Best in class work here from futon88. Audio quality is perfect. Video is excellent with only very minor color banding a few times. At first I thought removing any of the international cut scenes would be blasphemy. This is actually a stronger story by keeping exactly what the editor retained from the international cut and removing what he did. The hitman, Leon, is now a more mysterious individual and the newly created dreams he has are so beautifully done. The added music for Mathilda is of professional quality with the hand audio ducking and EQ work; the changes work well, improving the scenes, especially the Mathilda hitgirl in training montage. The subtle cuts to the ending make it just right without the odd narratives Luc Besson gets stuck inside. Now that there is an improved, more subtle version of Leon: The Professional I've come to realize how cartoonish and unrealistic the original was. I do highly recommend this edit.
This was great fun to watch. If I had not already seen the film, I would not have known it was a fan edit. The musical choices were fitting and blended in seamlessly. The changes to the story were also seamless, most of which I did not notice or realize until reading the cutlist afterward. I do prefer this version of the plot for its lack of sexual weirdness while retaining everything necessary to fully appreciate the two characters' progression and development.
I would appreciate an alternate audio track without the added music, as these plot changes are worthwhile regardless. I had a great time watching this edit, mostly due to the source material being so good, but this alternate take only enhanced it.
Owner's replyMay 20, 2023
Thank you for this. High praise ("I would not have known...").
I considered creating an alternate version with just Eric Serra's score, but didn't want to muddy the waters by releasing it at the same time.
This edit offers a significantly different experience of a classic in a seemingly almost effortless way. I enjoyed it a lot, despite loving the original (theatrical) cut which I first saw in the cinema when it came out - and watched too many times ever since.
My thoughts in detail:
- The fading out of the first two songs is too abrupt in my opinion. If the original song doesn't have a fade-out at the end, it might have worked trying to make short versions of the songs (ending with the final beat of the song). Or the fade out could have been longer, or it could have transcended into a radio playing somewhere in the building.
- Replacing the Serra score when we first see Mathilda works great. I like Serra's music a lot, but it lacks subtlety, it is sometimes too naive (especially in this scene), and most of all: there's too much of it. I think there are only a few scenes in this movie that actually benefit from Serra's music.
- I would have skipped all scenes in Leon's apartment until Mathilda has entered there (save for the shots of Leon watching Stanfield's thugs). So no Leon working out and walking through his apartment (and also not visiting Tony). The audience's lack of additional knowledge about Leon will only make them identify even more with Mathilda.
- Adding the black and white flashbacks from Nikita would work great in the original version of the film. In this version though, we want to focus on Mathilda. Adding those flashbacks works against that.
- I've always wondered why Besson didn't use music from Beethoven during the massacre (Clockwork Orange, anyone?). Maybe it would have been worth a try?
- The 'Human Behavior' song eliminates too much of the tension during the third act. An instrumental version could have solved that problem, but maybe it would have been better to stick to the original score.
- Good replacement of the Serra score during Leon's final walk.
- Reversing the last shot before the end credits is nothing short of brilliant. Wauw.
Maybe the greatest accomplishment of this edit is proving that the original movie didn’t need those controversial scenes in the first place. ‘Mathilda’ gives the audience as intense an emotional, enjoyable and fulfilling experience as the orginal - just in a different way.
A really enjoyable watch. I actualy believe that it works better than the original now that it is told from Mathilda's point of view. It feels like it has more heart now that it is explicitly her story being told. And the creepy romantic subplot between them is not missed at all.
A special mention for the soundtrack which was great and really fit the story well.
Well done futon88 and ArtisDead! You should team up to make more fanedits like this one.
Like most people interested in this edit, there are a lot of issues I have with the "romance" part of the film. And while I personally do think the extended cut is the better of the two official releases (at least from a plot and character development standpoint), that doesn't mean I can watch the extended edition without feeling icky. I feared there was no way to fix the romance angle without making the film less interesting, but I'm all for the improvement. So when I heard my good friend, ArtisDead, and futon88 were making an edit of this film to address this issue, I knew I couldn't resist. So, what are my thoughts on this edit?
In a word, wow.
Right from the start, it becomes clear that the choice to frame the entire film around Mathilda was a brilliant decision. Opening the film with Mathilda's introduction instead of Leon's was a surprising but welcome improvement. This also means that Leon's job as a hitman is hidden from us at first, making him more mysterious in the beginning. I like this idea, and I think it sets the film up on a stellar note.
I admit that I was worried about the changes in music, as I thought the original soundtrack (mainly the theatrical version) was just fine and never needed to be messed with. But I gotta say that the new music gave the film some added atmosphere that I appreciated. I was also surprised by the added comic relief in this edit, and in a good way, too. And there's something about Gary Oldman's performance that's disturbing as well. He feels way more paranoid, delusional, and unhinged in this edit, and it works. Also, before I forget, I really liked the montage showing Mathilda and Leon's training, and I thought it was edited very well.
If I have any nitpicks (and this is just me being ridiculously critical here), I can only think of one. There is a jump cut that occurs after Leon and Mathilda's first post-family massacre conversation which felt... Off. While I suppose it might work in a Quentin Tarantino film, the effect felt at odds with the style of this particular film. Of course, there's no way I'm going to give a negative review over a small decision like this one, but I think the sudden cut from having music to no music at all doesn't really mesh well for a film like this, at least on a stylistic level. I believe there is another jump cut that occurs later in the film, and my nitpick also applies to it as well.
That exception aside, this is without question my favorite version of Leon (or The Professional. Whichever title works for you). This edit gets a very high recommendation out of me. Thanks again, Futon and Art, for giving this film the cut it deserves.
UPDATE (5-8-23): Well, as it turns out, I owe Futon and Art an apology for the jump cut criticism I made above, because that jump cut was also in the original film. I admit that it's been years since I pulled out my blu-ray, and I assumed wrongly that Futon and Art made that choice. Because my memory is hazy, and I forgot that the film had it. So, I'm bumping my rating up to a perfect 10, as my biggest criticism against the edit is gone now. And it's also my way of saying, "I'm sorry, guys. I screwed up." Have a cookie, and congrats on becoming the first edit I've ever given a perfect 10 to.