Sunday, August 2, 2009

PLANET GRIFFIN'S Next Top Ten Movies That Move On Paper: Comics Undreamed Of! Pt.14

PLANET GRIFFIN, the alternative pop culture, continues its steady mobbin' towards the end of the Top Ten with a quick trip to 1994 where a hardened Italian hitman is introduced to the one thing that threatened to break him... A genuine friend.



Writer/Director LUC BESSON introduced the world to an action film that's not really an action film... It is, in all actuality, a character study. Recently re-released in it's original uncut goodness on DVD, LEON:THE PROFESSIONAL approached the hitman angle in a completely different direction in the form of Mathilda (introducing NATALIE PORTMAN in her first screen role), a disillusioned 13 year old girl whose family is murdered in a drug deal gone bad by DEA Agent Stansfield (played with loving malevolence by acting chameleon GARY OLDMAN). In her attempt to escape, she runs to the onlt person she can call an actual friend--- the Italian neighbor-next-door, LEON (the role that transformed then unknown french actor JEAN RENO into an international star overnight)... It's only a bizarre twist of fate that Mathilda learns what Leon's day job really is...

The controversy that surrounded this film is also the most heartwarming--- the relationship that forms between the two protagonists. (I mean, the emerging mix of emotions and hormones in the mind of a seriously troubled 13 yr. old clinging to notions of payback, as well as a hitman who's going through his own troubles of loneliness and lovesickness, did stick out first in the minds of many an audience member upon it's initial release...) After rewatching this great movie again, I'll admit the hook caught me again... And for the record, fellow NEXT 100 man JAY POTTS gets the big credit for pushing me to take a 2nd look at this movie for review, which I will say- 'I stand corrected in this listing'... But this story doesn't end there...

I LOVE revenge movies! Love'em! I hope one day they put'em in six pack cans! The only problem in translating revenge films to comics is that once the revenge is carried out, where else can you go?! Since we already know how Leon ends, it's hard to apply that translation without changing the outcome... Or coming up with a new angle. That angle is still being fought on as of this writing.

PLANET GRIFFIN now knows that Luc Besson has finished a FINAL draft of what many have argued as a long awaited sequel long overdue. (The debate has raged on since 1999) Natalie Portman herself has already recently raved about the idea of reprising her role and coming full circle, especially after seeing the possibilities ( see the above Mathilda pic)... Until then, the argument will have to go on a little bit longer.


Jay Potts said...


Thanks for including this one. Now I've really got to see if I can dig up my layouts for "The Professional" story I had in mind so I can do a companion post to this one.
Also, the key pulling off a comic book version would be to NOT focus on the revenge aspect, since, as you pointed out, we know how it ends. The key would be to focus on the relationship, the training and the missions. The international version, "Leon," already showed Leon taking Matilda on assignments, so just expand on that a little. I'd imagine it to be a little like Jason Pearson's "Body Bags," without the rampant misogyny (although I love "Body Bags" anyway). The only liberty you might have to take with the film is the amount of time the two spent together before Leon met his fate.

RodBuddah said...

Oh, I'm all for the human aspect of it... I hate that Stansfield didn't get away (I liked the character)... Maybe we could see a grown Mathilda plooting out missions 'flashbacking' to those days of old--- y'know, back when assassinations meant something;)