Tag Archives: tongue and cheek

La Femme Nikita (1990)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 8 out of 10

4-Word Review: Don’t mess with her.

Nikita (Anne Parillaud) is a member of a punk street gang who gets caught by police after a particularly brutal gangland robbery. She gets a light sentence only to be given a chance at becoming a specially trained undercover police agent. She takes it and thus begins a very stylized, action packed variation of Pygmalion.

I do have two grumbles, which I will get out of the way now. First it is hard to believe that such a drug addicted, slender built young thing could be so seasoned in the art of street fighting and gun shooting. It is also hard to believe that these agents can always remember the directions they are given of who to shoot and where to go to escape without it ever having to be repeated or written down. I was sitting on my easy chair and I wasn’t sure I had gotten it all especially since it was said very quickly and quietly. Yet our lady hero gets it all even in the stress of the moment.

Outside of that this it is a very entertaining movie. Actually it is a fun movie, a really fun movie. The action is well choreographed and exciting. The editing is crisp. It makes fun of the action genre and even tries to pull it in different directions and yet still delivers the goods at the same time. Each scene has its own tongue and cheek joke complete with set-up and punchline.

The film also has some unique perspectives. It shows how draining a spy job can be both on the person and their personal life. It also reverses the gender roles by showing the woman as being more assertive and the men (especially her boyfriend) as more passive.

One of the funniest elements of the film is Victor the cleanup guy (Jean Reno). He is similar to the Harvey Keitel character in Pulp Fiction, but far funnier. He takes the flippant, gruff persona to new heights.

My Rating: 8 out of 10

Released: February 21, 1990

Runtime: 1Hour 58Minutes

Rated R

Director: Luc Besson

Studio: Gaumont

Available: DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video