the first Superman film) had been attached to direct an adaptation of the hit SEGA video game. Said Donner in an interview with About.com, “Everybody in my company loves it. Everybody loved Crazy Taxi from the beginning. I used to love to play it and the opportunity of turning it into a film came up so now we’ve got to [adapt] a game that has no characters that come to life. So, now we’ve got to create the characters so that you care about it and you care about them, you get emotionally charged by them and committed”. Donner further stated that he wasn’t certain that the game characters would be in the film, unless they work and can be embellished upon. As for location, Donner had decided on New York City.

Of course, these plans never came to fruition and due to difficulties in finding a plot for the film, Donner dropped the project and the rights were picked up by Mindfire Entertainment, the idiots behind those awful House of the Dead movies. Thankfully, Mindfire has yet to bring the proposed Crazy Taxi film to screens (or direct to DVD) and perhaps they have since lost the rights. Despite any hopes for a Crazy Taxi movie being dead in the water, as fans we can still dream. So join me as I reveal the five ingredients for a grrrrrreat Crazy Taxi movie!

A Director who GETS the Material

No Uwe Boll. No director who has not played the game. What a Crazy Taxi movie needs is a director who has an eye for action, comedy and above all else an appreciation for the material. Thankfully, Crazy Taxi is now over ten years old, so a good number of fans have since grown up and a few have surely entered the film business. 2001 was too soon, but 2011 could be just right a time to put the call out for a director. You never know, any number of modern directors could be Crazy Taxi fans and would jump at the chance to direct a film version. Imagine Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) or Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim) directing. Both have a knack for comic dialogue, fast paced over-the-top action and an appreciation for pop culture.

An Awesome Soundtrack

This is a must. No Crazy Taxi film would be complete without a rockin’ soundtrack. While The Offspring and Bad Religion are rather dated, at the very least the movie would have to kick off with The Offspring’s “All I Want”. It is just too iconic a song to not include. As for the rest of the music, I wouldn’t mind hearing some original tunes created for the film by some more modern day punk rock groups. Since I’m a square, I’m not “hip” to the whole punk scene so maybe readers can give some band suggestions in the comments section.

A Creative Plot

Supposedly a lack of plot was what killed the movie back in 2001, so certainly this would be the first thing to nail down. I’m actually quite surprised that Hollywood had such a hard time figuring out a story for the film. Surely a crazy cab company run by a group of misfits could inspire any number of plots. Here’s one off the top of my head:

“Deo ‘Hot -D’ Kondonyanis, brother of Greek mob boss Kris Kondonyanis, is the owner of the offbeat cab company ‘Eazy Taxi’. Eazy Taxi’s slogan is ‘Where you’re going, we don’t need roads’, as the crazy drivers under Hot-D’s employment bend traffic rules to obtain the most fares and make the most money. New York detective Alex Kidman has been secretly trailing Kris Kondonyanis, hoping to catch him in the act and bring him to justice.

To get closer to the mob, Alex goes undercover as ‘Axel’ and gets a job with Hot-D’s cab company. Eazy Taxi employees B.D. Joe, Slash, Cinnamon and Hot-D’s daughter Gina show Axel the ropes and soon Axel is almost like a son to Hot-D. Unfortunately, Axel’s cover is blown and Kris suspects that Hot-D was planning on helping Alex to bring him down so that Hot-D could take over the family business. The movie ends with a bang as the police, the Greek mob and Eazy Taxi’s employees take to the streets in an all out vehicular battle.”

A Solid Cast

So let’s get to the fun part: the casting! This is what could make or break the film. I think the best way to cast a Crazy Taxi movie is to first choose the most interesting characters from the series. The three games gave us twelve unique characters, more than enough to draw from. I doubt fans would mind if Axel of Crazy Taxi and Hot-D of Crazy Taxi 2 worked together in New York, or if half of the cast from the third game were mixed with the cast of the first game. It’s not as though the series had a plot that hinged on the four cabbies of each game remaining separate from the others, or being confined to a certain city. As long as the characters are true to their game depictions and they all work for the same cab company.

