I didn’t think it was actually possible, but the CW and Warner actually managed to create yet another “La Femme Nikita” television series, and one that has managed to be the most entertaining yet. After the critically panned “Point of No Return” and the instantly forgettable Peta Wilson vehicle “La Femme Nikita,” I was admittedly very skeptical a network could tackle the Luc Besson action masterpiece and provide a watchable spin on it. Admittedly season one of “Nikita” isn’t perfect. The first three or four episodes meander in to romance melodrama and the writing is pretty clumsy all things considered, but once the season and the show finds its footing it manages to be a rather entertaining and dark spy thriller. Maggie Q finally gets her due leading the series “Nikita” which takes a new spin on the Luc Besson picture of the same name.
Leon is a hit man, the best hit man working for Tony. He kills without a sound, without any emotion, he has only one rule “no woman, no child”, he’s the perfect hit man. Leon lives in the same building as Mathilda and her dysfunctional family. Mathilda’s father is a drug-dealer who does not care much, her stepmom does not seem to like her much, and her big sister seems to hate her. Mathilda’s sole solace is her younger brother, whom she loves very dearly. Comes in New York City’s crooked DEA, Norman Stansfield, who hired Mathilda’s father as a drug dealer. After the drugs are found to have been cut, Stansfield demands an answer as to how this has happened by 12 noon the next day.
So far this is the third variation of the Luc Besson spy thriller masterpiece “La Femme Nikita,” and the more variations we see of it, the more the actual point of the premise is loss. We had “Point of No Return” a remake with Bridget Fonda I think I’d rather forget if only for being a piss poor adaptation of Besson’s film and for becoming a relatively obscure nineties fixture that put some nails in to Fonda’s career coffin. Then there was the basic cable spy thriller starring Peta Wilson that I really never bothered to watch mainly because it felt like a version of “Mission: Impossible,” and now there’s “Nikita.”
Like most American audiences, I was introduced to Jet Li in “Lethal Weapon 4” where he stole the show from every cast member in the final film of the franchise as the vicious Wah Sing Ku who engages in a battle with Riggs and Murtaugh at the end of the movie. And like every other American after the movie I sought out Li’s previous works and was pretty much under whelmed. The man’s past works range from mediocre to plain idiotic and America didn’t do much for him with movies like “The One,” “Cradle 2 The Grave,” and “Romeo Must Die” all of which were packed with CGI and hip hop references stifling Li’s potential. When allowed to work on his own terms though, Li pulled off some rather incredible pieces of martial arts cinema, one of which is “Kiss of the Dragon.”
In spite of ranking on the top ten lists of many, many movie fans since its release, my love for “Leon: The Professional” was not immediate. As a matter of fact I pretty much disliked it on the first and second outings because I couldn’t quite grasp what Luc Besson was going for with this film. It’s not an action movie, it’s more of a love story set to the tone of bloodshed and corruption, a subtle poetic masterpiece that relies on characterization and artistic strokes of pure raw emotion than some shoot em up gangster flick.
Whoa, who knew Liam Neeson was such a hard ass, but then his parental tendency to kick ass and take names when his daughter is kidnapped is never an element that distracts viewers with the believability, mainly because it’s Liam Neeson, a man in his fifties who struts around the film as the hero who is a change of pace from young male models and wrestlers who normally dominating the big screen. Neeson is an antidote to all the barely past puberty action pukes and convinces us that he’ll kill anyone and everyone if you take from him. It’s a true testament that Neeson simply knocks this role out of the park.