Reviews | Written by Andrew Pollard 01/11/2019

LEON: DIRECTOR’S CUT 4K

LEON: DIRECTOR’S CUT 4K / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: LUC BESSON / STARRING: JEAN RENO, NATALIE PORTMAN, GARY OLDMAN, DANNY AIELLO, PETER APPEL / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 11TH

Special Features: Leon – A Ten Year Retrospective / Jean Reno – The Road to Leon / Natalie Portman – Starting Young / Interviews with Jean Reno and Eric Serra

It seems absolutely crazy to think that Luc Besson’s Leon is now celebrating 25 years since its initial release, but it is indeed 25 years and counting since this iconic movie was first released in 1994. To celebrate this landmark, Studiocanal has put together a new 4K release of the director’s cut of Leon.

For those not familiar with Leon, the basic crux of the matter centres on clinical hitman Leon (Reno) and young Mathilda (Portman). After Mathilda’s family are brutally murdered by a rogue and erratic DEA agent (Oldman), the 12-year-old seeks solace with the grizzled assassin and manages to convince Leon to reluctantly train her so that she can take her own bloody revenge. But don’t just simply label Leon as a gun-toting actioner, for Luc Besson crafted something utterly beautiful with this ’94 offering as he explored the relationship and burgeoning bond between the movie’s two protagonists.

Of course, chances are you’ve already seen Leon and are well aware of its charm. In that case, you’re likely wondering just why this new release of a 25-year-old film would be worth your time. Firstly, the 4K restoration makes Besson’s picture look simply wonderful. As for the director’s cut element of this Leon release, this is the same director’s cut first seen in 2004 that adds 23 minutes of footage to the movie. The majority of said footage further shines the spotlight on the moments shared by Leon and Mathilda, which adds a few nice touches to the overall narrative of Leon. Likewise, the special features included here have all been seen in previous releases of the film. That doesn’t mean that they’re not enjoyable, mind, just there’s no new material for long-time Leon fans to sink their teeth into.

Unquestionably, Leon is an absolute masterpiece with some jaw-dropping performances from Natalie Portman, Jean Reno, and a turned-up-to-11 Gary Oldman. Whether you’re rewatching the movie for the hundredth time or checking Leon out with fresh eyes, the film is a classic that still holds up just as a well in 2019 as it did back in 1994. For this new release, it’s the 4K sheen given to Leon that’s clearly the star attraction. As such, if you’re somebody who has yet to really embrace the 4K movement, this release likely isn’t one for you. For those 4K hounds who are looking to expand their collection with a cleaned-up piece of iconic filmmaking, this new release of Leon looks nothing short of stunning.