Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Movie Review: "The Fifth Element" (1997)

Director: Luc Besson
Year: 1997
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes

Four element stones, along with the fifth element, must be brought to Earth to fight off an impending evil that's only purpose is to destroy life.

"The Fifth Element" is written and directed by Luc Besson, who is known for directing movies like "Leon: The Professional" and "La Femme Nikita." It stars Milla Jovovich as the titular "Fifth Element" Leeloo, the prime element in the Mondoshawan-developed weapon that has the power to defeat the life-destroying evil. It also stars Bruce Willis as a cab driver and former special forces Major Korben Dallas, who helps Leeloo in her quest to stop the ultimate evil. Joining them are Ian Holm as Father Vito Cornelius, the keeper of the key and the Earth contact of the Mondoshawan, Gary Oldman as Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, a wicked industrialist aiding the ultimate evil in its destruction of Earth, and Chris Tucker as entertainment personality Ruby Rhod, who is the comic relief side character who gets trapped in the chaos.

Speaking of chaos, that's actually a good word to describe "The Fifth Element" as a whole. There is a whole lot of it in this flick, and every scene seems to get progressively more chaotic than the last. As the minutes' tick by, the film gets more and more complex. There are a lot of moving parts and characters adding to this sci-fi action adventure. Somehow through it all, director Luc Besson manages to squeeze a coherent narrative out of it. Sure, it is a bit contrived at times. Much of what happens is convenient to the plot or is simply luck encountered by the characters, but in the words of Maximus Decimus Meridius, "are you not entertained?" This film is colorful and vibrant with a lot of wonderful makeup work, interesting sets pieces and brilliant costumes, and tremendous, otherworldly, fantastic special effects. It is quite the visual smorgasbord, and the movie is almost worth watching for these effects alone. It really is like being transported to the future. The acting isn't all that great, though we do love Bruce Willis doing his snarky, dry witted, tough guy routine. We also enjoy Gary Oldman's over-the-top maniacal antagonist and Chris Tucker's outrageous, gif-able personality as Ruby Rhod, but the acting isn't exactly "good." Speaking of Willis and Oldman, this movie does have a unique bit of trivia. Gary Oldman is one of the primary antagonists and Bruce Willis is the hero character of the story, and yet they never share a single scene together. Their plans keep interfering with one another as they work for opposite goals, but the two never actually cross paths.

We really enjoy "The Fifth Element" because of the lively, energetic colors and costumes, the action packed thrills, the humorous comedy, and the wonder of this in-depth world. It's quite an enjoyable viewing experience for sci-fi lovers.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 72%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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