Once characters are nailed down, casting should focus on comic actors with the energy to carry a dialogue driven scene and the ability to work with an ensemble cast. No action heroes, no stars who have too big an ego to let loose and have fun with a scene. You may have noticed the doctored up photo I made of Charlie Day of the tv show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia as Axel. That is exactly the direction I’d love to see the film take. For those who haven’t seen Always Sunny, it features a group of social misfits who are always hatching elaborate schemes and bring chaos and havoc to the most normal situations. The dialogue is funny and sharp and the characters and terrible yet likable. Such a dynamic would work great for a Crazy Taxi movie. Hilarious subversive comedy followed by insane vehicular stunts, all driven by the overarching plot.

Bring Charlie Day on as Axel, Dave Chappelle as B.D. Joe (Dave needs to come out of hiding) and fill out the rest of the cast with established comic actors. Have the iconic Crazy Taxi announcer appear as a disembodied radio DJ. Give Danny DeVito a role too, he is a Taxi veteran and his chemistry with Charlie Day is hilarious.

Practical Stunts

Back in 2001 when the Crazy Taxi movie was being planned, computer graphics were all the rage. It’s no doubt that a 2001 version of the film would have used all the bells and whistles of CG animation to make the movie resemble something like The Fast and the Furious. However, I believe that a successful Crazy Taxi movie would rely mostly on practical stunt work. What fun is it to see a car fly thirty feet through the air if you know it’s not real? I recall turning off the Speed Racer movie halfway through due to visual effects boredom. If SEGA and the studio behind the film wants butts to fill the theater seats, they need to have as much reality as possible on the screen. The crazier and larger the stunts the better. Who wouldn’t want to see a real life “crazy hop”?

So those are the elements that I think would make for a great Crazy Taxi movie. What would you like to see in a film version of the video games? Who is your ideal cabbie cast? Sound off in the comments section!

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20 responses to “5 Ingredients for a Great Crazy Taxi Movie

  1. DCGX says:

    Not bad. I kinda like the plot, though I demand deeping plots with my films (written or directed).

    However, I think NYC would be tough for Crazy Taxi. You'd spend a lot of time driving on the sidewalk and outside of a couple parks, there isn't much room. I think Southern California or a more open city would serve the stunts better.

    And while I love Charlie Day, I don't think he fits Axel. Physically speaking he's no good. A short, kind of round guy I don't see being a good undercover cop, or Axel. If it were a spoof, then I say go with it, but if it's more serious, then someone better. Off the top of my head I can't think of anyone. Maybe an unknown.

  2. DCGX says:

    Duh, for the city, Vegas. It's from the third game and there's enough open area for stunts while maintaining a big city feel.

    • danny says:

      I love your ideas. I only have one suggestion. B.D Joe seems like he would be a bit of a comic character. So instead of Dave Chappelle, you should cast someone funny to play B.D.

  3. I don't know, I'd prefer a funny actor to a ripped pretty boy. Dude doesn't need a six pack to play the character, just needs the crazy attitude, red shirt and spiked green hair. I can't see a Crazy Taxi played too seriously. Though I could see it working with the same sort of feel as Beverly Hills Cop, Cranked or movies I mentioned in the directors section.

    I agree, though, that San Fran would probably be more suitable for stunts.

  4. -nSega54- says:

    Whoa whoa whoa, lol….Offspring and Bad Religion are dated? Bad Religion just released a great new CD this October, (the Dissent of Man) their style's very much evolved and it doesn't sound dated at all. They're still one of the most influential punk bands around. Offspring's got a new CD coming this year. Their last album (Rise and Fall Rage and Grace from 2008) had a #1 radio hit, (You're Gonna Go Far Kid), the nation's top rock song for weeks.

    I'd agree though that the movie of course wouldn't ONLY have a soundtrack by these bands, but it would be funny if 1 song from each made an appearance.

    Anyyyyyyway, great article. Edgar Wright would be my choice. The good thing about Crazy Taxi is that any director can sit down and play (and "get") the game in about 15 minutes. It's not like Shadow of the Colossus, where the director would have to make a big commitment to play the game.

  5. cube_b3 says:

    Alex Kidman going under cover as Axel Stone.

    3 Birds with 1 Stone.

    EPIC.

  6. Prefect, cube.

    Yes, a bounty of SEG references is another must. I'm talking 10X what the Josie and the Pussycats movie had.

