|Point of No Return|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Badham|
|Produced by||Art Linson|
|Screenplay by||Robert Getchell|
|Based on||La Femme Nikita|
by Luc Besson
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Edited by||Frank Morriss|
Art Linson Productions
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
109 minutes (US)
|Box office||$30 million|
Point of No Return (also known as The Assassin) is a 1993 American action film directed by John Badham and starring Bridget Fonda and Gabriel Byrne. It is a remake of Luc Besson's 1990 film La Femme Nikita.
Maggie Hayward (Bridget Fonda) is a violent and unstable drug addict found guilty of murdering a police officer, and is sentenced to death by lethal injection. Her death is faked, and a secret government agent named Bob (Gabriel Byrne) informs her that she is to become an assassin. She is given a makeover and training that transform her into a beautiful woman, and she is also trained as a killer. Her career as an assassin goes well at first. Then, after a mission goes awry, the agency sends in Victor (Harvey Keitel), a "cleaner," to kill everyone and destroy the bodies.
In Washington, D.C., Maggie Hayward (Bridget Fonda) is a drug addict found guilty of murdering a police officer during a robbery shootout, and is about to be executed by lethal injection. Her demise is faked and a spy named Bob (Gabriel Byrne) informs her that she has to work for him. Maggie, having little choice, reluctantly agrees to cooperate and begins a regimen of intensive training that includes not only martial arts and firearms training, but etiquette and computer use.
Senior Operative Amanda (Anne Bancroft) transforms her into a refined, beautiful woman. She is taken on a dinner date with Bob, who informs her about the first job: an assassination of a VIP eating at the same restaurant. Maggie kills the VIP and his bodyguard and then is pursued by a team of the VIP's bodyguards. She shoots several of the bodyguards and then escapes from the kitchen by jumping down a laundry chute. This task was her final test and she has now completed her training.
The following morning she leaves for Venice, California, where she enters into a romantic relationship with apartment house manager J.P. (Dermot Mulroney). While her first assignments, both hit jobs, are ultimately successful, Maggie quickly comes to hate her work and tries to quit her job as a professional killer. As things progress between her and J.P. and her double life threatens their relationship, she asks for help in leaving the agency. Her request is denied, but Bob agrees to get her out of the agency if she completes the next task.
The new job is to masquerade as Angela (Olivia d'Abo), the girlfriend of Fahd Bakhtiar (Richard Romanus), an Iranian trading in nuclear weapons. As she prepares for the job, J.P. continues to complain about her mysterious friends and mocks the improvised backstory that Bob had provided for himself and Maggie. Maggie is shown watching a scene from Deception, in which a woman kills a former lover to keep their past secret from her new husband, reflecting Maggie's determination to kill her employers if necessary to protect her relationship with J.P.
Taking out Angela proves problematic and results in the deaths of Angela's two bodyguards and the injury of Maggie's partner, Beth (Lorraine Toussaint). Director Kaufman (Miguel Ferrer) then sends in Victor, a "cleaner" (Harvey Keitel) to get rid of the bodies and salvage the mission. Unknown to Maggie, he has also been ordered to kill both agents as well because one failure results in death. After killing the wounded Beth in front of Maggie, he drives her to Fahd's home. At gunpoint she gets Fahd to unlock his computer and reveal his secrets, but he avoids execution and she is forced to flee.
As they purportedly drive back to her residence, Maggie sees a gun in Victor's waistband and correctly suspects that he is going to kill her. This leads to a struggle and the car spins out of control. Ultimately, Victor is dragged over a ravine and killed. Maggie makes her way back to her apartment, but leaves sometime during the night. Bob subsequently learns of her disappearance from J.P.. As Bob is leaving, he sees Maggie watching him through the mist. Instead of reporting her, he calls Kaufman and informs him, after some hesitation, that the cleaner and Maggie are both dead.
The film grossed approximately $30,038,362 in the US and received mixed reviews. Film critic Roger Ebert, who gave the original La Femme Nikita three and a half stars out of four, gave Return three stars, saying: "Point of No Return is actually a fairly effective and faithful adaptation and Bridget Fonda manages the wild identity swings of her role with intensity and conviction, although not the same almost poetic sadness that Anne Parillaud brought to the original movie. If I didn't feel the same degree of involvement with Point of No Return that I did with Nikita it may be because the two movies are so similar in plot, look, and feel. I had déjà vu all through the movie. There are a few changes, mostly not for the better. By making the heroine's boyfriend a photographer this time instead of a checkout clerk, the movie loses the poignancy of their relationship; Nikita liked her clerk precisely because he was completely lacking in aggression." The film holds an approval rating of 50% at Rotten Tomatoes gave, based on 24 reviews.
Maggie/Claudia has a fascination with the singer/pianist/songwriter Nina Simone. Throughout the film, various songs of Simone's are used.
Together with the earlier re-release of "My Baby Just Cares for Me" in 1982, the film helped bring Nina Simone back into the public limelight and made her better known with a younger audience.
The film score was composed by Hans Zimmer.