MOVIE REVIEW: “The Fifth Element” stars Bruce Willis (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable), Milla Jovovich (Survivor , Resident Evil ), Gary Oldman (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Dark Knight), Ian Holm (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Ratatouille), Chris Tucker (Silver Linings Playbook, Rush Hour), Tommy “Tiny” Lister (Friday, Jackie Brown), Brion James (Blade Runner, Striking Distance), Maïwenn (Polisse, High Tension), Luke Perry (Beverly Hills 90210 [TV series], 8 Seconds), Lee Evans (There’s Something About Mary, Mousehunt), and Charlie Creed-Miles (Harry Brown, Wild Bill). It is directed by Luc Besson (Léon: The Professional, Lucy), who also wrote it with Robert Mark Kamen (The Karate Kid Part III, Taken ). When the fate of the world is in jeopardy from a darkness that seeks to destroy everything in its path, one taxi cab driver named Korben Dallas (Willis) becomes entangled in the plot to save humanity when he runs into the very person that was created to do so: the Fifth Element (Jovovich).
Someone had to be high when they made this. Luc Besson, I’m looking at you buddy. What kind of film is this? I mean, seriously, who in their right mind would make this? I guess they’re on a whole other level of thinking than we are when it comes to cinema. Maybe I’m just missing the picture. Oddly enough, I didn’t really dislike it. Guys, “The Fifth Element” has me split. No, I don’t have multiple personality disorder, but my head it certainly swimming after seeing this crazy conglomerate of beautiful visuals, outlandish costuming, and over-indulgence of a madman Chris Tucker. The feature is a nutjob, something you hardly get in this industry, yet it has made a name for itself as an iconic piece of science fiction. Why? You got me. I will say it’s original, and very unique in how it’s told. Luc Besson is a different kind of filmmaker, one who combines a few contrasting styles to make one bizarre piece. Taking from French graphic novels he read growing up and combining them with a sci-fi atmosphere gives us “The Fifth Element,” a film where I can’t tell if it wanted to be a comedy or not. It had to be, considering how absurd it is. You’ve got a dancing blue alien opera singer, a sometimes-country-speaking art dealer villain played by Gary Oldman, and a borderline annoying Chris Tucker who I can’t tell is transgender or just straight feminine. Everything that you wouldn’t think would be found in the same film is here, but it’s like a car accident; it’s so horrendous you can’t help but watch. But before you make any claims, let me just say that I use “horrendous” lightly. There’s something weirdly good to be found in “The Fifth Element.” I chock it up to its originality. Not only was I unable to predict what would happen, I also had no freaking clue what to expect every minute of the film. There’s so much lunacy and a juxtaposition of several plot devices and aesthetics that it causes me to dig my heels in and stick around for the ride. Am I entertained? For the most part, yes. Am I confused? Heck yes I am. I mean, I understand what the conflict is as well as the motives of certain characters. What I don’t get are the details. How does Bruce Willis love this Fifth Element person so much? How could they make a good couple? Why does Gary Oldman speak in a country accent yet look like he’s from some 90’s metal band? Why does he lose his accent from time to time? When will Chris Tucker stop screaming? What the heck kind of talk show does that man have? All he does is speak into a microphone from time to time. There’s so much to discuss, yet difficult to explain without you seeing it. Not only that, but it’s hard to give a solid critique for you guys. From my understanding, you either are pleased with what you see, or you hate it. You could potentially be in the middle (like I am), but even in that grey area it’s hard to discern what you’re opinion is. Let me just break it into the pros and cons. First and foremost, “The Fifth Element” is original. Story-wise, aesthetically, and technically. There’s so much meat here for someone looking for a change of scene that it’s bonkers. I loved watching something that I hadn’t seen before. Obviously, there are some elements that are familiar; a battle of good vs. evil, a bum of a hero, and a threat to the world as we know it. However, it’s all masked under this surface that’s so bizarre and out there that it completely puts a new spin on those tired arcs. Next, the characters are unique. Some are better than others, some are straight terrible, but for whatever it is, I enjoyed watching these characters explore. Korben Dallas is pretty much Bruce Willis, Leeloo (Jovovich) is interesting, Jean-Baptiste (Oldman) can be so bizarre it’s hard not to be intrigued by him, and Ruby Rhod… well, while Chris Tucker was certainly annoying, I did find the figure to be funny from time to time. It’s all a toss-up, really. Ruby Rhod could be considered one of the worst characters in film history (pretty much Jar-Jar level), but there were a few times where Tucker’s big eyes and screaming got a few chuckles from me. I couldn’t tell if it was talent or I was just exhausted from hearing the man do this for an hour. Finally, the cinematography is beautiful. There’s so many great shots in this, including the iconic one where Leeloo jumps over the cityscape, and I couldn’t help but admire Besson’s feat in capturing a look so unique. It truly felt like a foreign sci-fi film with American actors for American release. There’s a lot of strong French influences that show. With all this taken into account, it’s easy for someone who is a film enthusiast to give the movie more credit/appreciation. But for those who are average popcorn goers, you might find this to be an awful piece of cinema. The film’s wackiness and experimentation can definitely come off as plain horrid filmmaking. It’s odd and can more often make no sense than it would. There were many times where I rolled my eyes and questioned what the heck I was watching. I’m sure if I saw it over and over again, I wouldn’t find out. Maybe if I watched it with commentary, or a director’s interview. But alas, we’re here to study the film, and my conclusion is that “The Fifth Element” isn’t for everyone. It’s a toss-up of a picture where, if you’re looking for something different and unique, check it out. There’s obviously several weird creative choices in this film that may bring disparity between you and enjoying it. One that wavered for me was the score, which blends b-bop and French stylings in a futuristic, sci-fi world. It’s so weird guys; I know I’ve said this a lot, but it’s true. The story has a lot of moments where things happen coincidentally to move the plot along as well as some strange happenings that make you question what it has to do with the story (or why the director chose to portray something the way he did). All in all, you’re in for something out-of-this-world. I’m just indifferent, is all. FINAL SCORE: 74%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: