Motley washington cabbies rally to thwart a kidnapping and save their shabby garage. Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 03/01/2005 Starring: Adam Baldwin Gary Busey Run time: 100 minutes Rating: R Director: J... more »oel Schumacher« less
"While watching D.C. Cab (1983) last night, I couldn't help but think how different this film might be had it been made today instead of some twenty years ago. There'd probably be no nudity (there's some in here), and much of the off color humor would surely be removed. As far as who would star in it? I wouldn't even begin to speculate...my point is, the early to mid 80's was a particularly interesting time for comedies, as studios hadn't quite realized the lucrative nature of the teen market (this is why so many films now have their R-rated material watered down to get the much sought after PG-13 rating), and we hadn't yet known the joys of being politically correct, as people could still make jokes about anybody, despite their race, without it being considered a racial slur and creating a national incident (but never fear, it's still okay to make fun of Whitey...that never goes out of style). Written and directed by Joel Schumacher (The Lost Boys, Batman & Robin), the film actually has no lead star, focusing more on an ensemble cast featuring Adam Baldwin (he played Ricky Linderman in the film My Bodyguard), Max Gail (most will probably remember him as Detective Stan 'Wojo' Wojciehowicz from TV's Barney Miller), Mr. T, Charlie Barnett (who reminds me of a cross between Dave Chappelle and Chris Tucker), Gary `Mr. Head Injury' Busey (The Buddy Holly Story, Lethal Weapon), Marsha Warfield ("Night Court"), Bill Maher (Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death), DeWayne Jessie (who will always be remembered by me as Otis Day, from the film Animal House), Paul Rodriguez (Born in East L.A.), Whitman Mayo (better known as Grady, from TV's Sanford and Son), muscle bound twins Peter and David Paul aka The Barbarian Brothers (The Barbarians), and Ms. Irene `What a Feeling' Cara.
On the outset, we see Albert Hockenberry (Baldwin) arriving in Washington D.C. on the back of a turnip truck, literally (well, he was on the back of a truck, but whether or not there were any turnips is subject to debate). Albert, who, until recently, resided in `The Sticks' (that's everything east of California and west of New York, or so I'm told), is looking up Harold (Gail), a friend of his recently deceased father, as Albert has ambitions of being a cab driver (don't aim too high there Albert), and Harold owns a floundering cab company called D.C. Cab, which also happens to be the title of the film...didn't that work out nicely? Anyway, Albert begins learning the ropes from Harold and his motley crew, but trouble is never far away as the company is constantly being threatened to be shut down by the city, the bank is on the verge of foreclosing, the cabs are falling apart, they can't afford grease the local palms for access to areas that offer more lucrative fares (the airport, for example), and employee dissatisfaction is at an all time high. The situation seems dire, but an opportunity does present itself, and now the drivers must decide whether or not to take the money and run, or risk their newfound wealth by re-investing it into company, becoming partners. Oh yeah, there's also a kidnapping plot near the end...
I've always had a soft spot in my heart (or my head) for this film, despite its shortcomings. Looking at the DVD case you'd think Mr. T is the star, but he has a relatively minor role. His prominence in the advertising was due to, not only he being a colorful character, but also his popularity stemming from appearing in the very popular Rocky III, as Clubber Lang, a year earlier. I think the main problem with the film is the lack of a strong lead, such as Steve Guttenberg's character in the film Police Academy, which also featured an ensemble cast. Some films can get away with it, like Animal House, but that's because in a film like that, each character is infused with very real, individualistic nature very early on, providing a sense of familiarity in terms of being able to say you either knew, or know someone like that....regardless, the film is still pretty funny, if not formulaic (the whole `let's pull together and save the [fill in the blank] before they close us down' routine). I didn't really buy Adam Baldwin's naïve hillbilly routine, but the others were fun to watch, especially Charlie Barnett, Mr. T, and Gary Busey. The film does have a number of memorable and quotable lines, one of which I used for my title, and was used in one of my favorite scenes. The set up is Albert, along with two, young children of a local ambassador, get kidnapped, and the ambassador is at his home, surrounded by police and recording equipment, waiting for the kidnappers to call with their demands. The phone rings, he answers, and it turns out to be a seductive, female voice referring to the ambassador as `Stud Muffins', which could be heard by all, especially the ambassador's wife, who is now giving him the dirtiest look I've ever seen. He claims it was a wrong number, and shortly afterwards the phone rings again, the ambassador is hesitant to pick up, and his wife utters the line from my title...it's funnier seeing it than having me explain it, really. Most of the humor is silly, often stupid, and I would normally give this film 3 stars, but it did make me laugh, and I'm feeling a little nostalgic, so I will go with 4 stars. If you like this film (even if you didn't), I would recommend checking out The Hollywood Knights (1980).
The widescreen anamorphic picture on this DVD looks very sharp, and the audio (Dolby Digital 2.0) comes through clear. There are no special features (given the price I wasn't expecting a lot), not even a menu, as the film starts the moment the DVD is put into a player.
DC Cab from an ex-cabbie's point of view
Lisa Peppan | Pacific Slope, Washington Territory | 03/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For 11 years I drove for a small mom-and-pop cab company in Seattle, Washington, and this movie--set in the Other Washington--struck many true notes, from the appauling condition of their taxi cabs, to how they entertain themselves when it's slow, to who they are and why they drive a cab. It is NOT a Message Movie and it is NOT High Art, but it IS entertaining. After the 1st time we saw it, my brother cabbies and I spent the next several months quoting lines from the movie, much to the dismay of our long suffing dispatcher. As I understand it, the actors portraying the cab drivers had each taken a Real Life turn behind the wheel of a taxi cab prior to the making of this movie. I watch it when ever I need a smile; your mileage may vary."
Still a smash 23 years later
L. Gipson | Charlotte, NC | 09/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I really enjoyed DC Cab, it was always one of my favorite movies.To see some of the stars from the eighties and compare them to where they are today was interesting to say the least. The music was excellent for that time period, brought back fond memories."
L. Gipson | 04/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This needs to be on DVD. This is so stupidly funny. I always laugh when I see this. The lovely Irene Cara, Gary Busey, Mr. T, et al. It does not get much funnier than this."
Johnny Armstrong | Portland, TX USA | 02/18/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Never thought a film about a financially struggling cab company with a host of misfit drivers would capture my attention, but this one was absolutely hilarious. With Mr. T being the featured actor on the movie cover, the viewer may think he is the main star of the film. In reality, the main stars are Max Gail and Adam Baldwin along with a cast of not-so-known folks that really make the film gel. Paul Rodriguez, Bill Maher, Gary Busey, and Marsha Warfield to name a few. An actor by the name of Charlie Barnett who played "Tyrone" stoled the show. The movie needs to be on DVD."