Blu-ray Review: Taxi Hunter

Blu-ray Reviews, Reviews, Top Story

I never like it when people create lists of the best movie of the year with a few days left in the year. How do you really know what’s the best since it takes a bit of time to see all the films of that year. Right now, I have a new favorite film of 1993 that I didn’t see until a few days ago (you’re off the list Mrs. Doubtfire!) Taxi Hunter is a Hong Kong film that appears to have never been released theatrically or on home video in the US (although maybe Dave’s Videodrome in Carrboro had a copy on the shelf). Why wasn’t there a release here during the era when Hong Kong action films were popping up in Suncoast Video? Because Taxi Hunter might have been too messed up for a distributor to risk dubbing 1,000 VHS tapes. The movie did get the infamous rating of Category III (Hong Kong’s version of X) based on violence. After three decades, Taxi Hunter has pulled up at my door and it’s a thrill ride that will keep you from watching the meter.

Things are looking good for Kin (Infernal Affairs‘ Anthony Chau-Sang Wong). He’s been going beyond his co-workers in selling life insurance policies and is about to get a major promotion. Making this even more exciting is his wife (Super Cop Lady‘s Athena Chu) is about to give birth to their first child. Everything is going along smoothly until he gets becomes the victim of a taxi driver’s rear-ender scam. He gets forced to cough up cash for repairs by the cabbie and other goonish cabbies. Then he discovers his own car has suffered a major engine issue. The car goes in the shop at the worst possible time. When his wife goes into labor, they have to hail a cab in the middle of the night. The cabbie isn’t up for having a woman about to give birth in his backseat. This leads to a horrific moment that sends Kin on an emotional tailspin. Weeks later he ends up in the back of a cab and loses it when the cabbie starts to screw him on the fare.

Two undercover cops, Yu Kai-Chung (The Karate Kid‘s Rongguang Yu) and Gao (Shaolin Soccer’s Man-Tat Ng) are also part of the mixing of comedy with just pure action scenes. The opening scene goes from being rather jokey to the type of car chase scene you’d expect in a John Woo movie. Yu knows Kin and is there to for emotional support. But Yu has no idea that the vigilante attacking cabbies is his mild-mannered buddy.

Director Herman Hua (Ebola Syndrome) is able to handle the elements and turn it into a frantic and fantastical movie. There’s a scene where Kin attempts to attack a cabbie and very quickly the tables are turned. Kin takes his beating like he’s the guy who got jumped. Anthony Chau-Sang Wong pulls off going from a Robert De Niro to Woody Allen in a few blows from the cabbie. For all the shifts in tone, the movie doesn’t hit wrong notes. The ending is both outrageous in action and results. Taxi Hunter will make you laugh, cry, scream and avoid hailing a cab. Taxi Hunter is one of my favorite movies of 1993 and of 2023.

The Video 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfers brings out Hong Kong neighborhoods after dark. The Audio LPCM 2.0 Cantonese Mono. You’ll hear the screeching of brakes and gunshots. The movie is subtitled in English.

Double-sided foldout poster with the original art and the new cover art.

Audio Commentary by Hong Kong Film Expert Frank Djeng points out the film was called Taxi Judge in Hong Kong and Taxi Butcher in Taiwan. Djeng says the film was only rated Category II. He gives a bit of context that there was a “taxi strike” in the early ’90s. But instead of cabbies, it was passengers ticked off at constantly being over charged.

Hunting For Words (28:45) talks with Scriptwriter and Producer Tony Leung Hung-Wah. He started as a child actor. He gets into how Taxi Hunter was conceived. He talks about mixing the comedy with the rather harsh violence.

How to Murder Your Taxi Driver? (27:06) sits down with Action Director James Ha. He gets into the outrageous stunt scenes. He goes into whether the film borrowed from Taxi Driver or Falling Down.

Falling Down in Hong Kong (17:57) catches up with star Anthony Wong. He gets into how he got the role. He gets into playing a role that mixes comedy, romance and a huge dose of revenge. He addresses if Robert De Niro influenced her performance.

Theatrical Trailer (3:51) shows all the great action moments from the film.

Stills Gallery has near 24 press photos.

88 Films presents Taxi Hunter. Directed by Herman Yau. Screenplay by Lau Yin and Kai-Chung Mak. Starring Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Rongguang Yu, Man-Tat Ng and Hoi-Shan Lai. Running Time: 89 minutes. Rating: Unrated. Release Date: August 29, 2023.

Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.