(aka "Leon" or "The Cleaner " or "The Professional ")

directed by Luc Besson
France / USA 1994

History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. So, apparently, do the films of Luc Besson. In 1992 he made "La Femme Nikita," which in its cold sadness told the story of a tough street girl who became a professional killer and then a civilized woman. Now he has made "The Professional," about a tough child who wants to become a professional killer, and civilizes the man she chooses as her teacher.

Besson seems fascinated by the "Pygmalion" story, by the notion of a feral street person who is transformed by education. He crosses that with what seems to be an obsession with women who kill as a profession. These are interesting themes, and if "The Professional" doesn't work with anything like the power of "La Femme Nikita," it is because his heroine is 12 years old, and we cannot persuade ourselves to ignore that fact. It colors every scene, making some unlikely and others troubling.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert's review at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 14th, 1994 - France

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 Comparison:

Columbia Tri-Star Home Video (Deluxe 2-Disc Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Columbia Tri-Star Home Video (Uncut International Version) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Paramount (both cuts) - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Sony (both cuts) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Enrico for the DVD screen captures !

1) CTS (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) CTS "International" version - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Paramount (both cuts) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Sony (both cuts) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Columbia Tri-Star Home Video -

Region 1- NTSC

Columbia Tri-Star Home Video -

Region 1- NTSC

Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:12:44  2:12:44

Original: 1:50:20.530

International: 2:12:52.422

Original: 1:50:20

International: 2:12:52

Video

2.29:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.91 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.29:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.22 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,681,274,384 bytes

Original:

Feature: 20,719,626,240 bytes

Video Bitrate: 16.14 Mbps

International:

Feature: 20,496,924,672 bytes

Video Bitrate: 15.85 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,340,588,245 bytes

Feature (seamlessly branched): 39,050,803,200 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.55 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

CTS Deluxe

Bitrate:

 

CTS Inter.

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Original

 

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

International

 

 

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

Sony (US)

 

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1) English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby)

Original: DTS-HD Master Audio French 3502 kbps 5.0 / 48 kHz / 3502 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Audio English 3840 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3840 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

International: DTS-HD Master Audio English 3513 kbps 5.0 / 48 kHz / 3513 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit) 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 5829 kbps 5.1 / 96 kHz / 5829 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 2642 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2642 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Portuguese 2631 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2631 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, None English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, None French, None English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Columbia Tri-Star Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.29:1

Edition Details:

• Featurettes on Disc 2:

  • 10-Year Retrospective

  • Jean Reno: The Road to Leon

  • Natalie Portman: Starting Young

DVD Release Date: January 11th, 2005
Double slim keep case inside cardboard box
Chapters: 28

Release Information:
Studio: Columbia Tri-Star Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.29:1

Edition Details:

• 4 trailers (Leon and 3 other Besson films)

• International Ad Campaigns

• Isolated Musical Score

• Talent Files

 

DVD Release Date: October 3rd, 2000
Keep case
Chapters: 28

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,681,274,384 bytes

Original:

Feature: 20,719,626,240 bytes

Video Bitrate: 16.14 Mbps

International:

Feature: 20,496,924,672 bytes

Video Bitrate: 15.85 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• 2 trailers (original and French)

• Calibration tests

 

Blu-ray Release Date: June 11th, 2009
Light cardboard
Blu-ray case
Chapters: 22 + 25

Release Information:
Studio:
Sony

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,340,588,245 bytes

Feature (seamlessly branched): 39,050,803,200 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.55 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• 10 Year Retrospective: Cast and Crew Look Back (25:10 in SD)
• Jean Reno: The Road to 'Léon' (12:26 - SD)
• Natalie Portman: Starting Young (13:51 - SD)
• FACT TRACK
• Trailers
• BD-Live

 

Blu-ray Release Date: November 17th, 2009
Standard
Blu-ray case
Chapters: 22 + 25

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Sony - Region FREE Blu-ray - November 09':

Not much more to say - the Sony is seamlessly branched (both versions available) and hence is able to utilize more of the disc space - giving a superior bitrate. It still has the greenish/yellow cast but is a shade tighter, with richer detail and is better in motion.

Audio - "Thought the Sony was the best all around with a booming bass; but the French sound seemed to have a better mid range (unless it was just louder)..."
"...sounds great in this Sony release, with 5.1 bass power in both long and short versions. The Sony has a slight improvement in color fidelity. Both great with Sony the winner." (Thank Lynn!)

The Sony offers optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

Supplements - we get the 'fact Track' from the 2005 CTS DVD and the 50-minutes worth of three SD featurettes. The Sony Blu-ray is also BD-LIVE functional.

