movie trailer (apple.com - quicktime)
NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by kuo2002.
Movie begins with Tom Cruise walking through LAX airport (Los Angeles) and he bumps into Jason Statham (The Transporter, and Turkish from Snatch) they both "accidentally" drop identical bags and pick up the other's bag both "apologizing."
Cut to Max (Jamie Foxx). He's a Cabbie and he's just going about his day, driving from the taxi depot (taking time to look at a photo of the Maldives islands whenever his environment stresses him out), stopping to fill up some gas while talking Spanish to the station guy.
Anyway he picks up a big shot lawyer named Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith) and she's busy talking on a cell phone about work. She tells him to take a certain route but he suggests an alternative one, which he knows will be faster. She's insistent but they make a bet, if he is wrong the ride is free. Along the way they talk about themselves, Max says taxi driving is just temporary and that eventually he's going to open up a limo service called Island Limos which he describes as "like a club experience in a limo, so that when they get to there they don't wanna leave" (something to that effect). She's impressed that he was right about the shorter route when they get there. They talk a little more and Max draws out of Annie her fears of failure, as she has always has butterflies in her stomach before cases but that she gets over it. He tells her she needs a vacation and she says he does too. He points out he always gets one, by looking at the picture of the Maldives on attached to his visor. He gives it to her as a stress reliever, and in return she gives him his card.
She goes into the legal office building and goes up the escalator, while Tom Cruise comes down at the same time. Tom Cruise wants a ride and at first Max ignores him but then as Tom starts towards another cab Max hollers at him and tells him he'll take him. Tom gets in and they exchange formalities, telling him his name is Vincent. His personality is very cynical and downbeat, he says he doesn't like LA much and wants to leave asap whenever he goes there. He mentions reading a news story about a dead guy on the metro who nobody noticed for six hours (a theme throughout the movie is the loneliness of the big city it seems) and how sorry it was. Max talks about the limo stuff but withholds a lot, a far cry from the conversation with Annie (he treats him like a stranger basically)
They stop on his first stop and Vincent tells Max he wants him to stick around for 4 more stops after this and that he'll pay several hundred for it. Max is reluctant but agrees, he pulls into a side alley next to the apartment and decides to eat a sandwich. Vincent then walks towards a room on the second floor. Cuts back to Max and he's eating, checking out some stuff from Vincent's bag, which is basically a Mercedez Benz pamphlet thingy. Then the proverbial shit hits the fan and somebody's body hits the cab. Max crawls out freaked out and Vincent shows up. After Max begins to suspect Vincent of murdering him Vincent draws his gun and points it at Max. He tells Max to help him move the body to the trunk. They clean up the taxi as much as they can and Max tells Vincent to just take the cab. Vincent asks "you won't tell anyone right" and Max goes, "yeah i promise." to which Vincent goes, "get in the f--king cab."
Vincent tells Max where to go next and Max, horrified about the thought of another hit starts to drive badly, stopping when there's a green light and stuff. Vincent tells him it's no big deal because there's a billion people in the world and he's whining about one fat guy (not "guy" but i don't remember the slur he used). He makes a comparison to the Rwandan massacre asking if he joined any human rights causes to stop it.
Cut back to the apartment. A thuggish looking fellow is seen going up to the same apartment. He sees the mess around and draws a gun. He sees the broken window and the residue on the street below and calls dispatch revealing himself as an undercover narcotics officer. His name is Officer Fanning (Mark Ruffalo).
The two men get pulled over by police officers and Vincent tells Max to get rid of them or "they go into the trunk." The cops tell Max they pulled them over because the cab has a smashed windshield and one cop notices blood on the car and a nervous Max explains that he hit a deer and quickly mentions the street to which the cop says, "you hit a south central deer?" they almost make Max open the trunk and Vincent is about ready to go Grand Theft Auto on them but the cops get a "shots fired" call and simply give him an impound ticket and quickly take off.
The two men make their next stop at another residential building, this one a little more upscale and Vincent twist ties Max's hands to the wheel. The CB radio calls in and it's Max's boss who's a bit of a jerk and he's mad about the damage to the cab and the impound, threatening to take it out of Max's paycheck. Max is flustered and says it was an accident and Vincent tells him to say it's not his fault. Vincent gets impatient and tells the boss over the CB (pretending to be an assistant attorney general) that he can't threaten his client (Max) and tells Max to tell his boss if he tries it again he better "shove the yellow cab up his fat ass."
Vincent goes up to the next target's place. We see it's a rather affluent looking fellow and he goes to answer the door. Cut back to Max who's desperately trying to alert passerbys at the end of the alleyway by honking his horn with his head. (Un)fortunately four fellows notice his plight and come on over and one long haired punk is like "you all tied up huh" and pulls a gun on Max, talks trash and then steals his wallet. He takes Vincents bag too ("Jackpot!") and goes on his merry way. Vincent comes back and sees the punks walking and goes "hey homey is that my bag?" The longhaired punk turns around points his gun and goes "yeah, what else you got for me" and walks up to Vincent but Vincent grabs his arm, steals his gun and shoots the two punks dead. Well the longhaired dude is still twitching but Vincent puts one last bullet in him. Vincent goes on to Max about not drawing attention or needless people die.
