Action Movie Fanatix Review: The Fifth Element

The Fifth Element banner

There Is No Future Without It.

Starring: Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm, Chris Tucker, Milla Jovovich, Luke Perry, Brion James, Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister

Director: Luc Besson

1997  |  126 Minutes  |  PG-13

“Whoa, lady, I only speak two languages: English and bad English.” – Korben Dallas

The Fifth Element is a movie that I have personally loved since the very first time I saw it.  I even briefly owned the video game before realizing that it was one of the worst games ever made.  This movie just has a special place in my slightly clogged heart.

Three hundred years ago a powerful weapon, the fifth element, was removed from earth.  Now, in the twenty-third century an evil entity is heading for Earth and the only thing that can stop it is the fifth element.  A group of scientists creates a perfect being, Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) from the DNA of the deceased fifth element who escapes and falls into the protection of Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), a cab driver and former soldier.  Leeloo and Korben join with Father Vito Cornelius to save the world all the while being pursued by the Evil Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg and a team of mercenary Mangalores.

The Fifth Element is definitely a little weird.  Good Sci-Fi usually is.  The weirdest thing isn’t the story (although I could easily see someone watching it and not understanding what just happened) or the crazy aliens but the crazy costumes that everyone is wearing.  If this is the stuff people are wearing in two hundred years I am glad I wont be around (presumably).

The sets, special effects and soundtrack are still beautiful.  There are a number of huge clamoring city shots where I never even questioned the CGI.  That is impressive for a movie that is already fifteen years old.  The movie has aged very well in this regard.

I’m pretty sure that The Fifth Element was the first time I had ever seen Milla Jovovich.  Holy crap, what an introduction.  Even with crazy orange hair and her constant jibber-jabbering in whatever nonsense language she is supposedly speaking she is stunningly gorgeous (and not just because she is only wearing a series of white bands on her body).  Luc Besson must have a thing for annoying women who won’t shut up – The Transporter movies have ‘em, Natalie Portman can get annoying in The Professional and until Leeloo learns English she keeps yacking away in her alien tongue.  It’s a good thing she’s cute.

Chris Tucker’s Ruby Rhod on the other hand won’t shut up and he looks like Chris Tucker.  And Chris Tucker is even more Chris Tucker than usual and in case you have not seen him before that is not a good thing.  I guess my problem isn’t so much with him (even though I really don’t care for him) as it is with the character of Ruby Rhod.  I mean, technically Chris Tucker played this character to a T but it is just the type of character that you would like to strangle in the first five minutes of seeing him.  Am I really supposed to believe that this buzzing, screaming, flamboyant, effeminate diva talk show host is a ladies man?

Gary Oldman’s Zorg is an interesting villain driven seemingly only by greed and possibly some brainwashing by the smoky, flaming evil planet thingy.  Oldman delivers a top notch performance and sounds a little like he is doing a George Bush impersonation.

And of course, Bruce Willis is the F’ing man.  The guy could wear a neon orange shirt and suffer from male pattern baldness and still be a badass.  And, I guess, that is exactly what he does here.  Korben Dallas is your stereotypical cabbie who used to be an elite special ops soldier.  He evades cops in his hover taxi, escapes exploding paradise space cruise ships in the nick of time and blows aliens away in exciting shootouts.  All in a days work for this cabbie

I’ve never understood the hate that this movie seems to garner.  I have always found it to be a ton of fun and any time I see it on tv I am hooked.  There are plenty of great alien/human gunfights, explosions and flying car chases to keep me entertained through all of the goofiness but I think part of its charm is that it is kinda nutty and off the wall at some points.