Film / Nikita

Bob: You died Saturday at 5:00 p.m. The prison doctor confirmed suicide after an overdose of tranquillizers. You're buried in Maisons-Alfort, row 8, plot 30. ...I work, let's say, for the government. We've decided to give you another chance.
Nikita: What do I do?
Bob: Learn. Learn to read, walk, talk, smile and even fight. Learn to do everything.
Nikita: What for?
Bob: To serve your country.
Nikita: What if I don't want to?
Bob: Row 8, Plot 30.

Nikita is a 1990 French film by Luc Besson (director of The Fifth Element). Released in America as La Femme Nikita (just so everyone would understand it is in French).

Nikita (Anne Parillaud) is a young junkie who (along with her friends) holds up a pharmacy and ends up killing a police officer. She's arrested and sentenced to life in prison without parole, but is then given a choice of a new secret life. A life working for a shadowy government agency. She will be taught how to kill, how to be a lady, how to be a spy, all in the service of her country.

Remade in Hong Kong as Black Cat (1991) and in America as Point of No Return (1993) with Bridget Fonda in the Nikita role. There have been two television adaptations so far: La Femme Nikita with Peta Wilson and Nikita with Maggie Q.

Nikita provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Deconstructed. She is nowhere near as badass as she became in adaptations.
  • Anti-Climax: During Nikita's first mission, she's instructed to pose as a maid. Her entire job is delivering room service to the target given to her by a group of imposing agents (and one very nervous hotel manager)... and that's it. After she's done her small job, she goes home. Then a bomb the imposing agents planted in the stuff she delivered blows up the target.
  • Ax-Crazy: Victor the Cleaner. His idea of salvaging an operation gone wrong is simply to shoot as many people as possible. And he only gets worse when he suffers a Villainous Breakdown.
  • Book on the Head: Part of the way the organization teaches Nikita to be a classy lady.
  • Boxed Crook: Everyone who works for Division basically.
  • Cold Sniper: In one memorable scene, Nikita has a conversation with her boyfriend and then carefully snipes a target from within the bathroom of their hotel suite.
  • Deconstructed Trope: Action Girl. Nikita's just a reluctant killer who barely gets through many of her assignments.
  • Determinator: Victor the Cleaner. He doesn't give up, period. Which gets him killed.
  • Disposing of a Body / Hollywood Acid: Victor's initial method of "cleaning".
  • The Dog Shot First: If you just know the TV show, then you'll think Nikita was wrongly framed for murder. In the movie, she isn't.
  • Femme Fatale: Subverted. There are some hints that Nikita might play this role towards Bob and especially Marco, but in the end she tries to keep Marco out of all the trouble, and she's always at the receiving end of misery in her relations with Bob. Come to think of it, Nikita actually never gets to use her seductivity as a weapon, Amande's coaching notwithstanding.
  • For the Evulz: The murder of a cop by Nikita could be attributed to a number of factors, but the manner of the killing in cold blood definitely has shades of this.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Victor the Cleaner
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: A bodyguard in the Kitchen Chase drops a rifle grenade down the muzzle of a breech-loading M203 grenade launcher.
  • Impaled Palm: Nikita does this to a policeman early in the film.
  • Love Redeems: Downplayed, as there's no redemption involved. However, Marco's love for Nikita subtly but profoundly transforms her into a better person than even before she entered an assassin training program.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Played With. At first Nikita comes off to Marco as this, but he quickly becomes frustrated that they're not living a normal, typical life. In the end, he probably influences her more than vice versa.
  • Pistol Pose: One of the posters.
  • Police Brutality: Granted, she did kill one of their officers, so they're going to take it personally.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Victor is such a complete aversion that one can't help wondering how the hell he got to be employed by the government at all.

Alternative Title(s): Point Of No Return