Point of No Return

1993 Directed by John Badham. Starring Bridget Fonda, Gabriel Byrne, Dermot Mulroney, Anne Bancroft, Harvey Keitel.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., March 26, 1993

Unlike another recent European remake which shall remain nameless (The Vanishing), John Badham's American take on Luc Besson's 1991 La Femme Nikita not only manages to maintain the stylistic and thematic intensity of the original, it also paves over a few of the more inexplicable plot holes of its precursor. Bridget Fonda takes up Anne Paurillaud's role as a murderous junkie recruited by the Government and given the option of death for her crimes or rebirth as a deep-cover assassin. Fonda may not be as alluring as Paurillaud, but there's no question she does the role justice, from her initial appearance as the wasted, filthy, and thoroughly sociopathic misfit to her transformation into a refined woman of the world (9mm included, see instructions on box). Gabriel Byrne is likewise excellent as the enigmatic “Bob,” her mentor in the ways of the shadow government. A volatile mixture of steely efficiency and compassion-lite, Byrne seems to be an actor who can do no wrong these days -- his role of Bob is more fully fleshed out than the original, without revealing too much of the character's mysterious nature. Really, the only actor here who seems out of place is Dermot Mulroney. As Fonda's love interest and the catalyst for her eventual betrayal of her employers, Mulroney sleepwalks through the part, looking as out of place as the gargantuan sidearms Fonda repeatedly uses throughout the film. Their “love” never really clicks the way it should, and seems more like the kind of hurried, weekend fling you might expect from tongue-tied teenagers. Badham, however, keeps the whole thing up and running expertly -- it's interesting to note, also, that this Americanized version contains far more big-bang explosions and an elevated body-count than the French source material. Big deal. In a story as well done as this, a few extra bullet-hits only add to the delightful mayhem.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More John Badham Films
Saturday Night Fever
Today mostly regarded as disco camp, Saturday Night Fever should rank as one of the great American films. John Travolta seized his moment in his ...

Marjorie Baumgarten, April 20, 2000


Marjorie Baumgarten, Oct. 28, 1999

More by Marc Savlov
Duty Free
Around the world in 77 years in this tale of new ambition in old age

May 7, 2021

The Outside Story
After a year trapped inside, a welcome comedic reminder of life in fresh air

April 30, 2021


Point of No Return, John Badham, Bridget Fonda, Gabriel Byrne, Dermot Mulroney, Anne Bancroft, Harvey Keitel

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle