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|Index||110 reviews in total|
Being a remake of Luc Besson's "Nikita" (1990), this is quite an average
hollywood remake of a very interesting french movie. The french original
much better in terms of direction and story, but Bridget Fonda's acting is
marvellous, outstanding and considerably better than her french
counterpart's in "Nikita". And this is exactly the reason to watch this
movie, Fonda's performance is a thing you should definitely not
Yes, it's a bad remake of La Femme Nikita--yes, it's overly violent and amoral (but so was the original)--yes, it's REALLY stupid, but I enjoyed it. It moves quickly, Fonda manages to give out a pretty good performance and it's certainly never boring. If you can turn off your brain, and sit through bursts of graphic violence (and a really sick sequence involving Harvey Keitel as "The Cleaner") you should be able to enjoy it. No great movie, just a really good bad movie. Critics predictably hated this movie. There's a now infamous review from the "New Yorker" magazine that's only 9 words long--"The end of French cinema as we know it." Ignore them--this is lots of fun.
The English version of the French movie La Femme Nikita. I think it is
well done, and I enjoyed it.
A druggie girl kills a cop and is sentenced to death. She is given the "opportunity" to live, if she does what they say, and becomes an assassin. To the rest of the world she died.
She is determined, and she doesn't play well with others, but if she doesn't start playing their game, she really will be in her grave.. I'm not giving away any more.
But I would recommend it, it's worth seeing. Especially if you like Bridget Fonda, who kicks arse in this movie.
An excellent example of Hollywood's ability to ruin a good movie concept. The original version ('La Femme Nikita') was far more gritty and realistic. The main character is offered a choice between death, or the life of an assassin. As such, she spends most of the film trying to find a way out of her situation. Unfortunately the overuse of high-tech props, sets and special effects have made the entire experience so sanitised that by the end of the film I found myself wishing that a corrupt government would come and kidnap me.
I thought this flick was good, and I'm SO glad that the film didn't resort
to the typical Hollywood ending that other American remakes do (though it
differed just a bit from the original "Nikita").
Admittedly, I'm biased in that I'm getting to be a big Bridget Fonda fan. And I agree with another reviewer that Fonda played a more likable character than the one in the French original.
Plus, the DVD's sound is great, though the picture is grainy.
All in all, a good film that doesn't deserve all the mudslinging it has gotten.
This IS a really brutal movie-I usually don't like violence in movies but
this case the violence was sort of neccessary for the overall subject at
hand. Once I got past that, I really enjoyed this in a way that surprised
because it wouldn't be the type of pic I'd usally watch.
I think Gabriel Byrne is what made this movie. He was great as Bob and the chemistry between him and maggie/Nina was overwhelming. I think this was a movie made good by the cast. I thought Fonda and Byrne were incredible.
I wouldn't call this "dreary" as much as sometimes brutal with alot of violence. Still it's a good movie, I think besides the incredible chemistry between Byrne and Fonda the story was moving and makes you want to know what happens nest.
Harvey Keitel was positively creepy as the Cleaner! There are some really-well- for lack of a better term icky scenes in the movie but the acting is first rate and holds your attention.
There are some negatives to: to much violence that seemed kind of for shock value, after awhile it becomes a bit much:ok we get the idea. The AMMOUNT of shootings, explosions etc detracts from the wonderful acting and powerful story at hand, they could have minimized the brutality A LITTLE.
Also, Gabriel Byrne and Bridget Fonda should have had more scenes together, their chemistry is what made the movie. I understand, looking at imdb comments that this is a remake and I didn't know that before, but although this movie is very engrossing it doesn't get up to 10 status. Stil, it's defintely worth seeing if you have a strong stomach and haven't seen it.
I've never seen the French film, Nikita, on which this is based, but it
sounds superb. What drew me into this film was the presentation of the
story, which focuses less on her as a professional killer and more on her
humanity. In the French film, Nikita looks very forceful and aggressive.
Fonda in "Point" seems more sensitive and feminine. I'm just going to have
to see the French one. I'm not easy to impress and this film drew me in.
Nikita must be awesome.
BRIDGET FONDA has a face one can just stare at for hours. It's a restrained performance. She plays a very conflicted character full of paradox. A proposal from her lover cause tears to well up in her eyes as she peers down the scope of her rifle at her latest target. She manages to keep a straight face when her friend is killed in front of her. She even manages a smile and says, "I never did mind about the little things." Fonda has such talent that she's able to portray pure calm with every muscle in her face while her eyes swim in terror and heartbreak.
HARVEY KEITEL is Victor, the Cleaner. His face is a stone. No smiles, frowns, or grimaces. He is heartless and emotionless. As he kills, his face remains stone cold. He says no unnecessary words. His answers are short, to the point. Superb. His performance is understated brilliance.
GABRIEL BYRNE has a knack for making his characters believable. He's harsh, yet sympathetic. He alone makes this movie worth watching.
"Point of No Return", or "The Assassin" as it is known here in Britain,
is, of course, a remake of Luc Besson's French thriller "Nikita", and
keeps closely to the plot of the original, although the action is
transferred from France to America. Some of the names, such as Victor
or Amande/Amanda, are the same as, or very close to, those used in the
original film, although the name of the main character is changed from
Nikita to Maggie. (Besson had, for reasons best known to himself, given
his heroine a masculine Russian Christian name).