It's fairly obvious that the region free Sony is the way to go on all fronts. Recommended!

 - Gary W. Tooze

***

ADDITION: Paramount - Region FREE Blu-ray - June 09': Strangely, although this Blu-ray contains both version of the film (original and international cut) it is NOT seamlessly branched. Despite this the image quality of the two versions has few differences although (unusual again) the shorter, original, version has the minutely larger file size. I'm also a bit surprised that Paramount have made this "Region FREE" as identified by my Momitsu and there are no mandatory French subtitles. You may choose original English in a DTS-HD track for both versions.

While this is all great news - I'm a bit perplexed by the image quality. Although I haven't seen Leon theatrically I have trouble believing that the image is was originally this yellow. Black levels are much darker to an almost artificial appearance, but it wasn't excessive edge enhancement I see - but moiring and some blown out bright spots. It's a bit frustrating as detail is improved and the image now shows some depth that wasn't present on the flatter DVDs. Despite my stated reservations - it did look much better than I have seen before in my home theater although glossier than I would appreciate. It also seems marginally cropped (edges) next to the DVDs. I'd like to reserve further comments on the image until I do some research or hear from others who may have seen it theatrically. For all I know this image may be an accurate representation and possibly as good as it can look in digital. The look is consistent in both versions but a bit head-scratching.

Both version's English audio, DTS-HD Master tracks, are impressive at over 3500 kpbs. They carry some heavy weight as the film is very dependant on the audio in establishing the mood - suspense and thrills. The mix can get quite boisterous and aggressive with noted separations. There are optional French subtitles, but no extras beyond two non-anamorphic trailers and a calibration test for audio and video.

This doesn't seem like ideal authoring without seamless branching since by joining the two versions you could improve the overall visual quality (better compression and higher bitrates). Both 'original' and 'international' take up over 20 Gigs each. This is space that could have been used for the betterment of the appearance or supplements. Still it looks superior in detail and depth as compared to the DVDs, plus the bombastic audio track give it a highly memorable presentation through Blu-ray  

 - Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE DVDs: I don't see any large distinguishing differences in the image quality of these two DVD editions. Colors are a shade more red (and brighter) in the older "international uncut" version, but it is negligible. It should be noted that although the older edition was advertised as "24 minutes longer etc." - the new Deluxe Edition is also the "international uncut" version. The only real differences aside from the extra disc of featurettes in the Deluxe edition is the DTS track added to the newer release. Not being a huge fan of the film I personally do not think it is worth the upgrade and feel it is a bit of a scam. Subtle changes with new marketing labels (ex. in the older release "uncut - international blah blah blah", "Deluxe" for the newer) especially when differences in image are so minute and as we have stated in our past review this Deluxe Edition is far from a stellar release (i.e. frames not transferred individually, not from HD source etc.). So CTS slapped on a DTS track, threw in a 2nd disc of featurettes, new but not improved telecine transfer and repackaged it to get your hard earned dollars... again! Our suggestion is "don't bother" and for CTS to treat their customers with a little more respect in future.

 

I guess my big gripe here is "don't create a Deluxe edition" and then not improve upon and image that needs improvement! 

 - Gary W. Tooze

NOTE: Important note regarding the international DVD release version. The first release had a problem with the lfe channel and was later fixed by Columbia. To see if you have the fixed or broken DVD just check the spine number on the cover:

broken - 04730
fixed - 06196


DVD Menus 


(CTS (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. CTS "International" version - Region 1- NTSC - RIGHT)


 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample (can't obtain subs for Blu-ray yet!)

 

1) CTS (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) CTS "International" version - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Paramount (international cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Sony (international cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

NOTE: NOT exact frame!


 


Screen Captures

CTS Deluxe edition - Region 1 - NTSC and Sony Blu-ray  (FACT TRACK SAMPLE)

 


 

1) CTS (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) CTS "International" version - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Paramount (original cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Paramount (international cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Sony (international cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) CTS (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) CTS "International" version - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Paramount (original cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Paramount (international cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Sony (international cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) CTS (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) CTS "International" version - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Paramount (original cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Paramount (international cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Sony (international cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) CTS (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) CTS "International" version - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Paramount (original cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Paramount (international cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Sony (international cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) CTS (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) CTS "International" version - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Paramount (original cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Paramount (international cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Sony (international cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Columbia Tri-Star Home Video -

Region 1- NTSC

Columbia Tri-Star Home Video -

Region 1- NTSC

Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Sony Blu-ray

Sound:

Sony Blu-ray

Extras: Sony Blu-ray

 


 


 

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