Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Charlie's Angels vs. Nikita

When I was watching "La Femme Nikita," I thought of "Charlie's Angels" (the more recent version with Cameron Diaz, etc.). I found the story lines pretty similar: a girl gets transformed into a government assassin, lives a double life, is put to a situation where she has to deceive her lover, and faces a dilemma between an ordinary life and a life as an assassin. However, the main difference between "Nikita" and "Charlie's Angels" is that the movies unfold the similar plot in very different moods.

"Nikita" sheds a more sentimental and serious light on Nikita's life; the movie focuses on delivering the process of emotional and psychological change in the main character. Instead of portraying the "hot" assassin with exaggerated fighting skills, the movie focuses on portraying the progress of the main character as a human being. The movie starts with a drug-addict teen who has a very little regard for life and is reckless; then the movie portrays the teen compromising with what is given to her as an only option of life--that is being an assassin--and her emotional vulnerability. The scene where she is watching a movie in her room (full of graffitis on the wall) well-represents her emotions: loneliness, for she is alone in the process of becoming an assassin, as well as helplessness. It also creates or intensifies this barrier around herself when she undertakes her final test at the restaurant. She clearly feels attached to Bob (who is like a father figure and a lover to her); she gets excited and hopeful when he takes her to a fancy restaurant for "dinner" and becomes radiant at the idea that maybe Bob thinks of her as more than an assassin-trainee. However, he lets her down completely, and this leads her to shut herself down completely and give him the "last kiss." She changes with a newfound love, however, and, with this introduction of new emotion, she becomes more stressed out than ever as she tries to balance her life as an assassin and as an ordinary woman in love. The movie does include some of the missions she goes on; however, instead of showing us how complicated the missions are (with savvy weapons, intelligent enemies, etc.) or how "hot" Nikita still can be while being on a vigorous mission, the movie captures Nikita crying--for all of the missions she goes on in the movie.

"Charlie's Angels," on the other hand, unfolds the story with more comical and commercial approaches. The Angels do go through some emotional cycles about having to balance their double lives evenly; however, the movie focuses very little on that part of their lives. Instead, the movie mostly captures scenes where the Angels are showing off their sexual appeals while being on missions. The scene where they disguise themselves as strippers at some Irish bar/club to get what they want is one of the many examples. They use their sexualities and physical superbness as a very natural part of their missions, and even though the movie briefly portrays and does imply the existence of dilemmas that the girls go through (having to deceive their families and lovers to keep them away from the risks of getting harmed, etc.), the most of the attention is on the superficiality that the Angels represent: beauty, sex, and effervescence.

Although "Nikita" had an unsatisfactory ending (ends w/ Bob saying "We will miss her."), I do really appreciate what this movie did with a rather stereotypical hot female assassin storyline. Instead of emphasizing her sexual appeals as "Charlie's Angels" did, "Nikita" was interesting to watch in a way that the movie portrayed as a sentimental character.


  1. I found it very interesting that Nikita wasn't over-sexualized. I kind of expected her storyline to follow the same trend as Charlie's Angels since the introductions were so similar, and because Amande was giving Nikita some sort of "makeup training" at the beginning of the movie. I was surprised and relieved to find that Nikita's femininity wasn't exploited in order to complete her missions (as it always is in Charlie's Angels). But when it comes down to it, the angels used their good looks to get information crucial to their mission. Nikita didn't need information to fulfill her duties to Division. All she did was listen to where they told her to point the gun, and shoot. I think it'd be interesting to see how Nikita would be portrayed if, like the Angels, she had a more active role in the behind the scenes aspects of her mission.

  2. I agree with your opinions on Nikita's positive portrayal, but I disagree with what Katherine said about the ending. Although the final shot of the movie was two men discussing the fate of Nikita without her presence there, I thought it was actually empowering. While the men wanted to "help" her, anything they'd attempt to do wouldn't even affect her. Nikita chose to leave the life she knew on her own and start over, demonstrating immense strength. She left without leaving a single trace, without anyone noticing. The final scene demonstrated not only her ability to out smart everyone and leave without them being able to stop her but also the large affect she had on the men, and their dependency on her.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.