The Fifth Element (1997)

The Fifth Element (1997)
  • Time: 126 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
  • Director: Luc Besson
  • Cast: Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Milla Jovovich


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.


  • I loved this film! It has exactly what I look for in a movie: action, comedy, romance, sci-fi and suspense! It’s a pleasure for the eyes with all the dazzling effects. The characters were pretty well developed and the cast was perfect. Milla Jovovich is absolutely incredible. Bruce Willis is still the man of action and Chris Tucker is exceptionally funny. Luc Besson has really out-done himself on this one. Really no complaints from me on this movie. I recommend that everyone see this movie, maybe the best sci-fi ever!

  • At some point in the decade of the 1990s, almost every big name action star received the opportunity to play an action role in the science fiction genre. Bruce Willis was no different. After starring in three popular entries of the Die Hard (1988) franchise, it was time for Willis to step into the future. In the early 1900s, ancient guardians that had built a machine to protect humans from an evil force that destroys all life (kind of like Galactus) visited Earth. In order to make this weapon of protection work; four stones that represent the four elements must be placed in the temple of which it was created. At the center of it lies the fifth element. Skip 300 years later and viewers see Willis playing Korben Dallas, an ex-military man who currently works as a taxi-driver.

    It is in this lifetime that Dallas discovers that he will have to save the world by reuniting the five elements together back where they came from. Running parallel to Dallas is Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman) who also wants the stones and is in cahoots with the strange nameless evil force. From what was just told, the premise sounds awfully serious. Turns out though, almost nothing is taken zealously. This tone shift is brought on after the brief introduction and it may take some time for viewers to readjust. Adding to that is the writing, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. First, why does this mythical being want death and destruction to everything living? There has to be some kind of motive. Is it the same motive as Zorg’s? That’s the closest audiences get to one and it doesn’t even come from the evil thing itself.

    Plus, of all things how did this evil force come into contact with Zorg and why did it choose to work with him personally? Surely there must be other chaotic death hungry villains in this universe. Another weird thing is that every time someone is near this force, they leak black fluid from their head? It doesn’t make any sense. Writer/director Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen have both made better works and it shows they weren’t catching the mistakes here. Unusually, even though the writing isn’t very good, most of the actors give their characters a good amount of quality. Willis makes Dallas very nonchalant and his ability to role off the piling issues, which is a likable trait. Oldman as the evil forces’ henchman is comical in some ways due to the manner in which he speaks. Chris Tucker as a popular radio DJ wasn’t needed but was funny. Depending on preference, he will either be funny or annoying. Tucker is a polarizing actor when it comes to comedy. Even the late Brion James has a number of funny moments dealing with Willis’ role.

    Perplexing as it may be, Mila Jovovich is the only actor who doesn’t have the most likable role. It’s not because of her looks or acting ability but more on the development of her character. She speaks another language and can understand English yet can’t speak English. With this, the charm of her character isn’t very strong. Also, she claims that she exists to protect Dallas when that barely even happens. I don’t know, but you’d think that if an actor plays one of the most important plot related roles, they need to be the most likable and developed. Well it doesn’t feel that way here. The editing is another issue. The pacing drags frequently, yet editing is done in a way that simultaneously connects all plot threads so that everything collides at once. The beauty of convenience,…but the movie still drags. Sigh. Thankfully, there is some action,…some. When the action hits, it works well. Willis and Tucker produce a number of laughs as the explosions ensue. Even Jovovich has her own fight scene. She looks great but it doesn’t last long unfortunately.

    The visual effects have plus and minuses too. The special/practical effects look well made and for 1997 don’t look have bad today either. The best looking features are the futuristic technology in various rooms and the creature makeup. The CGI sequences do look a little shaky but not noticeably bad. However, the cinematography does nothing to visually help the movie. Aside from the futuristic gadgets looking cool, the camerawork is plain and uninteresting. Completing this is composer Eric Serra’s music, which only impresses half way. When it came to comedy, Serra’s tracks did occasionally improve the scene and make it funnier. Yet for the dramatic moments and other scenes, he continued to use odd sounding instruments and weird overtones. This may draw viewers out of the scene rather than into it. Serra is a very avant garde composer, perhaps a little too much. He didn’t even stick to the sci-fi genre of music. Disappointing.

    It’s not a total failure but the entertainment it grants is only half there. The majority of the actors make their characters fun to watch, the action is quick and lively and the comedy is decent. Yet the music is a peculiar audio mix, the pacing is slow and the writing has numerous holes that don’t make much sense. It’s not unwatchable but it’s not that decent either.

    Points Earned –> 5:10

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