The Fifth Element is a cult sci-fi classic starring Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman, and Chris Tucker. French director Luc Besson started writing the script when he was still in high school, so the film is a bit of a passion project and you can see the love and attention to detail despite all the plot holes and action flick clichés. Seriously, how many times does Bruce Willis have to save the day?
Every 5000 years, the Great Evil comes to destroy life, because that’s what you do when you are evil. There’s only one way to destroy the Great Evil, and that a collection of four magic stones that represent the four elements: Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. When you combine the four elements with the Fifth Element you unleash the Divine Light that defeats the Great Evil. Obviously.
Bruce Willis plays Korben Dallas, a down-on-his-luck cab driver and former soldier who lives in New York City in the year 2263. One day a half naked chick falls into his cab and he decides to help her out for some reason. The half naked chick calls herself Leeloo (played by Milla Jovovich). Not only is she described as a perfect being, she also happens to be the Fifth Element and the only thing that can save our planet. Dallas takes Leeloo to Priest Cornelius (Ian Holm), a guardian of sorts who knows all about the Fifth Element and how to save the world.
A group of evil shape shifting aliens known as the Mangalores are working with a wealthy industrialist named Zorg (Gary Oldman). Zorg is working for the Great Evil and they are after the four stones. Zorg and the Mangalores have a minor disagreement that results in the Mangalores also trying to get the stones for themselves. The stones have been left under the care of a famous blue alien singer named Diva Plavalaguna.
Dallas gets recruited by the military to try to save the world. He and Leeloo win a rigged contest to go to a Diva concert. They get to hang out with Chris Tucker, and they also get attacked by the Mangalores, I can’t decide which is worse. But Dallas ends up with the stones.
The Great Evil unleashes a giant fireball towards Earth and Dallas and the Priest and Leeloo must find out how to use the stones and unleash the power of the Fifth Element. Of course they save the day and disaster is averted. And then Leeloo and Dallas have sex in tube in front of the President and a bunch of scientists. It might be one of the best endings of all time.
Luc Besson created a unique world that is instantly recognizable. Yeah, there are aliens and spaceships and flying cars and unrecognizable technology, but they also showcase how Korben Dallas lives. He lives in a tiny cramped apartment, but the space is utilized brilliantly. His bed slides into the wall. His shower and closet come down from the ceiling. He smokes cigarettes with super long filters. The technology doesn’t seem that far out of reach, it seems obtainable and practical.
The world seems realistic, but some characters are absurdly outlandish. Gary Oldman is a great character actor, but his performance as Zorg is off-putting. He uses a ridiculous accent and you can’t take him seriously. Chris Tucker plays the annoying D.J. Ruby Rhod. His character is a cartoon. An annoying cartoon that has no place in an action/sci-fi flick. He has little to no effect on the plot; he just serves as comic relief. But you don’t need comic relief in an action/sci-fi flick. There’s also that reoccurring and unfunny bit with Korben’s mom constantly calling and complaining to him. The less said about that the better.
The special effects are decent for the time, but they use body suits for the Mangalores and other alien species and it looks cheesy. Mangalores should be intimidating; instead they look like cheap Halloween costumes.
This isn’t the best sci-fi movie, but you should see it. It’s a little bit different than most blockbusters. It’s not a Hollywood movie. It was made in France with a French crew and French director… so when you see it you can pretend like you’re cultured and are watching a foreign film. They made a sequel to this movie called The Sixth Sense, and that film moved the franchise into the supernatural realm. It’s a very different movie in a lot of ways; it’s hard to say which one is better. But both are required viewing to be a film buff.
Critically Rated at 13/17