La Femme Nikita

La Femme Nikita (1990)
MGM Home Entertainment
Extras: Featurettes, Clips, Poster Gallery, Trailers

Luc Besson’s gripping action-thriller "La Femme Nikita" has been prepared for a DVD release by MGM Home Entertainment as a Special Edition complete with some exciting features. Stylish, dynamic and full of pounding action, this film is a dazzling action thriller that once again showcases what an incredible filmmaker Besson really is.

After a shoot-out with police during a robbery, Nikita (Anne Parillaud) is arrested and subsequently put to death by injection. However, instead of really killing her, authorities stage her death and the transfer her into a secret outfit where she is given a new identity and is trained to be a cold-blooded government hitman. While at first struggling to come to terms with her new life, Nikita eventually settles into her role as a killer-on-demand and even begins to lead a regular life. But one day, just when everything seems perfect, the inevitable call comes, her call for another mission.

MGM Home Entertainment brings us "La Femme Nikita" in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio in a transfer that is <$16x9,enhanced for 16x9> TV sets. The presentation is very clean and clear without showing any notable mars or defects. The picture has a high level of definition, reproducing many of the subtle details in the production and beautiful cinematography. With its bold blacks, the image is deep and solid, making for a wonderful experience. The presentation is mostly free of edge-enhancement and the compression has been handled equally well.

The DVD contains the movie’s original <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> audio track in French, complemented by an English dub in <$5.1,5.1 channel> Dolby Digital. No doubt, fans of the movie will prefer the original French track and it was good to see that it is the default setting for this release. Highly dynamic and explosive, the track offers a very good surround implementation, making extremely aggressive use of the surround channels almost throughout. A natural frequency response with good basses adds to the impact of the audio, while the dynamic range makes sure the explosive moments are equally powerful as the subtle, thoughtful ambient moments of the picture. Eric Serra’s score is also reproduced perfectly on the disc, making sure the wide sound field created by the score is reproduced without problems.

MGM Home Entertainment has added some interesting bonus materials to the release. Eric Serra actually gets his own featurette on this DVD, entitles "The Sound of Nikita," in which the frequent-Besson-collaborator has the chance to elaborate on his work in more detail, and to share some insight into the production of the film from his perspective. It is such a rare occasion that composers and musicians are actually highlighted on a release and as such this featurette is all the more exciting.

A "Making Of" featurette is also included. Running 20-minutes, this featurette is full of new cast and crew interviews and gives viewers a better understanding of the characters and the production in general, immensely adding to the release.

"Programming Nikita" is a set of three brief segments highlighting specific aspects of the film. A Poster Gallery and the movie’s theatrical trailer round out the release.

"La Femme Nikita" is a powerful film that excels not only through its riveting story but also through the stylish direction, the sometime-furious pacing and the stunning visuals. Combined with a great cast and superb music, this movie is a feast for every genre fan. I was a bit surprised to find that this is a slightly edited cut that differs a bit from the original European cut that I was familiar with but changes were truly minimal. All in all, this is a great release, boasting a superb feature presentation and a few insightful extras.