Like Nikita, Maggie is a criminal and drug addict who murders a policeman during a raid on a pharmacy, a crime for which she is sentenced to death. The sentence is, apparently, carried out soon after the trial, but in reality Maggie's life is spared. (The film-makers ignore the fact that in America any death sentence is automatically subject to a lengthy series of appeals and reviews; in California, where the film is set, only thirteen people, out of nearly seven hundred sentenced to death, have been executed during the last thirty years). She is given the option of being trained to work for the Government as a professional assassin; if she refuses she will be killed and buried beneath the tombstone which already bears her name.
Roger Ebert compares Maggie to a modern-day Eliza Dolittle, the heroine of Shaw's "Pygmalion". This may seem an odd comparison, given the nature of the work Maggie is being trained to do, but it is in fact an apt one. The modern assassin must master not only martial arts, weapons skills and computer technology but also such matters as deportment, polite conversation, fine dining and the art of looking beautiful. The rationale is presumably that, as Maggie may be called upon to kill members of America's high society, she needs to know how to behave in their company. The tuition she receives is obviously effective; Maggie enters her charm school with the social graces of an alley-cat and leaves with those of a débutante. For all her poise and glamour, however, she also has the skills of a ruthless killer.
The Government resettle Maggie in Venice Beach where she poses, under an assumed name, as an IT consultant and finds a boyfriend. Occasionally, however, she is called upon to take out a target whom the Government want dead, either by delivering a bomb to their hotel room or shooting them dead in the street. At first she is happy to go along with their instructions, but begins to develop a conscience about what she is doing, and wants to leave her job.
The idea of remaking a modern foreign-language film in English and with an American setting was anathema to many purists, particularly to those (on both sides of the Atlantic) who see Europe as the home of High Culture and America as a land of vulgar Philistines who are too lazy to bother with reading subtitles. This, however, was a view which I found unfair, as "Nikita" did not lose much, if anything, in translation when it was remade. Contrary to what some might think, not every French or European film is an art-house classic; Besson's was a commercial thriller which was itself influenced by American models, especially neo-noir. Film noir, as the name might suggest, has always been appreciated in the French cinema; the influence of Besson's model on John Badham's film might be seen as France's repayment of its debt to America.
Moreover, "The Assassin" has many virtues in its own right. It makes effective use of music; there is a memorable score from Hans Zimmer, possibly influenced by David Hentschel's music for "Educating Rita". The soundtrack also features several songs by Nina Simone, a particular passion of Maggie's. (This seemed a rather conservative taste for a young woman of her generation, but the explanation is that Maggie's enthusiasm derives from her mother).
Bridget Fonda (who has clearly inherited the classic good looks of her Auntie Jane) is very good as the heroine, both as the anti-social rebel of the early scenes and the sophisticated, seductive young lady of the later ones. There are effective cameos from Anne Bancroft as Amanda, Maggie's tutor in the social arts, and from Harvey Keitel as Victor the Cleaner, the ruthless, deadpan killer called in to "clean up" when one of her jobs unexpectedly goes wrong. There is a larger contribution from Gabriel Byrne as Maggie's handler, Bob, a key role as the relationship between the two is a complicated one. At first Bob is only able to handle her by making veiled (and sometimes open) threats about what will happen if she does not co-operate, but later he grows close to her, almost like a substitute father. (She passes him off to her boyfriend as her uncle). He is sympathetic to her desire to leave her job, but his hands are tied by the attitude of his superiors.
As a thriller, "The Assassin" is a fast-paced and exciting one, but it may also have a deeper significance as a critique of the death penalty. Maggie's development parallels that of Burt Lancaster's character Robert Stroud in "The Birdman of Alcatraz", who also starts off as a vicious, conscienceless killer and gradually grows in humanity There is an obvious irony in the fact that she is sentenced to death for murder and that her life is then spared so that she may commit further murders on behalf of the State that has sentenced her. The further irony is that it is her career as an assassin which teaches her the value of human life. 7/10
This film isn't perfect-I'm the first to admit this. There are so many things that don't make sense. However, I candidly admit that I love this film. Why? Well, it's slickly produced, well shot, juicy, colorful and I can't help but love Bridget Fonda's performance. She just played this part perfectly. Ann Bancroft played her part well too. In fact, all the actors did a good job here. I can't imagine anyone else in those parts. Yes, some of it is unbelievable and hard to swallow but if you just want something entertaining to watch this is good. If you want everything here to make sense or want explanations for every single detail then you will probably be disappointed. So, just watch it and enjoy it for what it is. I can think of MUCH much worse.
This is a very well done action thriller. Instead of crazy stunts and
too much violence - you feel the tension from empathy with the heroine
played to perfection by Bridget Fonda. Bridget is slim and elegant and
the transformation is quite fun to watch. It's like watching a
supermodel action star.
Supporting cast are really well cast. Anne Bancroft makes a brief but memorable appearance. Gabriel Byrne adds some stature. Dermot Mulroney is charming. Harvey Keitel is effectively chilling.
The Nina Simone songs are great background. The score is atmospheric too.
This is a keeper.
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