1st January 2000
Mathilda lives in the next flat to Leon with her brutal drug dealing father, a step mother and sister who hate her and her doting four year old brother. One day Stansfield, a corrupt cop turns up at the door wanting to know if Mathilda's father has cut his drugs. Her father says he hasn't, but when he fails to tell Stansfield who has got the drugs, he and everyone bar Mathilda are murdered.
Mathilda is devastated, but only for her innocent four year old brother and enlists the help of Leon to train her in the ways of "cleaning" or assassination to the rest of us. Leon is at first reluctant, but Mathilda grows on him and he eventually agrees to train her.
This is a fantastic film, and in my opinion it is still Besson's best work, and that includes The Fifth Element, Reno is excellent as the quiet assassin, Leon and those of you who have seen Star Wars - Episode One (who hasn't?) may recognise a very young Portman as being none other than Queen Amidala. As usual, Oldman plays a nutter....Typecast or what!? A stand out moment for me was when Leon drops from the ceiling space hinging on his knees, kills about 5 crack police and then pulls himself back up effortlessly!
The picture is excellent, with no visible artifacting and only a bare amount of outlining in a very few scenes. Indeed, the bit rate was surprisingly high for such a low profile release. The sound is a slight letdown, with the surround channels only being brought into use sporadically for gunshots and explosions. The dialogue however was pretty clear.
The extras are the only thing that lets the side down here, there aren't any! This is a shame, because a photo gallery would have been super with a film such as this. So, a superb film, with a very good transfer but let down by the extras. I'd still say buy it though, just for the content of the film.