"Nikita" Is Released

Nikita (re-titled La Femme Nikita in some countries) is a 1990 French action film written and directed by Luc Besson.

Nikita Taylor (Anne Parillaud) is a teenage delinquent and heroin addict who participates in robbing the pharmacy of the parents of a fellow junkie. The robbery goes awry, degenerating to a gunfight with local police during which her cohorts are killed. Suffering severe withdrawal symptoms, she shoots a policeman. Nikita is arrested, tried, convicted of murder, and imprisoned for life, with parole considered after thirty years.

The serpentine plotline of Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita begins its 117-minute slither when punkish, psychotic, and drug-ridden Nikita (Anne Parillaud) fires her gun into a cop's face following the stick-up of a drug store, and is promptly imprisoned. She is thrown into a dank cell, then injected with a substance and told it is a lethal toxin. Instead of dying, however, the comes to in an all-white interrogation room, where French intelligence officer Bob (Tchéky Karyo), informs her that an alternate to execution exists: she can receive covert government training as an assassin. She accepts the bid, is rigorously trained, and later returns to society as a seemingly normal and gentle civilian, but falls in love with a drugstore employee while she's waiting for that first government assignment. The paradoxical concept of a young woman blossoming socially while carrying out cold-blooded murders was downplayed when La Femme Nikita was remade in America as the silly and disappointing Point of No Return, directed by John Badham with Bridget Fonda in the lead. A far less sociopathic TV-series version of La Femme Nikita surfaced on the USA cable network in early 1997. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide