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La Femme Nikita Blu-ray impressions


La Femme Nikita, or Nikita to give it its correct title, is a film that I’ve owned on DVD for over a year now. I always intended to sit down and watch it, but, given how atrocious the DVD’s transfer was, I always seemed to come up with an excuse to watch something else instead. Luckily, Sony have now released the film on Blu-ray Disc, meaning that we can now finally throw away our blurry, aliased old standard definition discs. It’s altogether better-looking than Kinowelt’s recent BD of Léon, with a far more natural grain structure, superior detail and considerably less in the way of blown-out contrast. Some of the whites do look a little on the “hot” side, but a comparison with my old DVD revealed that they looked just the same there as well, so I don’t believe any boosting has been carried out - well, no additional boosting, at any rate. In any event, the master is new, judging by the presence of the 2007 Gaumont logo at the start.

By any standards, this is a very good-looking disc. However, when you consider that the source material is nearly 20 years old and the film is slightly more obscure than a lot of the titles being put out on BD, the end results look even more impressive. I was going to say “If you want a catalogue title done right, take it to Sony,” but then I saw Erik’s screen captures of Joan of Arc: The Messenger, another Besson film also released by Sony on the same day, and decided I’d just be embarrassing myself if I said that.

On a semi-related note, can I ask Sony to please stop positioning their subtitles over the letterboxing on their 2.39:1 discs instead of placing them within the frame? This sort of thing basically makes foreign language films unwatchable for those with 2.39:1 displays, and is extremely irritating for the rest of us because it means our eyes are automatically drawn to the black at the bottom of the screen rather than the picture itself.

La Femme Nikita
studio: Sony Pictures; country: USA; region code: ABC;
codec: AVC; file size: 26.4 GB; average bit rate: 32.33 Mbit/sec

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Posted: Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 4:20 PM | Comments: 10
Categories: BD Impressions | Blu-ray | Cinema | DVD | Technology



Mighty impressive to my eyes and no doubt even better when in motion.

Can you make the pictures open in there own window _blank rather than the _parent frame as it says me right clicking to go back to your page each time.

This is a great film and i consider this and Leon easily Besson's best work and The Fifth Element is the most overhyped film ever...That one starts well but loses it as soon as that screeching maniac Chris Tucker is onscreen doing his "comedy act" - Some might love him but i do not and he ruined a potentially amazing film and made it merely average ( in my opinion )

Anne Parillaud is excellent in this film and i love the vampire flick Innocent Blood which was her next film after this one but i doubt that will get an HD release anytime soon.

Posted by: FoxyMulder, December 11, 2008 5:33 PM


I should proof read what i write....says me right clicking should be saves me right clicking.

Posted by: FoxyMulder, December 11, 2008 5:34 PM


To tell the truth, links with the “_blank” attribute are a pet peeve of mine, primarily because I prefer to decide for myself when to open an image in a new window or tab rather than have it determined for me by the webmaster. D’you know that, instead of right-clicking and choosing “Open in new window”, you can simply hold down shift and click to accomplish the same (or Ctrl+click to open in a new tab)?

I wasn’t as taken by the film as you. I did enjoy it overall, but I felt it dragged a little in the final half-hour, and felt a little let down by the ending. Léon, for me, remains Besson’s masterpiece. As for The Fifth Element, I wonder if anyone has ever considered assembling a cut of that film with all the Chris Tucker scenes removed. Anyone willing to attempt such an undertaking would be the recipient of my undying gratitude.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, December 11, 2008 5:49 PM



Agreed, Nikita and Léon both rock and The Fifth Element is definitely overhyped and most of the reason I also dislike it is because of Tucker.

Posted by: Daniel Sardella, December 11, 2008 6:18 PM


THE FIFTH ELEMENT is overhyped? It underperformed at the Box Office and received critical non-acclaim... It has since become a "cult classic" but I don't know if that earns it much "hype" - tricky word, not really one that I'm too fond of, in all honesty. Not an attack, just saying.


"I was going to say "If you want a catalogue title done right, take it to Sony," but then I saw Erik's screen captures of Joan of Arc: The Messenger, another Besson film also released by Sony on the same day, and decided I'd just be embarrassing myself if I said that."

That bad? It appears to be the old master (DVD/Superbit DVD) re-cycled. Looks fine, good even on a more forgiving TV set. Makes one nervous about the much-worse [master for] LON whenever that is due on US BD though, huh? But I hope like with NIKITA Sony knows there's a much larger fan base.

Posted by: Giger, December 11, 2008 6:26 PM


There’s no way the master for Léon is worse, assuming we’re talking about the one used for the Kinowelt release. I admit that I haven’t seen Joan of Arc in action, but, in a side by side comparison of your shots from it and mine from Kinowelt’s Léon, there really is no competition: Léon is the better-looking disc by far. Of course, Nikita trounces them both.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, December 11, 2008 6:31 PM


Bad wording, I meant the infamous master for LÉON used on basically every DVD release around the world for the past 10+ years now, including the US "Superbit" ( The Kinowelt BD I must admit I haven't gotten a chance to watch yet, but I agree that it looks better. You mentioned some soundtrack issues, though, which is why I brought up the someday-release of a US Blu-ray. If that one sucks, I guess it'll at least have better audio and by that time one can sneakily copy and paste audio tracks in some program (US audio over to the Kinowelt image). Erm, just kidding, studios, that would be illegal.

"Of course, Nikita trounces them both."

Yes, agreed.

Posted by: Giger, December 11, 2008 6:52 PM


Ah, I’m with you now. Well, Sony took the time to get a new master for Nikita, so let’s cross our fingers that they do the same for Léon. Besson’s films certainly haven’t got a particularly good track record when it comes to home video releases, have they? Quite apart from the problems we’ve mentioned already in this topic, let’s not forget that The Fifth Element’s initial BD release was the poster child for what not to do in an HD release.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, December 11, 2008 6:55 PM


I assume/hope they will, Sony knows that one's the "big release." Besson joins a long line of filmmakers with problematic home video releases, whenever The Weinstein Company throws ARTHUR (which I recently had captures of on my site) out there, it'll be a cut and sanitized version unlike the uncut French one. Luckily I was still HD DVD "loyal" when the first FIFTH ELEMENT disc was released. NIKITA of course has had framing issues forever, forcing me to buy the ancient Trimark DVD some years back. Oh well. ANGEL-A should be hard to mess up, and hopefully THE BIG BLUE will be treated well by Sony, as well.

On a completely different note: am expecting the new SERENITY BD release tomorrow or Saturday, curious to see how that one fares. Have they used AVC (VC-1 haters everywhere danced in the streets when Universal swapped codecs), etc...

Posted by: Giger, December 11, 2008 7:32 PM


I enjoy both NIKITA and LEON equally.

Michael, I recommend you watch the American remake with Bridget Fonda (which was releases under 30 different titles, but in the UK it is known as THE ASSASSIN) and then re-evaluate NIKITA. I never realized how good Besson's film was until I watched THE ASSASSIN.

Posted by: Marcus, December 12, 2008 2:51 AM

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