The Fifth Element (1997)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment Ultimate Edition)
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Overall Rating 73%
Overall Rating
Ranked #298
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Connections: The Fifth Element

Two hundred and fifty years in the future, life as we know it is threatened by the arrival of Evil. Only the Fifth Element can stop the Evil from extinguishing life, as it tries to do every five thousand years. She is assisted by a former elite commando turned cab driver, Korben Dallas, who is, in turn, helped by Prince/Arsenio clone, Ruby Rhod. Unfortunately, Evil is being assisted by Mr. Zorg, who seeks to profit from the chaos that Evil will bring, and his alien mercenaries. --IMDb
Review by Ginose
Added: May 01, 2009
The sci-fi epic is always a difficult film to create. Anybody can have a magnificent, original idea that can be committed to paper and translated to screen at their leisure, but with sci-fi being about as expansive as a genre can get (easily flirting with fantasy, action and horror at the drop of a dime) it's extremely difficult to make your vision as beautiful and, indeed, original as you'd like.

No matter how nice the final product is, you're always going to be but against the gold-standards of the sci-fi genre ("Star Wars", "AKIRA", "Repo Man", etc.) and with projects like these setting expectations, it's more than likely that your film will be chocked away by people as "a blatant homage to 'Blade Runner' in every respect, kek".

This has been a folly of many truly original films over the last few decades, so it would stand to reason that a truly visionary and inspired director such a Luc Besson would find some way to break this convention in a similar way as Alex Proyas did with "Dark City"... the result is... well... unique...

Starting us in 1913 at an archeological dig gone horribly "E.T.", a group of "divine beings" come down to retrieve four stones, stating that they will return with them in 300 years, to save humanity from a dire threat to the universe. Well, obviously we're launched to that date and into the position of Korben Dallas, an ex-lieutenant come cab-driver in future New York (which, incidentally, looks a helluva lot present New York... but with more flying cars and less street-vendors) who, upon making his rounds comes into contact with a beautiful woman on the run from the police. She speaks no English, but eventually gets across that she is looking for a priest. Finding him wasn't much of a problem, but Korben soon discovers that this girl (Leeloo) is one of the "divine creatures" who is attempting to save the Earth from its fate by obtaining four stones (the "elements") and using their power to stop the dark planet from devouring the universe. However, a few other parties are after these stones as well, with much more sinister agendas in mind.

As you can plainly see, the plot is fairly cookie-cutter (especially from Luc "I Want All of My Characters to Explode to Grotesquely Vivid Life-like Identities" Besson) and the characters are even more shallow, but I don't even think I can hold that against the director, as this is such a far-cry from his familiar territory that I'm sure the studio had a field day mangling it, but this doesn't excuse a lot of simple problems that could have been avoided with some character revising.

Large blows against t his are actually against the two leads: Bruce Willis just doesn't seem to put much stock in the character and practically acts like...well, himself. No matter how thick the action got for him he just didn't put off the military manner of a soldier just dismissed. It's terrible to watch him go on and on with his lines and action scenes with that utter look of disinterest all over his face... and Milla Jovovich... oh, Milla... she's never been able to act, and her acrobatics are hardly used here, so her character lacks and real impact and has little to no charm... I swear if I hear one more person say "Multipass." to me again...

On the opposite end of the spectrum, two performances simply blew me away, one, of course, would be Gary Oldman, who tends to put an excess of charisma into the villains he plays no matter what the situation. He had that odd air of sadistic humor that it takes to be a good villain, and the art-design of the film really bent into his character as the perfect example of the charms and worries of the excess their world provides. Oddly enough, most people fault this film for something that I couldn't love more if I tried: Chris Tucker as the universe's most popular DJ, Ruby Rhod. Being damn near the most obnoxious character in the movie presented no challenge to Tucker, as he can do it with half the effort it takes your average actor (those who see him often enough can clearly see why this might be) but the energy and use of his character were great, he actually had me laughing my ass off once or twice. Truly a merit worth mentioning for a movie with more drag-on scenes than a non-comedy Coen brothers' film...

All in all, the film isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination, just terribly shallow. Coming from Luc Besson, a shallow movie is an insult to the viewing public; I'd like to say it was all the studio's fault, or something to that effect, but, the truth is, I'm very sure that that didn't have a terrible lot to do with a lot of the aspects that bothered me.

Is it enjoyable? Sure. Is it an epic sci-fi feature? Eh... kinda. Is it a Luc Besson movie at its core? Hardly, but I suppose that's my fault for expecting such.

Griffinheart #1: Griffinheart - added 05/01/2009, 08:21 PM
Could've sworn this had been reviewed already...

I didn't really find this movie to be so much shallow as superficial (I swear there's a distinction). The acting veered into parody range on occasion, but I think that's what the movie was going for. It is what it set out to be.

I enjoyed this a good amount. I'm never quite sure what score to give something, but I think this deserves at least an 8/10.
Ginose #2: Ginose - added 05/01/2009, 08:37 PM
Meh, I don't think there was a damn in this movie that came off as parody. Just annoying. It was too well-done to be camp and too childish to be a serious film. It's like Besson wanted an inspirational tale of love and the human condition and Universal wanted "Star Wars".
Cryptorchild #3: Cryptorchild - added 05/02/2009, 10:10 AM
I love this movie. I don't care what anyone says. Milla Jovovich done great, I thought. I'd give it a 9/10.
Lucid Dreams #4: Lucid Dreams - added 05/02/2009, 11:24 AM
Yeah she did real well, she got naked while kicking some ass and didn't have to many lines, so I would say this was her best film. Well anyways I'm going with Ginose on this one. 7/10
The Red Clover #5: The Red Clover - added 05/04/2009, 12:46 AM
I loved this movie, it was a change of pace; I got to see Sarah Brightman as a blue alien, Milla Jovovich nude, a ton of ass-kickery. I'd give this at least an 8/10.
Edd #6: Edd - added 05/18/2009, 03:10 AM
10/10 no doubt.
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