La Femme Nikita SteelBook 4K Review

By Allison Rose   X Formly Known as Twitter
3 Min Read

La Femme Nikita is quintessential Besson at his best.

La Femme Nikita SteelBook 4K Review
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Back in 1990, famed director/writer/producer Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) was a young, French filmmaker with only a few movie credits to his name. He then wrote and directed a film about a young, female, felon who was given a second chance at life by being trained and becoming an operative for the government.  

Starring Anne Parillaud (The Man In the Iron Mask) as Marie Clément/Nikita, La Femme Nikita garnered mixed reviews from French critics but Parillaud won the César Award (the French equivalent of the Oscar) for Best Actress and Besson's career got a jump start.  Two years later, the American version, Point of No Return, starring Bridget Fonda (Single White Female) furthered Besson's career. The original movie is now available for purchase on 4K with a steelbook case courtesy of Sony Pictures.

Marie is a teenage, strung-out, drug addict whose boyfriend is going to score them drugs by stealing some from his friend's father's drug store.  However, when the police show up everything goes wrong and Marie's boyfriend and his friends wind up dead.  Confronted with an officer Marie gets a loaded gun and shoots the officer dead.  Arrested and found guilty, Marie is sentenced to life in prison but once there, the prison authorities fake her death.

Some time later Marie wakes up in a cold and barren room where she is visited by a man named Bob (Tchéky Karyo; Bad Boys).  He explains that she has two choices.  She can either behave, be trained, and become an agent for "The Centré" - a government organization that basically does France's "dirty work" or she can occupy the empty burial plot, "row 8, plot 30" where her family already believes she is buried.  After some resistance, we fast forward three years to when Marie is completely transformed and ready to go out on her own.  

The concept was different and unique and the story was interesting.  Besson is known for his cinéma du look influence that favors style over substance and tends to have young, alienated characters - much like Marie.  Cinéma du look movies often had themes that included doomed love affairs, and negative views of the police and often took place in and around the Paris Métro which was meant to symbolize a fringe, underground society. These types of films also had an underlying feeling of rebellion.  Besson had other movies with these common themes but La Femme Nikita may be one of his best examples.

The 2160p video quality from the remastered negative shows some improvement from the 2008 Blu-ray release but there is some graininess that shows up from time to time.  The muted color palette doesn't pop but with the overall tone of the film appearing to be heavy, I'm not sure the audience would want it to.

Interestingly, this release has the same DTS-HD Master 5.1 audio track as the previously released Blu-ray so, while the audio is well done and has some layering, one can't help but wonder what a Dolby Atmos track would have sounded like, especially with all the gunshots and the occasional explosion. 

Sadly, other than a decent-looking steelbook case, there are no extras included with this release.  The only thing inside the case is the 4K feature, following the latest trend of not even including a digital download.

La Femme Nikita is quintessential Besson at his best and had I seen this film first I might have enjoyed it more.  However since I watched the Americanized version long before I ever saw this one, I prefer Point of No Return.  That isn't to say the film is bad in any way.  It simply comes down to which came first, the chicken or the egg.

Grade: B-


Cast:
Directed By:
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 117 minutes
Distributed By: Sony Pictures

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For more information about La Femme Nikita visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. This release has been provided to FlickDirect for review purposes. For more reviews by Allison Rose please click here.

La Femme Nikita images are courtesy of Sony Pictures. All Rights Reserved.


FlickDirect, Allison   Rose

Allison Rose, a Senior Correspondent and Critic at FlickDirect, is a dynamic presence in the entertainment industry with a communications degree from Hofstra University. She brings her film expertise to KRMS News/Talk 97.5 FM and broadcast television, and is recognized as a Tomatometer-Approved Critic. Her role as an adept event moderator in various entertainment industry forums underscores her versatility. Her affiliations with SEFCA, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Online Film Critics Society highlight her as an influential figure in film criticism and media.




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