25 February 2011

OMENS: La Femme Nikita

La Femme Nikita

Starring Anne Parillaud, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Tchéky Karyo, Jeanne Moreau, Jean Reno, Philippe Du Janerand, Marc Duret, Patrick Fontana, Alain Lathiere
Written & Directed by Luc Besson
Release: 21 February 1990
Gaumont, 117 mins., Rated R

Plot: Faced with a life sentence, Nikita is given a rebirth as a operative for the government.

With sixteen episodes of The CW's Maggie Q-starring NIKITA under my viewing belt, I figured what the hell, give the original French NIKITA a chance.

Overall, very 'meh'.

Excluding a few scenes here or there, LA FEMME NIKITA lacks much in anything that kept my interest or indicated the cultural phenomenon it would become. Although an entire movie is dedicated to this character, I frankly was at a loss as to who Nikita is as a individual. We're introduced to her as a troubled kid who acts out. She shoots/kills people, she likes to yell to a super obnoxious degree, she dances around without a care in the world, and she pretty much hates everyone. As the movie progresses, and she abruptly chooses the life of an assassin, her character just wants to have a normal life, a yearning that just comes out of nowhere based on what has already been established with this character. Basically, Nikita is inconsistent, and the overall ten to fifteen minutes of her being recruited into the government organization goes by far too quick without the necessary information presented. The movie is more concerned with visual style over substance. More explanation of the agency would have been appreciated, or a reveal of exactly what it is they do and what their function is. Before I knew it, Nikita was authorized to blow some guys away, and I don't think we were adequately given the opportunity to see Nikita accept the world she was about to embark on.

Guess I'm just a sucker for the finer details. The whole first hour honestly zooms by. Nikita the Yelling Crazy Bitch is the first thirty, Nikita entering the agency about twenty mins., and then Nikita on her first mission about fifty minutes. That was some good stuff. And then Nikita is let out into the world on her own and the movie sorta just loses it. There's no steam, nothing all too engaging until the final fifteen when Nikita does a job which eventually brings in Jean Reno (being kickass as ever). In the end, she's on the run from the people who hired her, no longer wanting anything to do with killing people, and leaving the man she 'loves' behind (seriously lame development in that relationship).

Arguably, NIKITA could be considered slow pace so we can get a deeper understanding of the titular character. That'd be fantastic if we actually got to know this woman. She yells, she cries, she gets painted into corners, but she's far from a interesting, developed, or remotely well crafted character. Definitely a flick that could use a big screen remake. Maybe Paul Greengrass would be interested.

One of the more noteworthy aspects of LA FEMME NIKITA, Jean Reno's name drop down aside, is the presence of That One Guy. In this case, Tchieky Karyo. He's got quite a hefty resume under his belt, and I pinpointed where I initially knew him: Jet Li's KISS OF THE DRAGON. By golly, Karyo is the most menacing, deadpan faced men I've seen in a looong time. Screw Nikita, give us a film on that dude (cleverly named 'Bob', although I can never hear that name and not think LAST SAMURAI).

Overall, skip NIKITA. If you want to see how the saga started, by all means, power to ya, but you're not missing anything at all by not seeing it.

Netflix Rating: Liked It

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