Leon: The Professional

What Jesse said:

I can’t believe you still haven’t seen this 90’s classic! Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Jean Reno… Awesome performances by all these fine actors in a movie that’s all about delivering a fun kick-ass ride. I enjoyed this one very much when it came out and I would rank it as one of my top all-time favorite action flicks. Now drop whatever you’re doing and go watch it!

Mike’s verdict:

What’s with Jean Reno and movies where his character has to protect a teen girl? Leon: The Professional and Wasabi are not the same movie, but they’re awfully similar. In the former, Reno is a good bad-guy protecting a little girl who lived down the hall; in the later Reno is a bad good-guy protecting a daughter he didn’t know he had. In both there is a lot of punching and kicking and grown man / little girl tension.

Leo the Pro is a pretty standard action flick with a very familiar group of characters. It isn’t a bad movie, but it isn’t really notable either. It’s the kind of movie that has its few naughty words muted so it can be shown on basic cable at 2pm on a Sunday. Reno’s performance is not as awesome as Jesse pretends, but it’s okay. I’ve never met Reno, but I’d be willing to bet that in real life he’s exactly the same temperament that he portrays in every movie.  My immediate impression in the opening scenes was that this film seemed like is was going to be a comedy.  Then about 5 minutes in I was quite certain it was a comedy. But by the 30 minute mark I had realized that I wasn’t supposed to be laughing.  Natalie Portman is most definitely not awesome either, but she was only 12 in 1994 and has since done much better work so I think she can be forgiven.

The runaway star of the show is actually Gary Oldman. He is absolutely fantastic as a crazy bad guy. In fact, I’m pretty sure that Heath Ledger took Oldman’s performance in this movie as a basis for his legendary portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight.

This film isn’t really anything. But Oldman’s performance is so good that it’s worth watching at least once.

6.5/10

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