Thursday, May 31, 2007

Nikita v Maggie

Both Besson's "La Femme Nikita" and Badham's "Point of No Return" are deliciously nineties feeling movies - the action looks mildly staged and they can't move beyond their love of mediocre eighties music. When it really comes down to it, these movies are near carbon copies. It's too bad because "Point" had the opportunity to be "The Departed" to "Nikita"'s "Infernal Affairs" but "Point"'s lack of originality and skimping on further development (there is some) prevents it from reaching Martin's level.

But here's the play by play of the shootout...

La Femme Nikita v Point of No Return: The feel of "Nikita" is kinda rough around the edges, yet fake at the same time. "Point" simply LOOKS better - the shots, the scenery, the realism of the training facility and the casual shots of Maggie in California with JP. Maybe you chalk this up to French movies having no budget and American movies have gobs and gobs of cash. But the finished product of "Point" looks like a finished product, not some fuzzy art film with cheap props. Edge: Maggie.

The Professional v Mr. TV: Luc Besson should get some sort of edge because he did WRITE the thing. And Badham didnt do that much afterwards - mostly wallowing in cheesy TV shows, producing two episodes here and there. And Besson went on to bigger and better things. But in a one to one versus like this, Badham gets the edge. His movie is crisper, he trims some of the useless fat and includes some more interesting shots - Maggie taking off her shoes before the first hit, little subtleties like JP proposing during Maggie's sniper mission, clearing away the campy bs like Marco "figuring out she was a spy" and other stuff. Edge: Maggie.

Mrs. Who? v Mrs. Brooks: This one isnt even close. Ann Bancroft runs away from this one with a solid performance that actually means something. Her impact on Maggie is crystal clear, and Maggie turns to her when she needs her. Her scenes are more memorable and longer. You even have an idea of her backstory and her life with Bancroft's portrayal. Edge: Maggie.

Apartment v Mansion: This one also isnt close. In "Nikita," Nikita's training seems almost meaningless. In "Point" Maggie uses hand to hand in New Orleans and on her last mission; she uses her demeanor she learned from Bancroft to calm herself in front of the Wolfe, and her weapons training is more evident in the bathroom scene in the beginning. In "Nikita" NONE of this happens, not even mentioned. Edge: Maggie.

Leon v Winston Wolfe: This one is kind of close. In "Nikita" Jean Reno gives a Leon-like performance as a cleaner who is executing his job to the best of his ability, albeit a little stubborn. In "Point" Harvey Keitel tries his cleaner routine before it was perfected in "Pulp Fiction" and the result is an amusing, yet ultimately distasteful creation. Granted, Keitel's role is different AND his action scenes are much better, but he goes down in a bad way and inspires little in the audience and Leon benefits from playing a "good guy." Edge: Nikita.

Bob v Bob: Again, this is pretty close. That random guy from "Kiss of the Dragon" and "The Patriot" plays a pretty solid character. But "cheating" helps our friendly little devil make a deal to stomp on the Frenchman. Byrne simply has more screen time and does more in the movie than Frency even came close to doing. I almost feel bad for him. Edge: Maggie.

Marco v JP: I think I changed my mind by the time I got here. But I'm going to have to go with Marco - his performance was a little better, a little more believable, and he was a little better at playing the i-love-you-why-are-you-lieing-to-me role. Even though JP's lines were better and he was more attractive, I gotta go with Marco. Edge: Nikita.

Nikita v Maggie: I guess Nikita gets "cool name" points, but that's really about it. Anne Poullard is just not hot. I spent most of "Nikita" wondering wheter Nikita was going to go back to her pet shop and wait for Rocky to pick her up. She couldnt really play punk or hot. I half expected the guy from "The Patriot" to start yelling "Adrienne!" Bridget Fonda on the other hand is just hot. She pulls off punk a lot better and she gets the benefit of blonde hair (maybe I'm a sucker for blondes). She's convincing too and just as tormented by her past and just as torn by her love for her man and her purpose of missions. Edge: Maggie.

Shootout results: Bridget Fonda (Maggie) 6, Anne Poullard (Nikita) 2.

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