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.