LA FEMME NIKITA
Review by Gordon Justesen
Stars: Anne Parillaud, Jean-Hughes Anglade, Tcheky
Karyo, Jeanne Moreau, Jean Reno
Director: Luc Besson
Audio: French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Features: See Review
Length: 117 Minutes
Release Date: July 1, 2003
was successful for three separate reasons. First, it introduced the States to
writer/director Luc Besson, whose future work would be nothing short of
spectacular. Secondly, it spawned off a highly successful cable television
series that may have outlived the movie. And lastly, it more or less gave women
all around the world a reason to love the action movie genre, by presenting a
character that was a hundred percent bad ass and equally original. Besson’s
film is a one of a kind character piece focusing on the transformation of a
burned out soul, who in turn unexpectedly finds redemption and a purpose to
played with gusto by French beauty Anne Parillaud, is quite a loose cannon at
the film’s beginning. She takes part in the robbery of a drugstore along with
her criminal pals. When the robbery goes south, and all of her cohorts are
gunned down by the cops, Nikita makes a pivotal decision and takes a cop down at
point blank range. This gesture will indeed change her life, but not in the way
you’d expect it to.
is immediately given a death sentence by the courts for her actions, and she
desires nothing more or less since she is anti-social to begin with. But then
something strange happens. Her death is mysteriously faked, and the woman
discovers that she has landed in the confines of a secret government location.
Soon, it is revealed that this once uncaring and lethal woman has been selected
to be a subject of this particular government program, which takes individuals
with basically no purpose in life, or desire to live, with the needed skills,
and reprograms them to become fast thinking assassins.
woman previously known as Nikita is given a new identity, a makeover, and much
elaborate training in order to execute marksman-like skills. She is also under
the very watchful eye of a spy-trainer who goes by Bob (Tcheky Karyo), who
supplies her with various assignments. His sharp consistency plays an intricate
role in triggering her rage at just the right tone so that she can get the job
three years of training, she leaves the secret training facility so that she can
attempt to lead a normal life. She does just that when she meets grocery bag boy
Marco (Jean-Hughes Anglade), who immediately charms her. They soon move in
together and attempt a romantic relationship, but when she is spontaneously
needed for several deadly assignments, she is caught in a conflicted emotional
state, which may have her questioning her skilled profession.
film was a pitch-perfect start to Besson’s career, which led to the power
packed action-fests The Professional and
The Fifth Element. While La
Femme Nikita doesn’t quite strike grand status as those two films, it
still fits the bill in terms of high octane action entertainment, in addition to
being a memorable character piece.
much exceptional anamorphic offering from MGM. I never had the opportunity to
see the film when it first hit DVD, but this new Special Edition includes quite
a nicely done transfer. Like mostly all of Besson’s film, Nikita is ever so stylish, which pays off greatly in this
presentation. Despite several instances of softness in some darker lit sets,
this transfer is of the usual top quality that we’ve come to expect from MGM.
good kickin’ audio track is supplied here in the form of a forceful 5.1 track,
presented in both French and English. Action sequences and shootouts are the big
standout moments here, and music delivery as well as dialogue are both
highpoints, in addition.
on this special edition are two featurettes, “The Sound of Nikita”, and
“Revealed: The Making of Nikita”. Also included are an interactive map, an
Easter egg, poster galleries and a trailer.