Jean Reno plays Leon: The Professional, a cleaner or hitman for a mob boss who works and lives a simple life uncomplicated by much until he meets Mathilda.
Film making 24/25
Bonus Features 10/25
Director Luc Besson directed La Femme Nikita and The Fifth Element and now tackles another action film starring Jean Reno and Gary Oldman with Natalie Portman in her first role. Leon is a professional hitman who works for a local drug dealer in New York City who tells Leon that someday he can have all his money from the work he does.
Leon continues to work for drug dealer Tony played by Danny Aiello who tells Leon that his money is safer in Tony’s hands than in a banks and he can have it anytime he wants. Tony keeps Leon busy with job after job but never really pays Leon other than living expenses while Leon cleans up Tony’s competition.
During non working hours Leon lives in a low class apartment among tenants who are also into dirty business dealings and his neighbor ends up getting most of his family killed. Leon’s neighbor cut some drugs he was told to hold for Norman “Stan” Stansfield, a corrupt DEA agent played by Gary Oldman.
While Leon watches the killings through a peep hole in his door the daughter of the neighbor comes home from buying groceries and continues past her apartment to Leon’s. Leon lets her in and watches the killers leave the carnage behind and thus starts a most unusual partnership.
Mathilda convinces Leon to help her learn the art of killing so she can someday kill the people who killed her family. Natalie Portman does an excellent job as a young girl who understands the world she lives in as a new part of it but naïve in adult matters.
Leon is a bit of a simple person and does not show much intelligence other than being the best at what he does and ends up helping Mathilda grow up and get her revenge. Leon is a great film and well worth owning as a permanent part of any action entertainment collection. Leon is well acted, directed and is one of those films where everything clicks and works so well it is a hit.
Leon does kill for his boss and technically for money but after helping Mathilda he ends up doing some justice of his own cleaning up after Mathilda’s family. The film searches the relationship of Leon and Mathilda in a purely innocent fashion as Leon refuses to have a sexual relationship when the child tries to force him.
The film does a great job of showing the low side of crime in a slightly positive manner and how some people are stuck and trying to make the best of their situation. The film does a great job of the emotional side of a hitman when he finds himself unwittingly the caretaker of a child.
Leon is a great film and well worth owning and watching time and again with some great video and audio in Blu-ray for a great entertainment package. Video is a great transfer with good color with great shadow and black detail showing the gritty side of New York.
The blood and gore that is shown quite often is realistic looking and the film has some great outdoor shots as well as the highly detailed indoor scenes. The film looks great with nice looking scenes and great looking video throughout that is the quality you can expect on Blu-ray.
Audio is also nicely done with good positional surround sound from the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound track that is apparent from the very first scene. In the film several times the scenes of fast paced action and killing give the great gunfire effects a real highlight for the audio.
The film is well done for both audio and video with a great attention to detail for both the gritty scenery and the look and feel of the underworld of crime that is Leon’s world. The extras are the only part of the film that is lacking with only a few bonus features added to the Blu-ray edition along with the two versions of the film.
The Blu-ray edition of Leon: The Professional includes the theatrical version and a 23 minute longer version with some added scenes usually dealing with the relationship between Mathilda and Leon. There is a look back at the film after ten years from several of the actors and crew that is okay once and a featurette with Jean Reno and another with Natalie Portman the same ten years later.
The three extras are those one time views and you probably will never look again but it is interesting at least that once. Leon: The Professional is a great movie that is one of those career defining moments for more than one of the actors here.
Leon: The Professional is well worth owning on Blu-ray for the great movie in high definition that is well done all around.