|Leon - The Professional |
Uncut International Version
Actors: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello, Peter Appel
Director: Luc Besson
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Leon, a hitman who thinks of himself as a \cleaner
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Member Movie Reviews
Louisa B. from SN LUIS OBISP, CA
Reviewed on 8/14/2009...
A young Natalie Portman almost steals the movie away from Jean Reno. Excellent acting, well done directing.
2 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Uncut version is worth the price!
Steve | Seattle, WA USA | 08/31/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I own both the US and international versions of this film, and the international edition is much better. Both versions carry a slight sexual tension throughout between Leon and Matilda, and the uncut version is more pronounced in this area, but that isn't the reason to buy it.The extra 24 minutes on the uncut version provides a deeper understanding of the relationship between the two as the film progresses. For example, in the US version Matilda never becomes a real "cleaner" or hitman. It's only hinted at when they shoot a jogger from a rooftop with blanks. In the uncut version, Leon takes her completely under his wing and teaches her the trade, including scenes where the pair run around killing bad guys and such. In the process, Leon teaches her the "ring trick" by tossing a grenade at a victim and keeping the ring and grenade pin in his hand. This scene sets up the final scenes in the movie in a way that the US version left short and unexplained.If you enjoyed the US version, you'll probably love the uncut version more, if only because the characters and their relationships are much deeper."
Excellent, Must-See Film!
Luis Hernandez | New York, New York, USA | 08/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"French director Luc Besson ("The Messenger"; "The Fifth Element") made his U.S. film debut with this intelligent thriller of an Italian hitman who is untouchable. "The Professional" stars Jean Reno ("The Big Blue") who plays Leon, a professional hitman with ninja-like skills, who eliminates rivals for a mob boss (Danny Aiello). After a corrupt cop (Gary Oldman) eliminates the family residing next door due to a drug transaction gone wrong, Leon finds himself the guardian of young Mathilda (Natalie Portman in her screen debut). Taking Mathilda under his helm, Leon teaches her the art of the "cleaner". However, danger lurks around every corner, and Leon must protect Mathilda from the same cops who killed her family. Considered by many to be his masterpiece, "The Professional" was originally released internationally under the title "Leon". However due to the feeling that American audiences might find some material unacceptable, over 24 minutes of the film was edited out. Finally, Columbia/Tri-Star has made an excellent decision in releasing the uncut, international version of this excellent film in the U.S. as it originally was called in August 2000. While the film's central theme revolves around Leon and his job, the subplot where Mathilda develops an attraction for Leon is reminiscent of the novel/film "Lolita". The chemistry between both characters in a father/daughter relationship can be intense, especially as we notice that Mathilda is in her puberty-stage. Jean Reno is excellent as always, and Gary Oldman gives a chilling performance as Stansfield, the wicked DEA officer who murdered Mathilda's family in cold blood. However, the real scene-stealer in this film has to be Natalie Portman. This beautiful young girl radiates beauty and professionalism throughout the film. Her porcelain-looking skin, and her big brown eyes are well utilized in this film, making her character more childish, yet mature to a certain extent. Portman proved to audiences in this film that she was no flash in the pan, and in her subsequent films, she continues to be a scene-stealer. She is truly Hollywood's most gifted young actress.In the international version, most of the 24 minutes that were left out in the film's 1994 release in the U.S. mainly involves both Leon and Mathilda going on "cleaning sweeps" where she gets first hand training in the art of assassination. The other half of these minutes focuses on Mathilda's attraction to Leon. Her persistent attempts to be intimate with Leon all fail, but we finally understand why Leon remains a loner when it comes to affairs if the heart. Some might be uncomfortable about the idea of Mathilda and Leon sharing a bed together, but Besson paints this scene as one involving platonic love and not sex. In wrapping up, I recommend this film for anyone who enjoys a nonstop, high-impact thriller in the same tradition as the "Matrix," "Blade," or "Dead Calm". Luc Besson truly is one of the world's greatest action directors, and "Leon" captures his magic. An excellent, pulstaing film from beginning to end!"
Beautiful Love Story and Action Packed Adventure
Domonic Torretto | 06/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the story of Leon(Jean Reno), the highly efficient contract killer who's known as a cleaner due to his ability to kill you without you ever knowing he's there. He's cold blooded, but at the same time lovable due to his obvious innocence, seen as he affectionatly waters his plant and his love for milk. He lives a loners life until he meets Matilda(Natalie Portman), who was soon to change his life. Luckily for Matilda, she was running an errand for Leon while the corrupt villian and lead antagonist of the movie Normon Stansfield(Gary Oldman), and his group of thugs decide to wipe out her entire family, due to some drugs, which were cut by her father while he was supposed to be just holding them. When Matilda returns, she finds that her family is dead and turns to Leon for help.
When Matilda learns what Leon's trade is, she is intrigued, and convinces the reluctant Leon to teach her the ways of the cleaner. As Leon trains Matilda, their relationship grows, and to the dismay of Leon, she develops a crush on him, while at the same time he develops a paternal love for her. This is a great movie, from the action packed beginning, to the thrilling climax. I definately feel that the uncut DVD version is better than the original version. It let's you see more deeply into the relationship between Leon and Matilda, and you get to see more of the "training" scenes, which show how Matilda develops from an unknowing child to a novice cleaner. I'd also like to say something to the prudes out there that feel the relationship between Leon and Matilda is perverted. You see it as a sick man trying to take advantage of a young girl, but if you recall, it was Matilda who continually came on to Leon. Leon clearly tells her in one scene that a sexual relationship is not possible. And even then, it should be clear to anyone that Leon loves Matilda in a way that a father would love his daughter. I can clearly see this and I'm only 14. Apparently, there are a lot of low IQ people out there. The UNCUT, INTERNATIONAL version is the way to go if you want to see a more meaningful, touching movie. I'm a very cold person at heart, and this is the only movie I've ever watched that made tears swell up in my eyes. It's the greatest movie I've ever seen. It features a brilliant cast, and a touching, and very unique storyline."