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Léon: The Professional

Score: 90%
Rating: Mature
Publisher: Sony Pictures Home
                  Entertainment

Region: A
Media: 4K Blu-ray/2
Running Time: Theatrical Version: 109 Mins.;
           Extended Version: 133 Mins.

Genre: Drama/Action
Audio: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby
           TrueHD 7.1 Compatible), French
           (PAR), Portuguese 5.1 Dolby
           Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French,
           Portuguese, Spanish


Features:

  • Both Theatrical & Extended Director's Cut
  • 10 Year Retrospective: Cast and Crew Look Back
  • Jean Reno: The Road to Léon
  • Natalie Portman: Starting Young
  • Fact Track (Extended Edition)

Léon: The Professional not only helped to establish Jean Reno as a strong actor in America and showed the world that Luc Besson's Nikita wasn't just a flash in the pan, but it also featured a young Natalie Portman in her first role, a role she knocked out the park and kicked off her career. Add Gary Oldman into the mix as a counter to Reno and it's no wonder Léon: The Professional is the iconic hit that it is and worthy of a crisp high-def 4K release.

Léon (Reno, The Da Vinci Code, Godzilla, Mission: Impossible) is a cleaner that works for Italian mobster Tony (Danny Aiello, The Godfather: Part II, Do the Right Thing), and he is very good at his job. He lives a quiet life in an apartment at the end of a hall and he keeps to himself. But when a neighbor's family is gunned down, he finds himself having to choose between letting the family's 12 year-old girl into his apartment (and life), or leaving her in the hall to be discovered and killed. While Léon and young Mathilda (Portman, Black Swan, V for Vendetta, The Star Wars Prequels) have had the occasional conversation in passing, the two don't really know each other, but that all changes when he opens his door.

Mathilda quickly clings to Léon, not only as a father figure, but as something more as she believes she is falling in love with the much older man. She also goads the hitman into teaching her his trade because she has revenge on her mind and will do whatever she can to track down the man who killed her family. She doesn't know much about Stan (Gary Oldman, The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Fifth Element, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) at first, but as she learns more, both Mathilda and Léon quickly realize that the task of avenging her family might not be as easy as the young girl hoped.

Léon: The Professional has two different versions; the Extended Director's Cut adds 20+ minutes to the original Theatrical Release and in that time, the relationship between Mathilda and Léon is made less ambiguous, as well as showing the girl in a more active role during her training as she accompanies Léon on some jobs. It's understandable why these scenes wouldn't have gone over very well in America during the early 90's, and I'm not all too sure if it would have played well to today's audience either, but the Director's Cut has been on shelves for quite some time and the additional scenes really give the overall movie a deeper tone.

The Blu-ray disc is a reprint of the version released in the "Supreme Cinema Series" a few years back. So much so, in fact, that when I was comparing our copy of that release to the Blu-ray disc found in this version, the player didn't recognize them as different discs. This is really only a hindrance if you already picked up that version already. It contains both versions of the film, as well as several interesting special features like a "10 Year Retrospective" where the cast and crew are interviewed about the film, as well as a featurette on Reno and how he came into the role of Léon. There is also a featurette about Portman that talks about casting her and what interesting restrictions her parents put on the film in order to allow her to play the girl.

Unfortunately, there are no new special features included in this release, and from what I can tell, these extras weren't new for the previous version either. All of the special features look to be from about the time of the "10 Year Retrospective" and seem to have been included in every DVD or Blu-ray version that has come out since. So, if you are eyeing this 4K release of Léon: The Professional hoping to get some new insights into this classic, you will be disappointed.

That being said, the visual quality in the 4K version is fantastic and a delight through-and-through. If you are more interested in picking up this movie in order to see it in Ultra HD than in the hopes of new extras, this could be right up your alley. Although gorgeous, I just wouldn't necessarily make Léon: The Professional the deciding factor in whether or not you want to upgrade your entertainment system to the next level just to see Jean Reno and Gary Oldman face off.



-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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