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Nikita (La Femme Nikita) Reviews

Page 1 of 87
Phil H

Super Reviewer

May 22, 2009
I have only just seen this Besson original, I saw the remake yonks ago when I was but a teen and quite liked it to be honest. Upon seeing this I can see how glossy the US remake was but its still better in a few ways...but not many. The original is much better due to the character driven cast which at the time were almost unknown (except in France maybe), it gives the film a much more realistic feel that big name Hollywood stars can't deliver. The action is slicker, harder and has a nice graphic novel vibe about it with great cam angles and gun POV's. Its all pure Besson and if you've seen his other action flicks you will like this for sure.

The US remake does have Keitel in it which gives it a few extra points. I also prefer Fonda for sex appeal but Parillaud is a much better actress and looked a lot better with a gun, more professional looking. But then this version has the brilliant Reno as the anti 'Leon' cleaner 'Victor', just wish he had a bigger part, question is was he better than Keitel? hmmm tricky.

This is similar to 'The Terminator' in the fact its more gritty, seedier, darker and realistic than the second 'T2', or in this films case the US remake. Again the smaller budget actually works better for the outcome, more money tends to encourage directors to get carried away when they don't have to. More is less and this film certainly feels like more of a sweaty thriller than the Hollywood offering.

Super Reviewer

January 23, 2014
Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita is his undisputed masterpiece, along with The Professional; Besson has delivered a stunning work that is riveting, filled with action, great performances and a well crafted story. The script here is solid, and this is exactly the type of film that action fans will find appealing. Mixed into the action is a plot that is smartly layered, intriguing that is elevated by a great cast of actors. The film's mood is dark and ominous, and it gives it a sense of style that only enhances the film's style. Besson has yet to top La Femme Nikita, and as far as action films in general are concerned, this is a near perfect example of a film that successfully combines action and a great storyline. Luc Besson's script is near perfection, and fans of the genre, owe it to themselves to check this film out. La Femme Nikita hits the right notes, and moves at a fast pace under the direction of Besson, who has yet to make a film that matches the scope of this. This is pure action and thrills, and if you love the genre, then this is a film that will definitely satisfy your need for effective, memorable action sequences. Lead actress Anne Parillaud delivers a powerful performance in the lead role, and actor Tchéky Karyo is equally as good. Both actors command the screen, and they have great chemistry on-screen. Besson has made a standout film that manages to redefine action cinema, and since its initial release back in 1990, has elevated the standards of action cinema.
Al S

Super Reviewer

September 7, 2006
It's brilliant, riveting, fast-paced and original. An relentlessly entertaining action-packed thriller. A smart and intriguing thrill-ride that's entertainment in fine form. A sexy, stylish, dangerous and excellent piece of work. Director, Luc Besson's triumph. One wickedly cool adrenaline-rush from start to finish. It has the action, suspense, emotion and character development that a fine film of it's kind should. A real classic. The performances are fantastic. Anne Parillaud is a revelation. Jean-Hugues is terrific Tcheky Karyo is excellent. Jean Reno plays a cool and slick character. It's magnetic and wickedly entertaining.

Super Reviewer

January 19, 2011
A lot diffrent than the Hollywood standards. And that's good. Good acting. Good Directing. I don't know how Luc Besson does it. But he got a very chill way of directing. You feel very relaxed while you'r watching. And it was nice to see the origin of Léon. Sick of the french right?...Sick of the french!
Red L

Super Reviewer

December 4, 2010
I was disappointed. Perhaps because I used to watch the TV series, I was expecting something more like that. For some reason, the English words coming out of their mouths when they were obviously speaking French in the movie bothered me too, yet most of the time I never notice such things.

This is the oldest movie where I have seen the role of a 'cleaner' - someone who comes in to clean up the mess when the original agents mess up. You have to give the director credit for the great quality of the action scenes in a 20 year old movie.

Super Reviewer

April 4, 2009
"There are two things that are infinite: femininity and means to take advantage of it."

Convicted felon Nikita, instead of going to jail, is given a new identity and trained, stylishly, as a top secret spy/assassin.

