Wednesday, May 30, 2007

La femme Nikita...more femme than Nikita

La Femme Nikita - Luc Besson - 1990 - 7/10


The movie opens as a gang of punks, including Nikita (Anne Parillaud) is about to rip off a store. They are interrupted, the police come and after a bloody shootout, Nikita is the only one left over. She is arrested, tried, found guilty, and sentenced to life in prison. She freaks out though when men come to apparently give her a lethal injection. She awakes shortly thereafter to be told that her death was faked and she now is under some government agency that wants to train her as an agent. After a rocky start, and three years of training in weapons, hand-to-hand combat, computers, seduction, and more, Nikita is unleashed on the world. She is given the alias of Marie and the codename of Josephine and given assignments. She tries to get a life back together and soon falls in love with Marco (Jean-Hughes Anglade). Her life seems to be going fine until the agency starts forcing more and more assignments on her, as the assignments begin to consumer her, Marco begins to suspect that his love is not a hospital worker...


I hold Luc Besson to a pretty high standard because I love "The Professional" and "The Fifth Element" among others of his. That being said, at the end of the movie it was hard for me to believe that Luc Besson wrote this movie. I thought about it a little more, and realized that "The Professional" took a similar pattern/formula. That movie at least executed - giving you the money action sequences when you wanted them. Nikita however, just never delivers. Much of the movie is taken up with the training montages and all that. Then I kept looking at the movie time waiting for it to build something, one mission to go wrong. But mission after mission goes by - and they aren't even interesting or action-packed. What you're left with is a romantic love story, largely driven by a great performance by Anglade. That brings up another thing - Besson had the good sense to cast Natalie Portman in "The Professional" and Mila Jovovich in "The Fifth Element," but Parillaud just doesnt make a whole lot of sense to me. Sure, she can act, but she's simply not hot enough for Nikita. Which brings me to the seduction training - this was pretty pointless when Nikita NEVER exploits this - there was never some mission along the way where she has to seduce some drunken guard or pretend to be a call girl to get in to take out a hit. Hell, I even get that in "Goldeneye" and "Mr and Mrs Smith." These examples are just the tip of the iceberg and elucidate the point I mentioned earlier - the movie wastes the great potential this movie had.


If it's on TV, you might as well watch it.

If you liked this movie, watch...
...The Professional
...Run Lola Run
...The Bourne Identity

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