Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday Movie Day Reviews

La Femme Nikita (1990): French filmmaker Luc Besson's first major hit is a rarity: an action film focused more on story and character development than gunfights and explosions. A young woman imprisoned for the death of a policeman gets a second chance at life by getting a new identity and training as a government assassin. The woman, Nikita, undergoes a dramatic transformation from a violent drifter to elegant, charming, and intelligent.

It's like My Fair Lady meets The Bourne Identity.

The film is remarkable in maintaining its intensity while having a limited amount of actual action sequences. The few shootouts are fast, fierce, and quite violent. Nikita manages to keep her feminine charm and fragility while also gunning down shady bigwigs in elegant restaurants. After all her training is done and she's let out into the world, she falls in love with an ordinary grocer. Their simple life is constantly interrupted by her assignments. In one moment, she's a lighthearted young girl in love; in the next, she's assembling a large sniper rifle in the bathroom. One can imagine the pressure to keep both lives separate.

The concepts of transformation and redemption are powerful themes in Scripture, and Nikita's is truly a conversion story. Everything about her changes, from her appearance to her demeanor. She is given a sense of a hope, a new start, a second chance. Sadly, the new life she is given is one filled with tension, violence, and fear. Yes, she does have her fiance and the simple life they lead. But the facade has to come down eventually, and she is forced to choose one life over the other.

Nikita is an intense and engaging action thriller that both my wife and I enjoyed. If you're an action movie fan, this is one to check out.

Tootsie (1982): Dustin Hoffman as a woman and Bill Murray as his roommate. That's funny. Enough said.

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