Leon: The Professional (1994) d: Luc Besson
Every so often an action film comes along that looks at the action genre in a different way but still functions within the lines and gives you the thrills. 'Leon: The Professional' is one of those films. Written and directed by Luc Besson it is a great story of a hitman (Jean Reno) befriending a young girl (Natalie Portman in her first role) and then taking her in after her family is slain by corrupt DEA cops led by the always awesome Gary Oldman. It has a great visual sense without ever going overboard. In some ways an old fashioned style with a modern sensibility. The extended cut goes a little further in areas that I can understand why at the time were trimmed for the US cut. I remember seeing this in the theatre when it came out and was extremely impressed by it. Much like when I watched my first John Woo film a few years prior it reintroduced me to the action genre in a new light which you can't help but be grateful. I know I am.