E V E R Y O N E E E E !!!!! (Exactly what I yelled when Gary Oldman won his Oscar). Stansfield & Churchill are his best creations ever: the ultimate bad guy+the ultimate good guy. This is actually based on a true life story. American version was oh so cut cos they're moralistic prudes. Yet I dare anyone to name me one male director that created more empowering female roles than Besson. Mathilda is my forever heroine♡
While not quite up to the standard Besson created with 'La Femme Nikita' this film thanks to some stellar performances is also an action classic. Natalie Portman, in her screen debut, is electric as young Matilda while Jean Reno gives his most iconic turn here. Best in show however is Gary Oldman with a vicious turn as an idiosyncratic corrupt D.E.A. agent. The action scenes are magnificent.
Something of a genre-standard, as it combines intense human intense/moving moments of romance and attraction with graphic bloodshed and tough realities. Jean Reno gives a performance heavily bent on physical prose - moreso than you might've initially noticed - and Natalie Portman foreshadows a long career of emotionally effective roles.
A bona fide 90's classic with inspired acting that reads off the charts and a director in complete control of his craft. Photo and music brings everything home nicely and the plotting, while sometimes familiar, is very good.
Personally, my only "viewing expectations" were of something with a reasonable amount of intelligence and I was completely let down. Everyone overacts, the script is sloppy to the point of idiocy and thematically the damn thing is all over the place. Never let it be said that Luc Besson can't shoot one hell of an action scene, though.