Meanwhile Officer Fanning and some other detectives are at the apartment and discussing their undercover case and how the feds are just gonna try and take the credit for the operation. They mention that witnesses saw a cab
Next stop they go Daniel's Jazz Cafe, and the two kind of chill at first, admiring the improvisation of the music. Vincent mentions he just has to talk to the trumpet player and buy him a drink so after hours the three men talk about jazz and particularly Miles Davis. Daniel mentions that Miles walked in once and he played with him. Vincent is impressed and says he should tell this story to Felix, which spooks Daniel. Suddenly Daniel's face goes stone cold and he realizes why Vincent is there. Daniel "apologizes" and says he either had to cooperate with prosecutors or go back to prison, and prison wasn't an option. Vincent offers to let Daniel live if he can answer a question. So he asks where Miles Davis learned to play and a desperate Max trying to help Daniel says "music school!" and tries to plead with Vincent to let him live because he is likable. Daniel mentions about his father, and that Miles Davis went to The Juliard Music School where he learned to play. Vincent "silencers" him and whispers that he had only half the answer and that Miles then sought out another famous musician who tutored him for the next 3 years.
Officer Fanning is at the morgue talking to the coroner and seeing if any of the bodies are of his drug contact. The coroner says the fresh bodies he got were killed within 30 minutes or so and that they all had similar precise shots on them, a couple in the chest or abdomen and one in the head. The first two are the punks and the third guy (from the posh apartment) Fanning recognizes as a "criminal lawyer turned lawyer criminal" from the same drug operation case he's on, so he notices a connection and calls a detective buddy.
The two guys are leaving the jazz cafe and Max is noticeably upset and Vincent has to persuade him some more by slamming him against the cab. The boss CB's Max again and Vincent gets irritated by it. Max asks what's up and the boss says Max's mom keep calling because she's worried and Vincent finds out Max's mother is in the hospital and he visits everyday but since he didn't today she got worried. Vincent is annoyed and says they have to see her or else people are gonna start looking for them. Max finds the idea of bringing him to see his mother out of the question but relents. They go to the hospital and as they go up the elevator, Officer Fanning gets in and they have no idea who the other is. Vincent makes Max buy some flowers for her even though Max knows she doesn't care for trivial money things by using guilt ("she brought you into this world....") they go in and he gives her the flowers and her attitude is "what am I going to do with these?" and Max says "he made me get em" to which she says "they look lovely!" Her attitude towards Max is basically "good, but not good enough" but she's nice to Vincent and Vincent pretends he's a friend. Max's mother starts on about how successful Max is and Max is like "don't start mom" and she says Max owns a limo company. While Vincent is busy charming her Max sneaks out with Vincent's bag with the target profiles etc. and Vincent chases him when he notices he's left. The chase goes outside and Max throws the bag off an overpass to which the contents spill and cars run over the laptop. Max looks frightened as Vincent catches up and then Vincent is visibly pissed but patient. They go back to the car and as they drive Vincent teases Max about his misleading his mom and how people do that because parents project their flaws on children etc. He mentions his father was abusive, alcoholic, and that he was in and out of foster homes. He says he killed his father when he was 12 but then says he was kidding and that he died of liver troubles.
Officer Fanning and his detective friends see a federal agent named Pedrosa (Bruce Mcgill) who's monitoring a Mexican club that's run by a gangster named Felix. Fanning is there to get some info and he sees the cab on the security monitor and asks to have it zoomed. He notices there's damage to it and looks up the license plate as it is probably their man.
Vincent tells Max that since he messed up his work he has to fix it. Inside the club they pulled up to is where Vincent's employer, Felix is. Vincent likes to lay low and does not want anyone to know what he looks like so Max has to go in and say he is Vincent. Max is reluctant but Vincent, with a little persuasion (threatening to off his mother for one) Max gets up and goes (with Vincent taking his wallet and ID in case they check). The feds and the cops see Max and are interested as he is a new face. Max nervously talks to the bouncers and they check him. He's clean so Max asks for Felix and the guards like "I don't know no Felix" and Max then says "tell him uh, Vincent is here" and they let him in. The club is basically a cowboy hat-themed Mexican club/restaurant and they take him to a less populated table where Felix and his henchmen are. Vincent tells him he lost "the list" to which Felix, pissed but patient, tells him a folk tale about a "black pedro" who is hired by Santa and given the bad children list to take care of, asking how Santa (Felix) would feel if black pedro (Vincent) lost the list, mentioning some expensive intelligence work went into gathering the list and Vincent is nervous but then gets bold saying, "tell the guy behind me to put his gun down before I kick his ass" and then takes on the posture of a coldblooded killer. Felix then gives him a new list by uploading some data to one of those memory sticks and gives it to Max. Max says "as a token of appreciation I'll give you a 25% discount on future contracts, oh what the hell 35%"
Max comes back and Vincent is relieved that he is still alive, and he gives him the data he needs and they take off. The two banter some more with Vincent telling him to to call the girl he met earlier (Annie) because life is short etc.
