La Femme Nikita (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 11-21-2008, 07:30 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=124726&d=1227121374
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109939&d=1210373637

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

78






Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 1990
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 117 Minutes
Genre: Thriller/Action

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): French/English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean Chinese
Starring: Anne Parillaud, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Tchecky Karyo, Jeanne Moreau
Directed by: Luc Besson
Music by: Eric Serra
Written by: Luc Besson
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 2, 2008







"A new kind of lethal weapon"



Film Synopsis:

Rescued from death row by a top-secret agency, Nikita (Anne Parillaud) is slowly transformed from a cop-killing junkie into a cold-blooded bombshell with a license to kill. But when she begins the deadliest mission of her career only to fall for a man who knows nothing of her true identity Nikita discovers that in the dark and ruthless world of espionage, the greatest casualty of all...is true love.



My Take:

My first experience with this story with 1993’s American Film version Point of no return which starred Bridget Fonda and Gabriel Byrne. I really liked it and thought that the premise, action and characters were excellent. I was intrigued when I found out that this it was based on the French made Nikita or la femme Nikita. I am sorry to admit that I never got around to seeing this film. I tend to like Luc Besson films and own several of them but this one eluded me. My experience with it was very similar to Point of no return in that I thought it did a great job of maintaining the balance between drama, action and suspense. I didn’t feel that anything was lost in translation due to the English subtitles. La femme Nikita is a slick, well written and directed thriller that deserves its status as a classic among genre fans.




Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong violence, language and sensuality.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 74



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692



Video: 82


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

la femme Nikita comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.4 mbps.

Having never seen this film I had no prior reference point for comparison. Its high definition video offered a good amount of appreciable fine detail in close ups and certain wide angle camera shots. The exterior shots of Venice when Marco and Nikita/Marie arrive looked particularly striking with beautifully rendered colors and noticeably crisp surface texture on the buildings, canal and smaller objects within the frame. This was more the exception than the rule as many other longer range visuals didn’t have that level of deep image penetration. Sharpness was good but occasionally inconsistent as the image softened at times. Some of this may be attributable to the photography but perhaps not. Flesh tones were on the milky side but still naturally textured and divergent. Blacks were velvety in appearance and slightly crushed which limited gradational acuity. Shadow detail was similarly effected but to a lesser degree. Some dark backgrounds appeared noisy but it was far from egregious. The video seems to have been artificially sharpened as edge enhancement was noticeable. It is less apparent than what I saw during my review of “The Messenger: The story of Joan of Arc”. Grain is present and somewhat uneven as its structure is more prominent during darker scenes. From what I have read regarding the two previous home video releases on DVD this Blu-ray Disc offers a significant upgrade over them both.

** It should be noted for CIH users that the subtitles fall within the picture and black bar portion of the image.**

The lossless audio soundtrack was rather front heavy and featured distinctive/clear dialogue reproduction and a narrower soundstage. Sound effects sounded dated and lacked the solid dynamic punch of today’s digital movie soundtracks. Surround activity was limited to music score ambience and splashes of spatial cues that didn’t always feel well integrated with the front three channels. Low frequency effects mixed to the subwoofer didn’t provide impact that was notable but there bass present within the mix that supported the film’s active elements.



Bonus Features:


  • (HD)Preview: Sony Blu-ray Disc

  • BD-Live enabled
attachment.php?attachmentid=124853&d=1227281124



Final Thoughts:

la femme Nikita is one of Writer/Director Luc Besson’s best works and is a fan favorite. It spawned an American Film remake and TV series. It took me 18 years to see it but the wait was worth it. I am confident that this high definition Blu-ray release will represent an appreciable improvement over either of the previous home video versions. Sony has opted not to include any bonus features so fans are going to have to decide if this warrants an upgrade. My guess it that diehard fans have already preordered it.




attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 21 Old 11-21-2008, 07:42 AM
 
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Sounds like a disappointing transfer if i'm reading between the lines correctly....The uneven grain structure sounds ominous to my ears and edge enhancement. ( yah i know i am a fussy one at times )

Point Of No Return was marketed in the UK as The Assassin...I thought Bridget Fonda did a good job in that one as did Gabriel Byrne but La Femme Nikita was in my opinion superior and Anne Parillaud was absolutely excellent and i also thought the restuarant scene was more convincing in the original as well as the music score....I think the remake was a little too glossed over at times while the original felt more edgier for want of a better word.

It's a pity Luc Besson no longer makes films and just produces and writes scripts.

This is one of my favorite french films too.....Was this an MGM release but marketed by Sony ?
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post #3 of 21 Old 11-21-2008, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoxyMulder View Post

Sounds like a disappointing transfer if i'm reading between the lines correctly....The uneven grain structure sounds ominous to my ears and edge enhancement. ( yah i know i am a fussy one at times )

Point Of No Return was marketed in the UK as The Assassin...I thought Bridget Fonda did a good job in that one as did Gabriel Byrne but La Femme Nikita was in my opinion superior and Anne Parillaud was absolutely excellent and i also thought the restuarant scene was more convincing in the original as well as the music score....I think the remake was a little too glossed over at times while the original felt more edgier for want of a better word.

It's a pity Luc Besson no longer makes films and just produces and writes scripts.

This is one of my favorite french films too.....Was this an MGM release but marketed by Sony ?

Greetings,

M, it is a Sony release. I think that purists will find it lacking but most will probably find it satisfying by comparison.

