Saturday, January 6, 2018

Movie #443: La Femme Nikita

La Femme Nikita is a French action/drama directed by Luc Besson and starring Anne Parillaud, Tcheky Karyo, Jean-Hughes Anglade, and Jean Reno. It's very French.

Nikita (Parillaud) kills a cop in the middle of a drug-seeking robbery, and is sentenced to life imprisonment, or death by lethal injection (they say one and then do the other). She wakes up in a strange cell confronted by Bob (Karyo), who tells her that she can learn to be an agent for the government, or she can actually die. Nikita, of course, chooses to learn, becomes a capable agent, and then gets sent out into the world. There, she starts a relationship with Marco (Anglade), a cashier, and lives happily ever after until she gets contacted to start shooting people again.

This all ends with a job that goes utterly off the rails and necessitates a "cleaner" (Reno, playing a stupider version of his character Leon), who shows up and shoots people wily-nily. Nikita then flees, leaving both Marco and her life as an assassin behind.

So, I'd seen Point of No Return, the American remake of this movie starring Bridget Fonda, and it's apparently nearly a shot-for-shot remake because I was getting deja vu watching this one. In any case, it's largely Anne Parillaud acting off the rails (she screams a lot). What I think is interesting is that in this movie, Nikita is competent but not brilliant. She learns, but she's not a natural assassin or anything, she gets good through practice and she improvises pretty well, but it looks more like what you'd get if you took someone with a rather traumatized life and taught them to kill, which, like yeah.

The performances are good, but the script is wonky (I'm still a little boggled by Reno's cleaner character, who comes in and just makes things so much worse), the premise is flimsy, and the soundtrack is godawful. I kinda think I like the American version better, except that the boyfriend character (played by Dermot Mulroney in Point) is so much better realized here - he's nonthreatening, nonaggressive, and sweet.

Generally, though, I think it's an interesting character study but it doesn't really require a second viewing.

My Grade: B-
Rewatch Value: Low

Next Up: Mr. & Mrs. Smith, for reals this time