Leon The Professional
LÉON was released before Luc Besson’s major Hollywood hit, THE FIFTH ELEMENT. I honestly don’t think this film ever got the applause it truly deserves. The only people who know this film actually exists are its hardcore fans. I had never heard of it until a friend of mine introduced me and I can now see why this has a huge cult following.
LÉON has an excellent story to it and some great action scenes as well. The film, made in 1994, stars Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, and a young Natalie Portman. The film was well-received upon its release in cinemas.
Léon (Jean Reno) is an Italian immigrant who fled Italy after having committed a crime there. He now resides in New York City and is working for “Uncle” Tony as a professional hitman. Léon lives with his plant in a small apartment in the city, next door to a girl named Mathilda (Natalie Portman) who he speaks to on occasion. Her father is a drug dealer working for a corrupt cop called Stansfield (Gary Oldman). One day while she is out shopping for her family, Mathilda comes back to the apartment to find that a drug deal has gone sour and her entire family has been killed. In shock that the killers are still in her apartment, she proceeds to the end of the corridor to Léon’s apartment and knocks on the door in hopes that he will open it and save her life. Léon lets her into his apartment, but he does not realize that he is letting her into his life as well.
Mathilda soon discovers that Léon is a professional hitman. As soon as she finds this out, she begs him to teach her how to kill so she can get revenge on her family’s killers. The story continues along this theme and shows how a man who had nothing begins to feel for a little girl; how he comes to her rescue to save her. Will Léon and Mathilda live happily ever after together?
ULTRA HD BLU-RAY 4K VIDEO:
LÉON‘s 4K Blu-ray debut is as professional as its title implies. The 2160p with HDR transfer is quite impressive; the blacks are deep, the colors are vibrant, the flesh tones are true to life, and the overall image is sharp. It’s a near perfect transition that looks fantastic. The gritty New York setting was a perfect choice for the story and is really brought to life, particularly in the sniping scene where Léon and Mathilda set up a sniper’s nest overlooking Central Park with the cityscape towering over them. Director Besson has a way of capturing the vast beauty of New York while contrasting it with the tight, claustrophobic spaces that exist within.
Like Léon himself, this soundtrack kicks ass and takes names later. The Ultra HD Disc provides Dolby Atmos and compatibility for Dolby True HD 7.1 while the Blu-ray disc is that of the predecessor disc; a DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack makes every crack of a gunshot or explosion tear through your living room, making you feel like you’re the one being hunted down. The atmospheric city sounds are also represented nicely and the dialogue levels are well balanced which is nice considering Léon has a tendency to talk in whispers most of the time. All-around great Audio for all discs.
SUPPLEMENTS & PACKAGING:
Release copy as of writing comes with a slipcover sleeve. Below are extras.
Jean Reno – The Road To Léon: Interview with Jean Reno about his role in Léon and flashbacks about the character and how he got the part.
Look Back: This is a general making-of featurette that gives you an insight into each character and the plot of the film. It also includes interviews with actors Jean Reno and Natalie Portman.
Natalie Portman – Starting Young: An in-depth interview with Natalie Portman about her role in the film and how she got it.
Trailer: A trailer of the film’s theatrical release in 1994.
Léon is a great action movie and is much underrated. The film will take you deep into each character and give them each time to develop. Luc Besson has done a very good job directing this movie and it has to be one of the best films he has made. It is a little unknown to some people, so I feel more marketing could have been done for the film, but anyone who has seen this movie before knows it is a gem in disguise. Great Ultra HD with HDR and wonderful audio tracks make this THE version of LÉON: THE PROFESSIONAL to own.