Luc Besson has been behind some of the most provocative and intriguing action films of the last 15 years, and his introduction to mainstream American cinema-goers began with 1991's "La Femme Nikita." Beginning with a drug store shootout that leaves three junkie punkers and a few policemen dead, this film is rapidly engaging and shows off Besson's violent chic. In the fray, only young Nikita (Anne Parillaud) survives, after offing a policeman who had let his guard down at a crucial moment. Facing certain death in France's court of law, she is given two choices: lethal injection, or have her execution faked, and then assume a new life as a female super-assassin/spy. A wild-raised feral child of sorts, Nikita had picked up certain skills on the street that eventually prove to be quite valuable to her government handlers, as she makes things difficult for them and especially her chief mentor Bob (Tcheky Karyo). No secret is made of his affections for her, but he tries to mold Nikita into a valuable person, and he's able to do it with the help of another agent, played by actress Jeanne Moreau, who teaches her the finer ways of womanhood. By the end of her training, Nikita has been modeled into a fine, sexy female assassin. Besson makes no attempts to sacrifice his film in the ways of Hollywood convention, and he proves that the days of female-driven action cinema are not yet dead. Parillaud is compelling, as at first, she almost seems unaware of her identity as a woman. When she isn't taking out high-powered political officials, she's romancing a kind and gentle shop clerk, who falls madly in love with her as she does with him. Lastly, "La Femme Nikita" has some of the most stylized and violent action scenes of any movie I've seen in a while. Luc Besson, with this film and much of his subsequent work, has proved he is one of cinema's most valuable personalities on the European, Asian, and American action film circuits. Also, be aware of a cameo by future Besson "Leon" (1994) star Jean Reno as Victor the Cleaner, in what is pretty much an early prototype of his role from that star-making breakthrough film.
Lewis C

Super Reviewer

August 22, 2010
"You could say I work...for the government. We've decided to give you another chance."

I've been wanting to see La Femma Nikita for ages, as I used to be quite the fan of the tv show based on it when I was a kid. It's nice to be able to say that the movie was just as exciting and entertaining as I remember the show being.

The plot is about a young drug addict who kills a cop when she and some guys are caught robbing a pharmacy. The French government fakes her death, and she's given little alternative but to join a training program to become an agent in the government's employ. The stress of living a violent life that she doesn't want and having to keep it secret from her fiancé eventually becomes too much for her to cope with.

La Femme Nikita has several impressive action sequences, but it's more than just an action movie. Nikita transforms over the course of the story from a drugged-up junkie with nothing to live for to a capable and dangerous woman who wants control over her own life.

All in all I thought La Femme Nikita was a solid blend of assassination and drama. The heroine is probably one of the most interesting female action protagonists ever put up on the big screen, and it's hard to overstate the impact Nikita has had on other female protagonists in these kinds of movies in the last twenty years. Recommended.
Drew S

Super Reviewer

April 22, 2010
Devastatingly flawed, lazily written and open to sexist interpretation, La Femme Nikita is nonetheless a film worth seeing for any action fan, if only for its unflappable originality. Nikita's transformation over the course of the movie is perhaps the most remarkable thing, though it may require a scoop of openmindedness from its viewer. It's really hard to accept that the cop-killing dimwitted crackhead we see in the beginning of the film is capable of pulling off complex espionage missions. Logic is by no means the movie's strong point, and it's clearly fast-forwarding through its own plot to get to the good stuff, asking us to accept Nikita's three years training as a government operative in the span of five minutes. (To be fair, there are some really neat touches that sharply delineate the passage of time, but it just doesn't feel like enough.) La Femme Nikita was obviously concocted as fantasy fodder for Luc Besson. How many men get to put their wives in slinky dresses, hand them an enormous pistol, and have them shoot down waves of baddies on camera, creating an international box-office success? The man is to be envied, but it's fortunate that his interest in self-gratification at least produces a watchable result. The same cannot be said for all auteurs.

Anne Parillaud is a fun presence, and it's obvious that she really poured herself into this role. The character really makes you work to like her, and I don't think Nikita will win over everyone, but if the bittersweet ending doesn't win you over then nothing will. She makes a strange centerpiece for the action sequences, as she's lanky and sort of awkward, almost like a prototypical Angelina Jolie. I'm not really sure if I swallow her as a trained assassin; the fact that she even survived her first gunfight in the restaurant is a serious stretching of credibility, even if she's meant to be inexperienced and out of her depth. Still, Besson's sensible direction and creativity make the ridiculousness palatable.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 14, 2009
Nikita is a brilliant film. It's Besson's first real action film and a hint of what was to come, particularly in his projects as writer/producer. Unfortunately, none of his later works have matched Nikita in its brilliance. This is classic Besson.
A Truly Twyzted Kytten
August 24, 2009
Be unafraid, be very unafraid. A stunning look into the sociopathic tendencies of a misbegotten teenage criminal. Sentenced to death for the shooting death of a public servant, Nikita is offered the chance of a lifetime: Spy & Assassinate for the French Government instead. So here the true story begins.
Nikita's wonderfully deviant character very quickly shows her clever side in training-and you fall in love with her soon. The plot was thick and rich with many facets yet a deceptfully-simple starting concept. The cinematography was sketchy-but-forgivable and the screenplay was engenious if a little sparse. The ending was abrupt and could be called unsatisfying by some-but i was enthralled, entranced, and positively enebriated by the stunning characters, hairy situations,and dark undertones of this film.
Welcome to true brilliance, Nikita, enjoy your immortality.
Lady D

Super Reviewer

October 19, 2006
This film started out in one direction and then turned in complete other direction, which having not read the synopsis, was a pleasant surprise. This film, I really enjoyed, but can't quite put my finger on why? Perhaps it's the strong female lead, who is a match for any man and yet still has the ability of being a feminine beauty, maybe it's the double lifestyle shes lease or maybe it was the way she was desired.