Meanwhile the cops and feds are checking out the footage and audio of Max saying he's Vincent so the federal agents are convinced that Max is Vincent, the one doing the killings, but officer Fanning is doubtful. The federal agents know that people involved in the drug case are being killed so they take off to the next federal witness which is a Korean guy named Peter Lim who's chilling at a club called Fever. They take off in order to extract him and protect him; Officer Fanning goes too.
The two men are driving through Koreatown and stop for a coyote crossing the road (totally random scene) and both the men and the cops/feds race towards the club Fever. Both Max and Vincent as well as the feds/cops get there and go in, one side to kill Peter Lim, the other to protect him. Every hitman movie has a club scene and this is no exception, lots of people dancing while our protagonists walk through scoping out the target. Vincent tells Max to scout the target and he himself checks out the guards. Pedrosa and his fed backup go through the crowd guns drawn. Vincent takes out the guards by sneaking up and breaking their bones. One of the federal agents gets into a scuffle with a bodyguard of Lim's with the agent grabbing his gun-arm and they struggle and the gun goes off sometimes hitting a bystander. The crowd goes wild and Pedrosa spots Max thinking he's Vincent and they point their guns and Max tries to convince them he's not. Pedrosa gets shot in the leg and Max gets away. Vincent gets into a gun fight with the remaining guards and he eventually gets around to shooting Peter Lim (twice in the chest once in the head). Max runs into Officer Fanning and tells him he's innocent and Fanning reassures him he believes him and escorts him to safety. But when they get outside Vincent shoots Fanning and tells Max to get in the cab.
Max is distraught and Vincent says he rescued him and won't even say thanks. Max mentions Fanning was a cop and probably had a family but Vincent is indifferent. Their conversations deteriorate and Vincent taunts Max saying 12 years driving a cab isn't temporary and that he's going to be an old man and realize his limo dreams never happened. Max says Vincent is detached and doesn't know what anyone is thinking, and doesn't understand anyone, and is all alone, etc. Max starts running red lights and says stuff to the effect of "you're right nothing really matters" and he continues to speed through red lights and Vincent puts a gun to his head telling him to stop. Max tells him off and then hits a concrete barrier flipping the cab in the street. Vincent crawls out disoriented and walks away while a police car shows up. The police officer helps a still disoriented Max and is nice to him until he notices the dead body in the trunk. The cop points his gun, tells him to put his hands up and Max gets on his knees. Max then notices the laptop in the cab and sees that the final target is Annie. As he begins to cuff him, Max flips him over and steals his gun. He cuffs the cop to the car telling him where he's going and to call for other officers.
Meanwhile Annie is doing some late-night deskwork at the office. Max hurries on foot, stealing a guy's cell phone along the way. The reception is terrible so he gets to the top of a parking structure where he can see Annie in the office. He calls her and she's surprised to hear him. He tells her a man is on his way to kill her and she's in disbelief at first, but when he mentions Felix hired him and he's killed other witnesses, she asks how he knows about her case. Meanwhile Vincent is heading up the office building. He ends up in her office and she's on a different floor. Vincent finds out which room she's actually in by looking at the phone with all the rooms listed. She's on the phone with Max and he sees a red light on a Filing room. He kicks open the door, guns drawn but realizes she's not in her office. Max sees Vincent is in a different room and tells her he's two floors below her and she realizes Vincent is in her office and this confirms her fears. Max's cellphone runs out of battery, so he begins to run on foot. Vincent goes to a maintenance looking room and axes the power. The lights go out and Annie gets frightened. Max runs through the lobby, tries to break the door down with a trash can but doesn't even dent it. He remembers he has the cop's gun so he shoots the doorglass and goes in. He sees a dead guard and goes to the elevators. A game of cat and mouse in the dark goes on as Vincent looks for her and she hides/crawls around the office.
He finally finds her and points his gun at her, about to fire, when Max points his gun at Vincent. Vincent goes "Max?...what are you going to do about it" and Max shoots him, grazing his face. Vincent lies in a pool of blood and Max & Annie escape. Vincent gets up and chases after them, bloodied. They take the escalator that goes to the metro and Vincent follows. They get onto a metro and duck, hoping the metro leaves before Vincent figures out which one they are on. It closes and leaves but Vincent jumps on and gets in through the back. Max sees him on and they do one of those subway/metro chases through the sliding car doors. Vincent follows gun drawn. They make a stop and Max and Annie get down hoping they'll lose him. Vincent gets out gun pointed at the other doors so Max and Annie have no way out. The doors close and Vincent gets back on. Vincent yells "Max I do this for a living!"
The two men are on opposite sides of the door on the last car so Max makes a last stand and they fire at each other, most of the bullets hitting the door and some going through the glass. Both run out of bullets and as Vincent goes to reload he drops the cartridge awkwardly and realizes he's been shot in the chest. At this point Vincent sits down and pretty much gives up. Max points his empty gun at him but puts it down, sitting across, Annie sits down beside Max. Vincent says "if someone died on the metro, think anyone would notice?"(referring to the earlier news story he read) and then head drooping, dies. Annie and Max get off at the next stop and they walk away watching the metro go on.
Fade out, the end.