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The Professional (Le Professionnel) [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)

Jean Reno , Gary Oldman , Luc Besson    Unrated   Blu-ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (325 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 19.99
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Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) made his American directorial debut with this stylized thriller about a French hit man (Jean Reno) who takes in an American girl (Natalie Portman) being pursued by a corrupt killer cop (Gary Oldman). Oldman is a little more unhinged than he should be, but there is something genuinely irresistible about the story line and the relationship between Reno and Portman. Rather than cave in to the cookie-cutter look and feel of American action pictures, Besson brings a bit of his glossy style from French hits La Femme Nikita and Subway to the production, and the results are refreshing even if the bullets and explosions are awfully familiar. --Tom Keogh

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Natalie Portman in her best role! July 16 2004
By A Customer
I don't usually like to watch movies about hit men or cops and robbers. I remember I got interested in this movie because of two things: Luc Besson's movie the Fifth Element, which was so wildly different and fascinating that I wanted to see what else this French director had done; and secondly, seeing Natalie Portman for the first time in the Star Wars: Phantom Menace movie.
Behind all of the dense make up and bad script and horribly non-existent directing from George Lucas in Phantom Menace, I sensed in Natalie Portman one heck of a terrific young actress struggling to come up with a meaningful performance. In "Leon - The Professional", working with a superb director, her acting talent is on full display.
When one thinks of modern day child actors, Anna Paquin comes to mind, in "The Piano", because she aced out some terrific adult actresses in 1993 to win the Oscar. Well, Natalie Portman, at age 12, had Anna Paquin beat by a mile in this movie, since her character takes up about half of the movie. If not for the truly unusual and off-beat story line of this movie, Portman would have gotten a lot more attention for her role in this movie, I think.
If you just focus on Portman's facial expressions and the way she carries herself in this movie, she goes through an amazing acting range in this movie, from hurt, terrified, bored, stuck up, cool and calculating, manipulative, sweet, child-like, and pubescent sexual allure.
As mentioned by other reviewers, the uncut version restores scenes that basically give a harder edge to Natalie Portman's character. The additional scenes of her assassin training with Leon and her efforts to attract and get closer to Leon definitely put her character in a harsher light. I remember from my first viewing of the cut U.S.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Portman shines in an early role Feb. 29 2012
By Steven Aldersley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Leon: The Professional (1994)
Crime, Drama, Thriller, 133 minutes (extended version)
Directed by Luc Besson
Starring Jean Reno, Natalie Portman and Gary Oldman

Leon (Reno) is good at one thing: killing people. In other matters he's almost like a child. He can't read or write and he barely has enough skills to look after himself. He lives in an apartment building and hides away when he's not on a job.

Leon's neighbors include 12-year-old Mathilda (Portman), who lives with her drug-dealing father. When a corrupt cop (Oldman) murders her father and the rest of the family, Mathilda turns to Leon for help. This is where things start to get interesting. Although she's 12, Mathilda has more of an idea of how to survive in the real world than Leon. She offers to take care of him in return for protection and shelter. She also wants to learn how to kill people.

The premise is so unlikely, but it works. Leon teaches Mathilda the tricks of his trade. Some might find it inappropriate to watch a 12-year-old girl dealing with material of this nature, but Portman is superb in her first full-length feature. The two develop believable chemistry and love each other in some ways. The only other thing that Leon cares about is his beloved potted plant. The two are continually on the move to stay safe, so it's not much of a life for a young girl.

The movie works because of the strong relationship between Leon and Mathilda. It's interesting to watch her train and see the bond deepening between the two. Revenge is always on her mind and she tries to persuade Leon to kill the men responsible for murdering her family. The final showdown is intense and contains a lot of action for fans of that genre.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Yes to Leon April 15 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Fantastic movie. Great chemistry between Leon & Matilda ( although the relationship feels a bit creepy at first ). I HIGHLY recommend
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gary Oldman!!! Jan. 22 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
There are many great villains in film history, but Gary Oldman's performance in 'The Professional' ranks right up there with the greatest! A very well done action movie that boasts great performances down the board!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Determinedly odd, over the top and a lot of fun Dec 21 2013
By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER
Determinedly odd, over the top and a lot of fun., This strangely sentimental, wonderfully photographed, very violent black comedy is like
some demented marriage of a sincere Disney film about a 12 year old girl looking for a father (or, in an intentionally disquieting French
twist, a lover), with the over the top darkness of David Lynch, or Kubrick in his "Dr. Strangelove" mode, and some John Woo action
thrown in for good measure.

Sound weird? Well, it is, and there are some huge logic jumps and gaping plot holes. But the film disarms those potential problems by
never pretending to be the world as we know it, but creating a heightened, strange, through- the-looking-glass reality where hit men
are sweet softies at heart, and New York cops are not only corrupt but openly bat-sh@t insane, gunning down whomever gets in their
way with gleeful abandon.

Gary Oldman goes way, way over the top as the baddie, and is a blast in the process. Jean Reno creates some real pathos in his sad faced,
killer, who is so alone that he's almost child-like in his having to learn to relate to another human, and Natalie Portman gives a shockingly
complex performance for an actress so young, playing so tricky a role. A film I could understand someone hating if they didn't get into
Besson's decidedly off-beat vibe, but if you go with it, it's that rarest of film creatures, something unique.

The blu-ray looks great provides both the theatrical and extended director's cut and has some solid bonus features besides.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Professional
This is a great little film with a stellar cast - Jean Renoir, Gary Oldman and a wonderful Natalie Portman in her first movie role. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Catherine A. Rawley
4.0 out of 5 stars Leon the Professional
Luc Besson makes an interesting film on the strange relationship between a little girl and an assassin. Full of twists.
Published on April 11 2010 by Jacques Liard
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece
This is literature on celluloid. The music is top notch too. I recommend only the so-called "International" (deluxe) version, or as Besson calls it, the "long" version. Read more
Published on Oct. 26 2008 by Doug the Pilot
1.0 out of 5 stars painfully slow with stilted dialogue
this movie was a real drag.i found it dreary and depressing and
agonizingly slow.Jean Reno plays the title character Leon. Read more
Published on Aug. 18 2007 by falcon
5.0 out of 5 stars Got Milk?
There's hardly anything I can say that will do justice to the splendor of 'Leon - The Professional'. The insanity of both the action sequences and Gary Oldman's performance... Read more
Published on July 6 2004 by Welt
4.0 out of 5 stars Great cinematic masterpiece
Published on June 29 2004 by Nick Rocco
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!!!
This film is one of my absolute favorites. I've never once watched it without being engrossed (and without crying, at least once). Read more
Published on June 3 2004 by "missmay80"
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense Thriller that Never Fails
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. Read more
Published on May 16 2004 by Denny Vu Quach
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