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post #4 of 21 Old 11-21-2008, 08:39 AM
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If memory serves me correctly there has always been some sort of issue with the mastering of this film on the 1997 and 2004 DVD releases. Sorry to hear that Luc Besson wasn't involved in the Blu-ray release which could have made it a must-have. I guess I'll just add it to my Netflix queue and have a look myself.

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post #5 of 21 Old 11-21-2008, 11:39 AM
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Previous DVD editions of La Femme Nikita were also infamous for subtitle problems. One release, and I do not recall which, accidentally (or ignorantly) used the hearing-impaired subtitles (which tend to be radically abbreviated versions of what people say) instead of the more artfully-written subtitles (which capture the nuance of what is being said).

This was a sore point because most people prefer to watch La Femme Nikita with the original French audio, and thus the beauty of the English subtitles was very important. It will be interesting to hear whether they did a good job on the English subtitles.
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post #6 of 21 Old 11-21-2008, 11:49 AM
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Here is a link to DVDBeaver's comparison of two of the DVD editions, which has not yet been updated with any BluRay images.

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare7/nikita.htm

You may note that the most recent DVD edition was zoomed in excessively, ruining the composition. Hopefully this BluRay will not have made this same mistake (particularly since tvs are bigger now -- there's no excuse for film transfers to be zoomed in beyond what they were in theatres).
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post #7 of 21 Old 11-21-2008, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Greetings,

I updated the review to mention the fact that the subtitles fall below the picture. This will be important for CIH screen users. Sorry, I had that in my notes but forgot to include it.


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post #8 of 21 Old 11-21-2008, 04:36 PM
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"It's a pity Luc Besson no longer makes films and just produces and writes scripts."

Angel-A was wonderful. A nice, little, black and white film with a nice nod to Leon in it ("stop saying Ok" "Ok").
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post #9 of 21 Old 11-23-2008, 09:43 PM
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I love this movie! I will have to watch it. IMO puts Point of No return to shame.

The French version is more gritty and also more classy. It doesn't have the Hollywood "copy it and make money" feel the remake has.

It takes a lot to portray a vagabond from the streets to a classy assassin and the French movies pulls it off better and a much more believable pace.

Anyway, watch not because its a blu ray, but it is a great film
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post #10 of 21 Old 11-24-2008, 06:58 AM
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My point also, Hollywood copy are far from being as good as original French and this is true for a majority of movies. Hollywood always put too much of superficial, too much explosion and useless effect.

I will have to upgrade my very small DVD collection to BluRay, glad it is small it will cost me less. Not sure this one is a must to upgrade, sadly.
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post #11 of 21 Old 11-24-2008, 01:08 PM
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I thought the Bridgett Fonda remake was kind of fun, in a sort of campy Batman (or maybe Wonder Woman) kind of way. It failed as a drama, but it added some laughs. Even the way it copied parts of Nikita shot-for-shot added to the ridiculousness instead of recapturing what Besson captured.
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post #12 of 21 Old 11-30-2008, 08:50 AM
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There are a lot of fans of the TV series based on this movie as well.

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post #13 of 21 Old 12-01-2008, 11:55 AM
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Are the subtitles DUBtitles that are similar (or exactl like) the English dubbed soundtrack, or are they true subtitles?

It should be easy to tell the difference. Play the dubbed soundtrack, with the subtitles. If they are alike, then it's another fubar for this title.

Hoping for a miracle, as this is one of my all time favorite films.

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post #14 of 21 Old 12-01-2008, 01:45 PM
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Thank goodness! The BluRay screenshots are up at DVDBeaver (see the link above) and the framing of the BluRay is correct! Excellent. Not zoomed in.

Now we just have to cross our fingers about the subtitles. But, one problem fixed, one yet to be known.
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post #15 of 21 Old 12-02-2008, 08:13 AM
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The guy from DVDbeaver got back to me and says that while his French is rusty, the subtitles seem to be an aactual translation and are not dubtitles. They do not follow the dubbed dialogue at all.

So it appears we are in luck.

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post #16 of 21 Old 12-02-2008, 11:05 AM
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Très bien!
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post #17 of 21 Old 12-07-2008, 02:00 AM
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Schweet. Just read this thread and looked at DVD Beaver's web site, the BD seems to be an enough of an improvement over the prior DVDs to justify purchase, IMO.

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post #18 of 21 Old 12-07-2008, 06:33 AM
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Received via Netflix and watched last night. Awesome flick, great transfer! Will definitely purchase.
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post #19 of 21 Old 12-16-2008, 09:37 AM
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Confirmed: The subtitle translation is NOT a simple Dubtitle. It's a more accurate transaltion.

Not perfect according to a French speaking friend of my wife. But "much closer" than the dubbed track.

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post #20 of 21 Old 12-17-2008, 07:42 AM
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Watched it on rental last night...I may have seen years ago. I liked it ok, PQ was fine, although the 80's-ish score took me out of the film a bit.

I love that they used "ain't" in a translated subtitle.

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post #21 of 21 Old 01-30-2009, 08:47 AM
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Just purchased this and watched it last night in French with English subtitles. I then tried watching it in English. The translation changed with many words being softened for public TV broadcast it seemed as all the edgier words were removed or modified. Also the voices lost all their "character". Sure hope people watch it in the native French. LOVED IT!!!
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