La Femme Nikita
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(Mar 09, 2010)
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Top Customer Reviews
Nikita was written and directed by an (at the time) up and coming Frenchman by the name of Luc Besson (Subway, The Professional, the Fifth Element...) who has fantastic mind for action, eye for cinematography and sense for musical scores (Nikita has some great industrial sounds which you can also find in the Fifth Element). Released in 1991, this film pre-dates the canonized litany of films like Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.
More importantly, and as some reviewers have noted, Nikita combines thrilling action and tension (without expensive FX) with a very touching sense of humanity. Here you have this junkie social reject turned into a well behaved, proper, yet deadly government agent. It's interesting how the government selected someone about to go to jail rather than picking from a horde of eager, patriotic young recruits that would beg to do the job. Their fault is that they assume that this reject is just effectively a machine and has no redeeming human qualities. As the film progresses, you see that Nikita yearns for intimacy and love - it's what makes her vulnerable and it's also probably what makes her so good.
Anne Parrillaut plays an excellent Nikita - crazy, kind, warm, insane, feminine, athletic, anarchistic and maternal. Quite a walking contradiction....Read more ›
...zut alors! The anamorphic widescreen picture quality is still lousy. Grainy, occasionally pixelized. Look at patterns in the background during the movie and the problems are quite evident. For example, in one scene when Nikita is in training and chatting with her trainer Bob in her room, a grill on a piece of furniture on the left side of the screen creates a hugely distracting pattern that always diverts my eye.
But we get some special features with this special edition, right? Only with the most liberal definition of "special." These empty chats and documentaries are considered standard features for most other DVDs, so I'm not sure what we're supposed to think is special. There's even an easter egg, though it's not hidden, so I guess it's just an egg. But since it's just a short set of film clips, not all that exciting, I guess it's a rotten egg.
There are a few improvements. The English subtitles are better less distracting to those of you who speak French. The 5.1 soundtrack is still solid, though not noticeably better than the one on the original MGM disc. I'm not sure if it was remixed. If you don't own a copy of this movie, by all means buy the special edition. If you own the previous version, learn from my mistake and either keep you original version or sell it and buy a used copy of the special edition. Or lobby MGM for a real "special" edition.
The initial "La Femme Nikita" DVD failed director Besson miserably, with visuals just a step up from the VHS. The new special edition looks a lot better, although some digital artifacts remain. Flesh tones seem true and the handsome French interiors get back their luster. Audio wasn't bad on the first disc, and it sounds about the same on the new DVD. The film comes widescreen only (2.35:1), with the 16x9 enhancement.
A new 20-minute featurette interviews the key actors, but not Besson. The director's music man, Eric Serra, has his say on an interesting 5-minute extra, "The Sound of 'Nikita.' " An easter egg reveals one of Besson's working methods.
Ann Parillaud, who played Nikita, looks a lot more relaxed these days. The actress recalls training with weapons and martial arts for a year before filming began. She found karate "violent, painful and scary," but became obsessed with the firearms. Jean Reno, who went on to international stardom, says he played his popular Victor the Cleaner character without reading the script -- Besson had him walk right into the film.
The DVD also includes a pointless "interactive map" that explores Nikita's habitats. A goofy trailer and a poster gallery complete the package.
What I will say is that watching it in High Definition on Blu-Ray is a real treat. Picture and sund are truly amazing and blow away the prior DVD's, all of which had lackluster picture quality at best.
And yes, this release has the properly translated subtitle track. Some DVD releases had a word for word transcription of the terrible English dubbed track. Not so here, so no worries.
However, extras are nowhere to be found. Is it too much to ask that this film finally receives a special edition?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I watched the dubbed version but I have seen long ago the version in French with English sub titles, which I prefer. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Andy McKinney
Nothing like the original. The USA versions were good too... but the original is best... in my opinion.Published 1 month ago by Eric G. Johnfelt