The film itself (although only 1990) looks fairly dated and of course is rather far fetched, but I found it a really enjoyable watch.

Jean Reno's role was small, yet made quite an impact as the "cleaner".
Ken S

Super Reviewer

March 24, 2007
Deliciously stylish
Cassandra M

Super Reviewer

August 11, 2008
Forget the awful series. Forget the even worse Hollywood remake 'The Assassin'. Remember Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita.

This has got to be one of the most stylish, moody and gripping films in existence. Luc Besson's direction is refreshing whilst the cinematography is simply stunning, particuarly the scene in the hotel where Nikita gets her first assignment. The soundtrack by Eric Serra is simply genius and actually adds something to the film...soundtracks usually seem to be an afterthought but refreshingly; not in this case.

The beautiful Anne Parillaud is perfect in the lead role (unlike Bridget Fonda) and the subtle romance between her and Tcheky Karyo is pure eloquence. The hugely talented Jean-Hughes Anglade (of Betty Blue fame) shines in this film but of all the male roles, Jean Reno (also fabulous in Luc Besson's Leon)is outstanding as the completely unbalanced Victor The Cleaner. Jeanne Moreau as Amande makes a notable appearence following years of contributions in countless films.

Luc Besson established himself as one of the leading innovative directors with this film and you can easily see why. This movie certainly rates among the top 10 films of all time.

I could pontificate about this film all day and all night but the best thing is for you to watch it yourself as a matter of is a 'must see'.

I'm off now to pursue a career in international assassinations.

Super Reviewer

September 29, 2007
I have never been able to get into this movie, the main character is just too irritating to take seriouslly. The direction is good, story so-so, the whole thing just feels aimless and never convinces.
Alexander W

Super Reviewer

January 10, 2008
This film is supposed to have got great reviews when it first came out and yet it still lives up to it for a first time viewer 17 years later. I found the film interesting and very familuar to many of my other favourite hitman type films, most starring Jean Reno. His acting skills really develop his character throughout Hollywood. Unlike some half-assed actors. Its a great film, worth watching and recommended by many, with some twists and some hidden messages. Good adult fun.

Super Reviewer

October 5, 2006
Luc Besson's stylish inventive, ultraviolent, high-energy thriller about the recruitment of a convicted drug addict to be a secret service assassin. This visceral thriller isn't for the squeamish, but I also like to think and have sense of style that I love it.

Super Reviewer

July 20, 2007
Classic super stylish Luc Besson thriller which is a gripping and wonderfully acted in all the ways its shoddy US remake fails
Aaron N

Super Reviewer

June 12, 2007
Bob: You could say I work...for the government. We've decided to give you another chance.
Nikita: What do I do?
Bob: Learn. Learn to read, walk, talk, smile, and even fight. Learn to do everything.
Nikita: What for?
Bob: To serve your country.
Nikita: What if I don't want to?
Bob: Row 8, Plot 30.

French action director Luc Besson directs this film which can be split in two mini films.

The first half surrounds the story of a female street punk, Nikita, who kills a cop only to be sentenced to death. Instead she is taken by the government and put into a training facility where she is to become an assassin. Despite this, she is really groomed to be a woman. She spends three years going from a child to an adult.

The second half of the movie deals with how she has to live a double life as a real woman and a trained assassin, and the emotion that comes with all the death that surrounds her.

In the first half of the movie, Nikita develops a relationship with her mentor Bob. The second half, Nikita becomes involved and engaged to a man she meets. This triangle plays out well in the film, representing both Nikita's emotion and the different sides in her life.

Being a Besson film, it is beautiful to watch. Especially for being a low budget film, the movie has a clear style that reflects all of Besson's film, mixing the drama with humor and action.

Being a film about assassin's there is action, and when it is done, its done well enough, but the focus here is on characters, and they are very well handled. This is especially apparent with Nikita, played by Anne Parillaud, who portrays a sort of ugly-duckling Sabrina type.

It would also be hard not to mention Jean Reno, whose character goes on to inspire Besson's next film, Leon - The Professional. He is only in the film for a little bit, but he leaves an impression.

Very good film.

Victor: I am Victor the cleaner.
Michael S

Super Reviewer

March 31, 2007
Luke Besson's masterpiece next to The Professional.

Super Reviewer

March 10, 2007
I have a deep aversion to Hollywood remakes of foreign films, but I actually thought that this original was just as lame as the remake.
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