The protagonist behind the French thriller La
Femme Nikita is Nikita (Anne Parillaud), a former junkie who was
rescued by a government agency to become one of the world’s most
deadliest assassins. Directed by Luc Besson, La Femme Nikita has spawned a
plethora of Hollywood imitations but the original incarnation is still
the best to date, especially by the strong performances by Anne Parillaud, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Tchéky Karyo, Jeanne Moreau and French
legend Jean Reno. The story begins and even ends with a huge bang and
when a violent shootout occurs between a group of junkies and the
police, all are killed, except for “Nikita”. Sentenced to death, a
secret government agency gives her one chance of redemption and if she
accepts, she will start a new life.
As her death is faked, Nikita begins
some rigorously training and several years later, a new woman is born
but unfortunately when the government call, it is time to work for
freedom. With her new life, Nikita falls for a storekeeper called Marco
(Jean Hugues) and eventually they become lovers and just when some
normality arrives in her life, the agency call her. From there, the film
goes into high gear and if you want to see hell hath no fury like a
woman, just watch Nikita because this deadly assassin is quite eerie to
watch but this is what made the movie so famous which lead to a
plethora of imitations.
Besson once again succeeds as the director and
really gets into the headspace of Nikita as she is caught between love,
freedom and her obligation to work for the agency and when it all
threatens to fall apart, her decision may surprise some. Even when originally released, the violence of La Femme Nikita was
quite over the top and compared to movies of today is quite normalised
but is still a very strong presentation, even after all these years.
The video quality of Nikita is a little grainy but
still looks quite acceptable with the MPEG-4 AVC video coding and 1080p.
Colours, contrast and image quality is good and for a film of this age,
the conversation to Blu-ray worked quite well. The audio supports Dolby
TrueHD 5.1 and sounds phenomenal when the action begins, especially the
wild gunshot battles. Special Features are a little lacking but the
Making Of featurette and the Sound of Nikita give a backstage past to
the creation of this cult classic.
In conclusion, La Femme Nikita was the
precursor to series such as Alias and Covert Affairs and really gave
something to the movie genre. The character Nikita is played
perfectly by Anne Parillaud and Besson does his best to try something
different as the movie at times has this MTV like atmosphere to it. The story
works on all levels and although at times, it does get a little
derailed, it always finds its feet.
This is the
definitive version to get. Recommended!
The Sound of Nikita
Making Of & Production footage
Tchéky Karyo on Luc Besson