Thursday, September 30, 2010

#55. The Fifth Element (1997)

Directed By: Luc Besson

Starring: Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman

Tag line: "The Fifth is life"

Trivia: Luc Besson wrote the original screenplay for this movie when he was in high school

The inhabitants of 23rd century Earth find themselves in the greatest danger when an intergalactic Evil arrives on the outer reaches of our solar system. Fortunately, the only being in the entire universe able to defeat this force, an alien known only as the Fifth Element (Milla Jovovich), has just landed on Earth. Former Army Major and current cab driver Corben Dallas (Bruce Willis) does everything in his power to make sure the Fifth Element is permitted to carry out her mission and save the world. Their combined efforts are hampered, however, by the unscrupulous Mr. Zorg (Gary Oldman), a millionaire weapons dealer who plans to profit from the chaos that pure Evil will surely bring about.

Having created a mind-blowing vision of our planet in the 23rd century, Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element then goes to great lengths to ensure that the action is equal to its setting. One great scene starts with Milla Jovovich (who plays the title character) crashing through the roof of Bruce Willis’ taxi to avoid being captured by the police. She convinces Willis to help her, and since, in the 23rd century, traffic flows in both horizontal and vertical directions, the result is an intense, pretty spectacular chase sequence. It’s but one of many thrilling sequences to be found throughout the movie.

In support of the action, all of the performances in The Fifth Element are exceptional, especially Jovovich, who gathers up tons of sympathy with her soulful eyes; and Gary Oldman as Zorg, a shifty businessman whose accent reminded me of an eloquent, yet obviously corrupt southern politician. And then there’s Chris Tucker as DJ Ruby Rhod, the flamboyantly arrogant host of a popular intergalactic radio show. DJ Ruby Rhod moves quickly, and his banter, rapid and witty, is the perfect match to his personality. Tucker is tremendous in this role, essentially stealing every scene he appears in. When DJ Ruby Rhod is on screen, the fast pace that The Fifth Element has already established becomes a bit quicker.

Crammed with so much action that its two hours seems to fly by in half that time, The Fifth Element is as entertaining a science fiction film as you’re likely to experience.


Klaus said...

Besides really enjoying this film repeated times, it is also the most costly DVD in my collection.

So excited about finding a "cheap" used copy of the special edition DVD a few years back, I became distracted as I backed my car out of the parking lot and into a steel and concrete pole just after purchasing it at a local used games/movies shop.

Total cost of The Fifth Element (Special Edition) = $2210.00 - thanks to ridiculously expensive plastic bumpers and paper thin quarter panels on my Suzuki Areo!

Dave Becker said...

@Klaus: Wow! That's a hell of a lot more than I've ever paid for a DVD! I'm guessing you can't watch this movie without cringing a little bit.

Klaus said...

You can say that again! Plus, one of good movie buddies who was with me when it happened is fond of reminding me of the occasion whenever we're out shopping for movies.