D.C. Cab [retro review]

“Fool! Your fare is the only thing stopping me from breaking your face!”

The Scoop: 1983 R, directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Adam Baldwin, Mr. T, and Gary Busey

Tagline: When these guys hit the streets, guess what hits the fan.

Summary Capsule: Taxi drivers sure do lead a wacky life! Or so I’m told through the magic of movies.

Justin’s Rating: I get paid by the word here. Pony up $0.15 for each word you read, sucka!

Justin’s Review: If you’re like me, then there isn’t a day that goes by where you don’t find yourself saying, “Man, I could really go for some Mr. T hanging out of a car, whaling on a van with two baseball bats right about now.” And then, if you’re like me, you find yourself surrounded by friends who begin to give you that look that they used to give Weird Harold after he tried to plug up his dog’s plumbing with six tubes of Cheez Whiz.

Happily, I finally found the fix for my craving: D.C. Cab. A year before Ghostbusters celebrated blue collar schlobs turning a business around and eventually earning themselves a parade, D.C. Cab was right there. 1983 just wasn’t ready for it, I guess. Shame, it’s a pretty good flick.

A very young, bright-eyed and bushy-butted Adam Baldwin (Serenity) is Albert, the son of a deceased cabbie who decides to look up his father’s friend in Washington D.C. and make a go at the taxi driving service. There falls in with the motley crew of D.C. Cab: ex-Vietnam Vet and current boss Harold (Max Gail), who is married to a witch of a wife; Tyrone (Charlie Barnett), a spastic African-American with an African-Chip on his shoulder; Mr. T as Mr.-freaking-T; Dell (Gary Busey), who’s rude, crude and vile; Xavier (Paul Rodriguez), who fancies himself a gigilo; Bob (Bill Maher), keyboardist; and other assorted action figures that make the TV show “Taxi” seem like… well, like “Taxi”. Just not the same.

During his internship, Albert learns critical lessons of cab driving, such as how to collect fares from mostly naked strippers, how to survive a carjacking, and how to put the moves on a pretty girl protected by a beast of a grandmother. D.C. Cab (the company) faces a rivalry with another taxi service, struggles with finances, and even has to survive a political kidnapping. All in a day’s work, I suppose.

The 80’s celebrated wacky comedy ensembles in a way that has been lost to our current generation. I always warm up to good ensembles, because a large group of imaginary movie friends is always better than a mere couple. It’s also strange to see that this fairly unknown film is practically blood-brethren with several other like-minded movies: not just Ghostbusters, but also Police Academy, PCU and Empire Records.

Everyone wishes they could be surrounded with such fun, unorthodox nutjobs, and since you probably don’t get the pleasure I do of walking down the halls every day with people like PoolMan and SueMan lightening the place up with their improv karaoke, then you might as well get along with D.C. Cab and imagine that they made a sequel, and you’re gonna be the new misfit!

The hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne

Intermission!

  • Irene Cara is billed for appearing as “herself.”
  • This cracked me up. The DVD reissue of D.C. Cab plays to its marketing strengths, which comes in the form of pushing Mr. T up front and putting his name (and his name alone) over the title — as if he was the main star, and not just one small part of an ensemble. Okay, I understand that. But the rest of the cast is obscured by being put waaaaay in the background, behind a huge cab. Oh, and who’s that in the crowd there? Mr. T again! He’s on the cover TWICE.
  • Jim Carrey auditioned for the film. Joel Schumacher turned him down because he felt Carrey was too talented to be in an ensemble.

Groovy Quotes

Tyrone: Where to?
Angel of Death: I am the Angel of Death. Take me to hell.
Tyrone: Got any luggage?

Samson: Fool! Your fare is the only thing stopping me from breaking your face!

Dell: Bruce Lee ain’t dead you know. They got him frozen in carbonite down under Chatsworth. They’re gonna melt him down as soon as the economy gets better.

If you liked this movie, try these:

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Eunice does Rhinestone « Mutant Reviewers From Hell

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