La Femme Nikita
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From director Luc Besson ( The Fifth Element ) comes this "wild and irresistible" ( New YorkPost ) thriller about a vicious street punk turned sexy, sophisticated and lethally dangerous assassin. Starring Anne Parillaud, Jeanne Moreau and Jean Reno, La Femme Nikita is "slick, stylish and tremendously entertaining" ( The New York Times )! Rescued from death row by a top-secret agency, Nikita (Anne Parillaud) is slowly transformed from a cop-killing junkie into a cold-blooded bombshell with a license to kill. But when she begins the deadliest mission of her careeronly to fall for a man who knows nothing of her true identityNikita discovers that in the dark and ruthless world of espionage, the greatest casualty of all...is true love.
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I'm sure this has a place in the genre, but not in my video library.
Here he is directing (back in 1990)arguably some of his best work. Those unfamiliar with him in the Directors chair should check out Le Grand Blue: The Big Blue (Director's Cut) which is sadly still not available here in Blu-Ray format and Léon: The Professional (Theatrical and Extended Edition) [Blu-ray] as well as the aforementioned Fifth Element.
In time honored fashion of course, this movie gained little exposure back in the 90's so a remake was deemed necessary, casting the always appealing Bridget Fonda in the lead role, and the movie was remade for US audiences, and renamed Point of No Return [Blu-ray]
Whether it was the fact that Nikita is in French, or some other reason, and although the remake was not a turkey by any means, with some more explosive hollywood style action, it remains tepid in comparison for the depth of drama that Nikita brings out amid the action.
Nikita, is a bummed out drug addict with no future, friends or family, a mendicant who embodies all that is bottom feeding trash. She is taken (or rather kidnapped) by a government agency, cleaned up and trained to be a cold blooded assassin.
Why? you may ask (as one reviewer did) well I would surmise that she wouldn't be missed by anyone, recognizable to anyone, and of course would becompletely expendable.
What follows is a gritty high speed drama, of the type Besson has become associated with. Brutal at times, and almost frenetic, but thoroughly absorbing and as good an action drama as that decade produced.
Tcheky Karyo is excellent as her hard nosed handler, and Jean Reno pops up as the "cleaner" a similar role to which he starred in 4 years later in the excellent Leon:The Professional (mentioned above). But the film belongs hands down to Anne Parillaud who sizzles on screen, sexy and smart, emotional charged, ruthless and yet inwardly scared and confused, a real powerhouse performance.
This is a great movie, some may find the 90's narrative a little dated but it's more than worth a watch.
The Blu-Ray transfer is clean, not exceptional, but still very good.
As much as I love other secret agent movies like James Bond, Angelia Jolie, Bourne Identity.... this is the best.
This Blu-ray version has either English dubbing or English subtitles...your choice. But for me, French with English subtitles are the best to get the actors' emotions. All the French came back to me after all these years.
The soundtrack is also very good, even after 23 years.
An attractive female addict is taken off the street and cleaned up to be an assassin for the French government. She is quite good at her job, but when she starts to question her orders she is considered a liability that must be removed. When a cleaner, played by Jean Reno, gets carried away with cleaning up a mission gone awry, there is no way she can continue working for the government. Excellent cast, action, music, and scenery. The DVD is decent quality. I recommend it. If you like this be sure to catch some of Luc Besson's other movies. I recommend "The Crimson Rivers", "Wasabe", and "Fifth Element". The DVD does not come with extras but it has good quality picture and sound.