June 15th, 2008

What a weird frickin movie. Picture a superhero comic book without the wholesome moral values and you're getting close. It's so strange to imagine that someone would have written and directed this, and just when the actors thought they were way off the mark would have said "yes, yes, that's exactly what I want". That someone is Luc Besson, who's gone considerably more Hollywood since.

So basically we have a timid, illiterate hitman who lives mostly on milk and cookies. Contrary to that whole ninja school of combat, he's not one of those "my body is my temple" types. He has a sort of rugged fitness which is kept in check by doing sit-ups every morning (and the constant milk, calcium mhm-hm). He's probably not very fast on his feet, cause at no point is there any running. His main gimmick is hanging from the ceiling, so that when the bad guys come into the room they don't see him (a poor man's ninja if you will). Oh, and he's the best hitman in town, sublime when on the job (less so off of it).

Not much is known about his past, but apparently he came to America as a poor, helpless immigrant, taken pity on by a generous Italian restaurant owner. All these facts are stretching poor Jean Reno's acting skills to the limit. Reno has a thick French accent with no vocal skills to get around it, how the hell do you claim he's Italian?

Besson makes no effort to justify Leon's career choice. It's not because he grew up in a war torn country, because his parents were killed or because he read too many comic books, he was just poor. And killing seemed as good as anything else, eh? Then again, he does put on those dark sunglasses when he clocks in, no doubt there is a deep and heart wrenching ethical conflict there, but it goes unarticulated. (Personally I would suggest his superego needs a small tune-up.)

And there is a girl. Dad does coke, family gets nailed by bad guys, same old, same old, yadda yadda yadda. Mathilda takes refuge at Leon's, teaches the big bear (or shall I say pig, that's his favorite fluffy pet) to read, he teaches her about guns, the usual story. If you've read this far just to find out if the "I love you"s are forthcoming, they are.

If you like the idea of Reno as a hitman and you want to see him in a far stronger part, check out "Ronin", it's quite good in more ways than one.

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3 Responses to "Léon"

  1. erik says:

    Teaching a hitman how to read, are we the audience really supposed to buy this crap :D

  2. akahn says:

    I wonder if this movie helped put Natalie Portman on the map. All I know is that as a young teenager, I thought this movie was AWESOME. Not sure I'd think so highly of it today.

  3. John says:

    I've heard the director's cut delves deeper into the relationship between Mathilda and Leon. All I know is that I enjoyed the action scenes immensely.

    Ronin is painful for me to watch, containing as it does two of the WORST attempts at Irish accents I've ever heard. Fantastic car chase though.