"A classic story that Hollywood actually improved on."
Not the Bridget Fonda version (that's Assassin), not the awful TV version (that's La Femme Nikita), but the real thing. Luc Besson's 1990 French career-maker which was considered so good it had to be remade for an American audience.Now, remakes usually make my blood run cold and had I seen the original first, I'm sure the remake would have irked me relentlessly. Thing is, I actually like the remake better. Taking into account that the version of Nikita I saw was terribly dubbed into English, had some of the worst foley work I've seen and a disgraceful sound mix, it's not surprising it didn't go down well.
The story is great. A junkie sent to jail for life is taken in by the Government to be trained as an assassin, a position she excels at until she falls in love...
French actress Annie Parillaud is brilliant in the lead role, but of her supporting cast only a fleeting Jean Reno appearance as Victor The Cleaner comes close. The musical score by Eric Serra (K-Dog will kill me for this) is awful. Perhaps in the late 80's it went over better, but to me it seemed right out of place throughout.
The direction... well Besson isn't one to sit the camera in the middle of the room and play it out. He is an awesome director and manages to get the most out of every inch of screen.
But much as it pains me to say it, Nikita is not that great. Perhaps having just seen Besson's masterpiece Leon (The Professional) I expected too much. Perhaps seeing Assassins first took away from the awe of a great story. Perhaps the bullshit non-quality of the dubbed (read destroyed) version I saw was tooo much.
Whatever the reasoning behind it, I just can't give Nikita more than 3 stars. 4 if you see it without dubbing. 4 1/2 if you see it without having seen Assassin.Ah, fuck it. Just go rent The Professional. That's a much more awesome experience.