Review: D.C. Cab

I swore I would never post another review.

I was out of the critic business.

But I had to post a review of a near-forgotten movie from the 80s: D.C. Cab.

It had an all-star cast: Mr. T, Bill Maher, Adam Baldwin, Max Gail, DeWayne Jessie and many more.

It was directed by the much maligned Joel Schumacher.

The comic book loser community hates his Batman movies.


Batman sucks, so he can’t really hurt a franchise that sucks.

The Batman show was funny and campy. I never read the comic book.

‘Falling Down’ was utter genius.

So was D.C. Cab.

The plot, loosely: young Albert comes from Georgia after the premature death of his father probably from Agent Orange, it’s implied but not stated. Albert comes to the big City of Washington D.C. to seek his dad’s best Army buddy. Albert and try to emulate him by getting onto the cab business.

Some critic criticized a lot of the film’s plot line as flimsy and unrealistic. Yeah, because the son of a Veteran never sought out his dad’s buddies after their dad died. Sorry, I’m a Veteran (a real one) and it happens fairly frequently that people want to learn more about their Dad by seeking out his war buddies. So strike one for the weak critique.

After running into a few of the fouled-up cabbies of DC Cab, he finally makes it to the cab company depot, which is in deplorable condition. The place is filled with a wacky group of reprobates. Yeah, fellow critic, all cabbies are perfectly normal bland characters. Strike two for your shitty reviews.

He gets a warm greeting from Harold when he arrives, and a cold greeting from Harold’s wife. Don’t you think I would be thrilled and stunned if the son of one of my buddies from Bosnia or Iraq sought me out? Is there anything I would not do for them?

I found the scene particularly touching where Harold and Albert put on Harold’s old Army gear, shared pictures of Albert’s Dad from Vietnam, roaked the schmiee and danced to Jimmy Cliff’s haunting song ‘Vietnam’.

Also the racial overtones. Unlike today, where it’s OK to hate everybody and blame everybody, the characters in this film do a pretty good job of getting beyond race and just see each other as human beings. Albert tells Tyrone: ‘I’m from the new South and we see all men as brothers’.

OK, so there’s a valuable lost violin, kind of a silly plot twist because nothing valuable ever gets left in a cab right? I just searched for ‘violin left in cab’ and I got like 40 billion hits. Billion, with a ‘B’. Of course, when Harold wants to share the reward money by re-investing in the company his nasty, joy-killing wife absconds with all of the money.

Albert steps in to save the day by giving his inheritance to get the cab company back in shape. A couple of the cabbies walk out, particularly Tyrone, both Albert’s mentor and nemesis at the same time, and Tyrone goes back to hawking patriotic trinkets, until of course, he gets Irene Cara as a fare.

The juxtaposition of Albert and Tyrone is important. They are both relatively young, but Tyrone is cynical and unhappy and Albert is young and exuberant. We can see that Tyrone wants to like Albert, but he wants to temper his youthful enthusiasm. Albert wants Tyrone to like him, but he can’t break through. They do share a cathartic moment on the train tracks, however.

Mr. T’s character, Samson, joins Albert because he has values despite having hard times and he can see that Albert has values as well. Samson sees the resurrection of the cab company as a resurrection for all of their dreams. Even the Bill Maher character, Baba, a misfit intellectual, delivers the point of the movie when he tells Albert that his real fear is not failure but boredom.

Now, as for the one reviewer thought the kidnapping plot twist was unrealistic, where the children of two wealthy D.C. types are kidnapped by bad guys, because of course that never happens. Remember the Mansion Murders, my fellow critic? IT JUST HAPPENED, ASS-FACE! Strike three.

Gary Busey is brilliant, but epically insane, as he declares he will help the cause but only if he doesn’t have to work on Elvis’ birthday. He also talks about how DC is mostly black and how he wanted get in on the black thing early, as he expected black people to rule the country at some point. But this underscores the theme of the movie where black, white, Spanish as well as men and women all work together for the good of the Company. Sure Xavier is a bit stereotypical, but it’s a comedy.

Of course, just as the cabs get repainted and they all get new jackets to rival the hated Emerald cab company, Albert gets wrapped up in the kidnapping and it looks like he’s in on it. Fortunately, the kidnappers are as inept as the drivers of DC Cab. Albert manages to break free and use the Cab Radio to call for help and Mr. Rhythm has to take the call and sort things out. The cab company is mobilized, they find Albert and the kidnappers and Tyrone steps up first to challenge them. Of course, in the end, Albert is rescued after a car chase, the bad guys are messed up, Albert gets the girl. Harold’s wife gets dumped and everyone lives happily ever after.

What makes it a great movie are three themes. The first is seeking out your late dad’s war buddy to learn more about your own dad. The second is moving beyond race and gender and people just being people trying to do something together. The last is the parable of new youthful energy and redemption, with everyone seeing the success of the company as something that belongs to all of them.

I’ve always liked this movie. Yes, it’s pretty silly, but it is a comedy after all.

And, if you don’t like this movie, go bugger off you pointed-headed twat of man.


D.C. Cab


Universal Pictures

Director: Joel Schumacher

Writers” Topper Carew and Joel Schumacher


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