Directed by Kelvin Sng and produced by Chan Pui Yin, Taxi! Taxi! is based on Cai Mingjie's Diary of a Taxi Driver: True Stories From Singapore's Most Educated Cabdriver. The movie is centred around Chua See Kiat, whose PhD in microbiology is rendered pretty much useless when he gets retrenched and he eventually turns to cabdriving to earn money. He strikes up an unlikely friendship with veteran cabdriver Ah Tau and together they embark on a journey of self-discovery.
Despite having a stellar cast, the acting was unexpectedly boring and lacking in lustre. I'd expected more humour from the likes of Mark Lee and Gurmit Singh (both who'd previously starred in amazing local comedies) but the acting was but merely monotonous and mediocre. Sure, there were some funny moments, but the comedic scenes felt a little forced - as if the producers were trying to add in some comedy into the film just for the sake of it.
The movie's only saving grace comes in the form of the adorable child actor, Chua Jin Sen. Despite it being his film debut, he managed to act convincingly - in fact, more so than experienced actors like Gurmit Singh, and he had so much energy in him that made him all the more endearing. If only he could've shared his energy with the rest of the cast, then perhaps Taxi Taxi wouldn't be so much of a disappointment.
The storyline seems pretty cliché, thus I was shocked that it is (partially?) based on true diaries account. Guess life is really like a stage. It is really a hilarious show, and I especially love the little boy “ki chiu!” (raise hands) pose. He’s one of my favourites among the cast! Again, Mark Lee played the typical Ah Beng’s (slightly toned down) role, which is still funny and kind of heart-warming to me.
It is really touching at some point of the film, where it reminded us about how our father (and mother) worked so hard for us. And sometimes, we as kids tend to take all that for granted. It also shows how great is the unity of taxi drivers (and friendship) still exists in today’s seemingly “selfish” society.
Though not a great international film (and I think that wasn’t the intent), it certainly adds to the collection of great Singapore films. And as we continue to develop, I think it would be a great educational tool for us and our future generations – not to take anything for granted.
The most endearing part about this movie is definitely the little boy with his broken English and cute antics. As usual, there are clever and subtle digs at the government and many hokkien references that are bound to put a smile on a Singaporean’s face. Overall, I give this movie a 4/5.