Last week French Filmmaker Luc Besson released a visually stunning trailer for his next movie, Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets. It’s a big-budget science fiction movie born from a relatively unknown source material French graphic novel Valérian and Laureline. Valerian is written, directed, and produced by Besson, so it’ll be different from the usual generic studio output. This doesn’t guarantee a great film, but it does guarantee a memorable one. Besson is an action movie director who does things with a bold signature.
Valerian isn’t due out until July 21, 2017, so until then get familiar with the best films from Luc Besson.
Nikita – 1990
You may know the recent CW Nikita TV show or the film Point Of No Return in the mid-90s or the 90s TV show La Femme Nikita. All of those were revamps of Luc Besson’s 1990 French hit Nikita. A shadowy organization recruits a young, drug-addicted girl and trains her as an elite assassin. Besson’s style shines in this film which is grittier than any of the reboots.
Leon: The Professional – 1994
Jean Reno (who was also in Nikita) stars as Leon, a professional assassin living a solitary life in New York. Gary Oldman is an unhinged and corrupt drug enforcement agent. Natalie Portman makes her film debut as Leon’s protege Mathilde. The Professional is a stylish thriller with heart. And now that I think about it why not reboot it with a grown up Mathilde played by … Natalie Portman!
The Fifth Element – 1997
Besson’s best-known film, The Fifth Element is quirky, and weird, and likely a good indicator of Valerian’s vibe. Bruce Willis is a taxi driver in a super-high-tech future world that regulates smoking and features flying food carts. The Fifth Element brought the world Leeloo cosplay, alien opera singers, and Gary Oldman with a funky hair-do. It’s one of the more original scifi films of the last 20 years.
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adéle Blanc-Sec – 2010
After a bit of a slump during the early 2000s, Luc Besson returned to fantastic form with The Extraordinary Adventures of Adéle Blanc-Sec. Based on a French graphic novel of the same name, the film follows several characters through paranormal and science fiction adventures in 1912 Paris. Arguably Besson’s best film, it’s live action, and computer animation blended into an inventive, funny adventure.
Lucy – 2014
Black Widow’s alter ego is Lucy, a drug mule who receives a massive overdose that ends up turning her into a God. Scarlett Johansson stars in another of Besson’s stylish, off-beat action movies. It lacks the tension of The Professional or the imagination of The Fifth Element, but Lucy is still a fun cinematic ride with a super-powered female lead who might be the most powerful super-powered movie character ever.