  7. cube_b3 says:

    On a serious note I always thought Hollywood made Crazy Taxi movie without the name:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0316732/

  8. "a few have surly entered the film business" Do you mean "surely"? I had to read that a couple of times. I was thinking of these grumpy drunks entering the film business. 🙂

    Great article. I had no idea this was ever a possibility.

  9. Thanks for spotting that Emmett 🙂 Yeah, who knows who has the rights now. I really hope the Uwe Boll studio lost them.

    @Cube:

    Actually, that "Taxi" movie is based off a French series of films written by Luc Besson, also titled "Taxi", which hit French theaters in 1998. The series is about a racecar driver turned cabbie who is forced to help a cop hunt down some bank robbers, or risk losing his license. Besson's later film The Fifth Element starred Bruce Willis as a cabbie, probably a nod to "Taxi". Has no connection to the SEGA games.

    Funny thing is that Willis raced a taxi through New York in the third Die Hard (1995) pulling off some very Crazy Taxi-like moves.

    The Crazy Taxi character Gus resembles Bruce Willis as he looked in Die Hard 3: http://img703.imageshack.us/img703/5118/diehardve

    Probably a coincidence, but its an interesting connection and I wouldn't be surprised if there was some inspiration there.

  10. crackdude says:

    "Alex goes undercover as ‘Axel’"

    AHAHAHAH

    Barry, this article is mindblowng!

    • Mike says:

      I think Mojo Nixon would make a Perfect Axel.

      The attitude, the look, everything about him.

      The Script is a pretty good Idea too.

  11. cube_b3 says:

    Yeah, I've seen Taxi. But the inspiration is obviously and prominently there. What else could the Crazy cabbies do, if not foil major bank robberies lead by Brazilian supermodel's disguised as Men and then make the Banks of New York sponsor the Crazy "Street Racing" Cabbie in a formal racing competition.

    Did you know that there is a french game on Dreamcast called Taxi 2, based on that movie.

  12. Uwe Bowell's movies seem like some kind of tax scam, not actual movies that anyone gave a rip about.

  13. DCGX says:

    @Barry

    Not exactly what I meant. There's no reason a more buff guy can't be funny. Maybe someone like Chris Evans. I, personally, just can't see Charlie Day or someone similar in the role.

  14. crackdude says:

    "Did you know that there is a french game on Dreamcast called Taxi 2, based on that movie."

    I used to have it. It's HORRIBLE, but that only adds to the charm.

  15. cube_b3 says:

    So anyway after staring at this guy with photoshopped green hair for probably almost a week, I just can't accept him as Alex Kidman, Axel Stone, or plain old Axel.

    Axel had the killer abs, if I remember correctly.

    @ CrackDude: I may have played it once, was it also a Playstation 1 port?

  16. If you don't know the actor, then you won't get the casting. The dude is crazy funny, and has a ton of comic energy, six pack or not.

  17. memebot119 says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nNCR4lRO5M This fake trailer made by Hamtarucard is pretty good. And I think Seth Green would be great for Axel, except for Charlie Day.

  18. _HDMdie says:

    OK, i’m a few years late, but what about this for a plot:

    B.D. Joe works for the Easy Taxi company, until one day, the company fires him and the other characters for being “too slow to deliver their customers”. They are all angry at the taxi company, and after a scene of them yelling at the storefront, they decide to set up their own company, but this time “they’ll make sure they get their customer to their destination on time, all the time”. they break into the company and steal their taxi’s back, and get to work.

    after the Easy Taxi chairman hears about this, he employs new drivers to take Joe’s company out of the competition. Joe and the crew end up taking the competition out, and decide to take on the chairman, but they need more money, so they continue working, avoiding the police and more henchmen.

    finally, after getting the funds, they go to the chairman’s office, and the chairman runs out of his office into a taxi. The Crazy Taxi crew chase the chairman to a cliffside, where he hangs off of the edge and begs for help, saying he’ll do anything. Joe helps him up, and the chairman thanks him, but joe moves on to to say “did you say ‘anything’?”.

    the shot breaks to black, and “all i want” by The Offspring starts playing, as the crew burst out of the Crazy Taxi(formerly the Easy Taxi) company. roll credits.

    still a work in progress, but would be a good concept

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