La Femme Nikita (1990) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Drama / Thriller
Sony || R - 117 minutes - $28.95 || December 2, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-12-03


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Luc Besson
Writer(s): Luc Besson (written by)
Cast: Anne Parillaud, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Tcheky Jaryo, Jean Reno


Theatrical Release Date: April 1991


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • BD-Live
  • Previews


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • French (Dolby TrueHD), English (Dolby TrueHD)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Chinese

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.::THE FILM::.

La Femme Nikita is a stylish and probably one of the quietist action movies Iíve ever seen. Director Luc Bessonís creation spawned a decent American remake in 1993 (Point of No Return) starring Bridget Fonda and Gabriel Byrne and a television series with Peta Wilson from 1997-2001 (and yes, I own all five seasons) and inspired other shows like ďAliasĒ.

Nikita isnít a particular great film but the action-suspense sequences and some memorable performances, especially a fantastic small role by Jean Reno, make up for at times a weaker storyline that starts off a little slow before picking up pace from the second and third acts.

The movie is about a junkie chick named Nikita (Anne Parillaud) who is convicted of the murder of a police officer. After her conviction, sheís drugged and wakes up in a sterile room. A man named ďBobĒ (Tcheky Karyo) tells her she has a choice: die for her crime or server her country and train to become an assassin. After getting out of training relatively unscathed, sheís sent out into the real world where she builds a new life, meeting and getting engaged to Marco (Jean-Hughes Anglade) and just finally getting settled with some form of stability. A few months later, her job begins beginning with a simple delivery of food (with wire taps planted) to an assassination in Venice. Everything culminates with a final mission (in line with an episode of ďMission: ImpossibleĒ, sans the psychotic cleaner) that is fantastic end to a good film.

La Femme Nikita features some great performances starting with Parillaud as Nikita. She displays a nice balance between insanity and control, though the transformation from junkie to assassin isnít as well written, through no fault of Parillaud. Tcheky Karyo is perfect as the sadistic handler for Nikita, and plays off the role of a government man doing his duty to caring deeply for Nikita. Finally, while Jean Renoís screen time is minimal (maybe 10 minutes), itís probably the most memorable role in the film as a crime scene cleaner with little impulse control. Itís an interesting dynamic between Nikita and Victor (Reno) is great as Nikita, formerly having little control, begs for Victor to stop.

Although I didnít think Bessonís writing was up to par with the performances, his style and flair is present and gives the film more life than what the screenplay probably offered. Thereís not singular shot or frame or anything, but presenting a woman as a tough main character, who knows her way around guns. Not since Sigourney Weaver in the Alien movies has a woman looked more sexy using a weapon!

Nikita is a good movie and if for some reason you havenít seen it, give the flick a chance. Even if youíre not one for foreign, subtitles movies, itís worth checking out.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Other than some previews for other Sony titles, thereís also an option for BD-Live which contains other minor stuff for Sony Home Entertainment. Yep, they dropped the three featurettes that came with the (OOP) ďSpecial EditionĒ released in 2003.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

La Femme Nikita looks good in HD (1080p) and its 2.35 original aspect ratio, but I noticed quite a heap of grain especially for some of the darker scenes, but overall the picture looks sharp and I noticed little if any dust or scratches. Like other catalog titles from Fox/MGM (Romancing the Stone, Jewel of the Nile), Iím not sure if youíre going to get the full benefit of hi-def.

Given that the movie is now 18 years old, the audio isnít too bad, but I did notice the numerous amount of gunfire often sounds flat. MGM offers TrueHD tracks in French and English. The music gets the most benefit from the track and the dialogue is fairly clear, but the action sequences donít have the reverberations I expected.



.::OVERALL::.

La Femme Nikita isnít a fantastic movie but Luc Bessonís style and three great performances make this a worthwhile purchase for those who donít already own the special edition DVD. Beware, this does not have any of the features on that release, which boggles my mind given how much space a Blu-ray disc contains...