Alphabetical Movie – Leon: The Professional
It’s interesting how badly we want our hit men to be heroes.
Leon is a genuinely good guy, right? Sure. He’s a good guy who kills people. For a living.
What we love him for is the fact he’s so bloody good at it. He can even teach a twelve-year-old girl how to be good at it.
But he’s still a guy who gets paid to kill people.
James Bond, for that matter, is a hired killer. He’s a good guy so that’s OK, right? As long as he keeps killing the dudes who want to nuke random cities, destroy all life on Earth or some combination of both, we think he’s the greatest guy ever.
We like guys like Bond and Leon. We want them to be successful. And by “be successful,” I mean “kill a whole lot of people with remarkable efficiency.”
Admit it, when John Travolta gets killed in Pulp Fiction (spoiler), we all feel kind of bad about it. Sure, we saw him accidentally shoot another guy in the head, shoot up heroin and almost kill his boss’ girlfriend (his death shouldn’t be much of a surprise – he’s kind of a fuck up), but we still didn’t want to see him die. The only reason his death is OK is because we like Bruce Willis more than we liked John Travolta.
We love Tom Hanks in Road to Perdition. He’s the best dad ever.
Yeah. The best dad who kills people all the time.
Maybe it is just that hit men are more likable than, you know, drug dealers. I mean, most of the time the hit men are killing drug dealers so that makes them cool. Yeah, they are killing drug dealers in order to make sure other drug dealers can make more money selling drugs but they are still killing drug dealers. So that makes them kind of good, right?
It could also be the blue-collar aspect of the contract killer. They are the everyman of the gangster world. Leon is just a regular guy who happens to know at least twelve thousand ways to end someone’s life in under ten seconds. When he gets done doing that job, he’ll probably head down to the corner bar and knock back a couple of brews. Just like you and me.
I don’t think that we really want to be those guys. The idea of actually killing people is not nearly as sexy as watching fictional characters who are really good at it.
James Bond has been efficiently killing people for fifty years now and he’s probably going to be doing the same thing for another fifty.
And we’re going to love him for it.
Leon only got one movie, which is pretty shitty. I actually like him a little more than Bond. I just don’t think Bond would do a very good job caring for a plant.
Loen’s job is just a job. He’s a good guy. Who happens to be really good at killing people.
And for some reason, that’s kind of cool.