Taxi drivers have had their fair share of screen time in movies, mostly because showing a lead shuffling onto a bus and trying to have a meaningful moment with their face all up in some fat hobo’s armpit would ruin the magic, as much as showing their pampered posteriors being chauffeured around in a private car would. Cabs provide the perfect transitional setting for a lusty romance, an adrenaline fuelled chase, a deep meaningful conversation or just a little colourful exposition. So it’s no wonder that cabbies get some zinger one-liners or hell, even the lead role. Here’s a run-down of the most badass taxi drivers ever to grace our screens.
10) Cart Driver – An Extraordinary Cab Accident (1903)
Even before they had the mighty power of the gas guzzling engine behind them, cabbies were still running amok and causing mayhem on the streets of London. Throw in a couple of accomplices and the glaring omission of a “FUCK THE POLICE” title card at the end and you’ve laid the foundations for many an action film to come.
9) Jerry Fletcher – Conspiracy Theory (1997)
At first glance, Jerry exhibits the signs of being a full blown loony of Alex Jones proportions, driving a cab around New York City and assailing the ears of those unfortunate enough to catch a ride. But as it transpires all of his crazy conspiracy theories are on the nose, which he later bites off the face of one Patrick “make-it-so” Stewart. His badass level skyrockets when he makes an escape whilst sozzled on LSD, strapped to a wheelchair with his eyelids stuck open, during what is probably the most unintentionally hilarious scene captured on screen.
8) Mr. T – D.C. Cabs (1983)
A movie starring Mr T with the tagline “At ‘D.C. CAB’ when these guys hit the streets, guess what hits the fan” promises badassery all around. The ragtag bunch of cabbies pull together when their newest recruit is kidnapped and proceed to smash the shit out of every window and door they encounter until they find him.
7) Harry Canyon – Heavy Metal (1981)
In one of a thousand visions of a dystopian future New York City, hard ass taxi driver Harry Canyon has lost all faith in humanity in his cynical black heart – that is until he picks up a hot redhead who temporarily resuscitates his shrivelled organ back to life with the promise of love and riches. Sure he gets double crossed, reinforcing the fact that all people are scum, but he gave his balls an airing, got rich and killed the conniving vixen without so much as a twitch of remorse with the death ray already installed in his cab.
6) Benny – Total Recall (1990)
A mutant with a litter of kids to feed that is so great in number and so fictional he can barely keep count, Benny casually infiltrates the base of the resistance and pops off a few rounds into the host body of the mind reading Kuato, proving that Krang had the right idea all along – always go for the exosuit. Benny’s reason for betraying Quaid and the mutants? Who the fuck knows?
Benny: I have four kids to feed
Quaid: what happened to the fifth?
Benny: ahhh shit! ya got me, i ain’t even married.
Benny, screw you!
5) Korben Dallas – Fifth Element (1997)
A former member of the military, taxi driver Korben Dallas spends his days slowly transforming into a crazy cat lady until a hot redhead (yes, another one) reignites his passion for love, life and saving the world. He manages to whoop ass, get laid, but most importantly, pull off the incredibly effeminate costume design typical of Jean-Paul Gaultier coupled with platinum blonde hair whilst still looking like a credible bad ass. Bravo, Korben. Bravo.
4) Johnny Cab – Total Recall (1990)
This guy has been pre-programmed to be a badass son of a bitch by blatantly and wilfully being a sarcastic bastard with a maniacal penchant for homicide. After playing dumb for the duration of the ride and claiming not to understand profanities, the mechanical cabbie lurches into bat shit crazy mode after being called a dickhead. You got sloppy, Johnny.
3) Travis Bickle – Taxi Driver (1976)
Another cab driver with a stint in the military under his belt, Bickle isn’t as well adjusted as the others on the list and after becoming disillusioned with the world and the nefarious characters within it, decides to go all Frank Castle and clean the streets Punisher style. Shooting people in the name of justice is all well and good but Bickle makes the list for a badass move very few would even have the goolies to try – taking a new date to a movie full of sausage, cream pie, chocolate snowballs and other innocuous terms for baked goods that once explained would make the Muffin Man shut up shop and change his name immediately.
2) Benny- Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
A smart ass, wisecracking taxi with an apparent disregard for pedestrians, Benny will happily hurtle along the pavements of Toon Town, bowling over citizens like they were skittles.This sort of behaviour has earned him a criminal record, but an arrest is a mere bump in the road of awesome that is Benny the cab. With more buttons and levers than a Steel Battalion cockpit and an arsenal of context appropriate quips that would leave Roger Moore looking like the silent type, Benny has got to be one of the most badass taxi drivers of them all. Plus he gets bonus points for actually being a taxi.
1) John Winger – Stripes (1981)
If a cab driver can be a badass for once being in the military, then by the rule of opposites, a cab driver that enlists in the military can also be a badass. Once Winger signs up he becomes embroiled in all manner of hilarious scrapes ending with a daring rescue to save his friends, but all of that is inconsequential. Winger makes the list because of his exemplary people skills when confronted with a total tit. Bill Murray ladies and gentlemen.
Did your favourite ass-whooping cabbie make the list? You can find all of these fine films over at amazon using the links below.
Author Gamer Girl is a podcast co-host on FrontTowardsGamer Radio. You can check out her blog at GamerGirlTalk.com. It is highly recommended you follow her on Twitter.
Previously in Poison Popcorn: Mr. Bean: The First Troll. See previous Poison Popcorns right fucking here!