Can you believe it has been 25 years since the immense film that is Leon (in America, Leon: The Professional) was released? Well it is true, and to mark this auspicious occasion Studio Canal are re-releasing the film on DVD, Blu-Ray and 4K.
We were sent the Blu-Ray to take a look-see. You can read our review of Leon here that we did some time ago. It is still an immense story, one of my all-time favourite ever movies, and it ages well, Gary Oldman and Jean Reno’s performances are out of this world and that’s before we get to Natalie Portman, than an 11 and a half year old newcomer.
Whilst this is billed as the directors cut, the truth is it is no different from the 10-year anniversary edition that I also possess, the run-time being the same two hours, 12 minutes a-d 52 seconds.
The extras are also similar: Leon – A Ten Year Retrospective, Jean Reno – The Road To Léon and Natalie Portman – Starting Young, a title which sounds very wrong these days.
There are two new interviews I haven’t come across before, however. The first is with actor Jean Reno. It’s only short, but he talks about making the film, his relationship with Portman and Oldman and how writer and director Luc Besson approaches his work.
The second is with long-time Besson collaborator Eric Serra who composes the music to Leon and to a lot of Besson’s movies. Serra also talks about his collaborative approach with Besson, particularly in the early days of their relationship, and how he approached the music for the film.
Those of you looking to upgrade your favourite French hitman to 4k will need to check it out for yourself, as sadly we weren’t supplied that, but the press blurb does say that’s been done as a brand new 4k restoration, the Blu-Ray appears cleaned up slightly, a few notches and pops seemed missing when we watched them side-by-side.
If you own Leon already and aren’t looking to upgrade to 4k, it’s hard for us to recommend this based on two new interviews and new artwork from French artist Flore Maquin. We’d like to hope the leap to 4k has been done well enough to justify the additional expense.
(Our score is for the Blu-Ray, not the movie)