Critics score:
71 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune:The sheer craziness and excessiveness of the movie -- no crazier, perhaps, than many of the American action movies it copies -- never finds a center of gravity.Read more

Peter Rainer, Los Angeles Times:Besson has a gift for amoral sleaziness that should serve him well over here. In his very first American film, he has gone straight for the smarm.Read more

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel:The Professional is strictly amateur-hour.Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer:Ultimately, like La Femme Nikita, there may be less here than meets the eye. But what does meet the eye is pretty darn thrilling.Read more

Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times:Like Quentin Tarantino, Besson has a singular style and directorial sensibility that keeps you watching.Read more

Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine:This is a Cuisinart of a movie, mixing familiar yet disparate ingredients, making something odd, possibly distasteful, undeniably arresting out of them.Read more

Janet Maslin, New York Times:The Professional is much too sentimental to sound shockingly amoral in the least. Even in a finale of extravagant violence, it manages to be maudlin.Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader:Ultimately seems at once too deranged and too mechanical.Read more

Joshua Klein, AV Club:While a wisp of a plot involving a crooked cop drives Leon from setpiece to setpiece, it's the central relationship between hitman Jean Reno and young charge Natalie Portman that makes the movie so memorable.Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly:Mathilda is like no New York City girl-child I've ever seen riding the subway. And I couldn't take my eyes off her.Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker:The most objectionable thing is Gary Oldman's performance, baroque in its awfulness. Almost as bad is the director's attempt to construct a visual style -- and, for that matter, characters -- by piling one mannerism on top of another.Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews:It is stylish, darkly humorous, and almost artsy in its approach to the genre.Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times:Always at the back of my mind was the troubled thought that there was something wrong about placing a 12-year-old character in the middle of this action.Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone:Leave it to french writer-director Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita) to put a kinky twist on Orphan Annie and Daddy Warbucks.Read more

Geoff Andrew, Time Out:Besson fails to make much of New York's visual potential, and lazily asks that Leon's expertise be taken on trust. The shallowness was to be expected; the slackness is surprising.Read more

Lisa Nesselson, Variety:A naive fairy tale splattered with blood.Read more

Hal Hinson, Washington Post:One pretty awesome action movie.Read more