Hollywood remake of Luc Besson's French thriller, 'Nikita'. Young punk Maggie (Bridget Fonda) kills a cop in a bodged robbery, but instead of being sent to the chair, is reinvented as a ruthless assassin, tutored by her government agent mentor Bob (Gabriel Byrne). Released into the community, she finds love with her Californian apartment's caretaker (Dermot Mulroney), but her professional obligations increasingly threaten to destroy her happiness. Harvey Keitel makes a cameo appearance as a ruthlessly efficient 'cleaner', not dissimilar to the one he plays in 'Pulp Fiction'.
This is one of those Hollywood remakes of a European hit in which one can visualize a committee of studio executives sitting around and saying, "Okay, we know what made the original film unique and different and fun. How can we make that same movie and do exactly the opposite?" For-hire director John Badham (Saturday Night Fever
) took La Femme Nikita
, Luc Besson's undeniably sexy, original, and kitschy French film about a female assassin, and translated it into The Assassin
, a calculating, mechanistic American thriller with no distinctive style. Bridget Fonda gamely plays the willowy street punk who becomes a high-society killer, but once that provocative irony is in place, the movie is pretty much a series of by-the-numbers action set pieces. Until, that is, Dermot Mulroney shows up as a love interest; but even that twist can't save this film. You're much better off with the original, subtitles and all. The DVD release has optional full-screen and widescreen presentations, production notes, theatrical trailer, optional French and Spanish soundtracks, and optional English, French, and Spanish subtitles. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com