The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 1990
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 117 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
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"
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 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.
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)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
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.
- (HD)Preview: Sony Blu-ray Disc
- BD-Live enabled
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.
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JVC DLA-RS1x 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package