Directed by Tim Story, starring Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon, Henry Simmons, Jennifer Esposito, Gisele Bundchen and Ann-Margret.

'When you've run out of ideas, raid world cinema!' has long been the profit-maximising, rallying cry of Hollywood. 'Taxi' was originally a Luc Besson-scripted French film, which spawned two - apparently substandard - sequels. The most daring and inventive thing this rehash does is to make the villains and one of the central characters women, otherwise it feels like Besson's script was stuck in a photocopier and then handed to a translator. Even giving it a cinema release seems generous, but at least there's no need to worry about two more instalments.

After one too many on the job bungles, luckless detective Washburn (Fallon) is demoted to uniformed traffic duty, but his appetite for the big cases remains far bigger than his capabilities. While on duty he hears of a robbery some blocks away, and jumps into a taxi to get to the scene.

It's owned and driven by Belle (Latifah), a no-nonsense former bike courier with a souped-up cab who thwarts the cops with her driving skills. With little respect for law and order, now she finds herself becoming Washburn's unofficial partner in his race to track down the gang.

Latifah and Fallon are far better talents than the bland script they have to motor around here. The original 'Taxi' was no masterpiece, but it had a charm and energy that the US version never musters up. Strange as it may seem, chases around the streets of New York aren't as exciting as spinning wheel mayhem in Marseille and this film runs out of gas after 30 minutes. Rarely has the punters rallying cry of 'Rent the original!' sounded so appealing.

You'd have as much fun stuck in a Dublin rank seven nights before Christmas. Well, maybe not quite.

Harry Guerin