Spoilers MIGHT SCREAM IN YOUR EAR.
I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this movie before. I have checked a few times just to be sure, but so far no review has turned up and yet it still feels like I’ve written about it a while ago. Now, by all accounts I should not like this movie. It’s big and flashy but feels like every recycled trop reused to death plus it’s one of the first movies that made Chris Tucker into a big name. It’s one of those movies that does not hold up to scrutiny but is kinda fun to watch even when every single person but Bruce Willis is playing an over the top character.
The Fifth Element was written and directed by Luc Besson with production design by comic book artist Jean “Moebius” Giraud and Jean-Claude Mézières and costume design by Jean-Paul Gaultier. That should tell you a lot of what’s to come. It’s loud in every sense of the word and we’re not talking about Chris Tucker yet. Every character seems to be a parody of something except for Korben Dallas. With that name, you’d think Bruce Willis would be parodying all his action hero characters, but he’s not stretching any comedy chops here. In this comedy, he’s the straight man to everyone else’s comedy act.
The plot is as follows. The Mondoshawans are trying to protect the stones that represent the four elements plus a sarcophagus with the remains of the one superior being that comes back every 5,000 years to prevent the coming of the great evil… Okey, you know what? Forget the backstory. Let’s go for what we actually get to see on screen.
Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis started on comedy, believe or not) drives a flying cab. He’s reckless and of course he used to be special forces or something. He meets Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) who has just escaped a lab where she has been recreated from alien DNA. Leeloo is the sci-fi version of a manic pixie girl. She’s barely communicative half the time she’s on screen and once she starts making sense she only gets a few lines. Korbin and Leeloo are supposed to become a couple as the movie progresses. They’ve got zero chemistry.
The movie has a long list of major negative points. A contrived backstory. Over the top characters that behave like caricatures. Aliens looking more like muppets. A love story with two characters that have no reason to love each other nor they seem to display any signs of affection. A space prophecy that borrows element from a zillion of other films. It shouldn’t work and it doesn’t work. As a love story in space, that is. But as a comedy in space…
For the record, I know this movie is indefensible. It’s silly, over the top and way too darn loud. But the moment that Chris Tucker appears, and I understand that his overacting is either funny, annoying or both, the movie turns into an actual comedy. I remember watching it and looking for Blade Runner. Then Chris Tucker appeared and stole the whole thing. Taking it in as pure fun, it’s just a parody of everything. Yes, we have a scene with Leelo trying to deliver an anti-war message by researching about war. It’s not enough to vindicate all the tomfoolery and goofiness we’ve been witness to already.
Recommended. Yes, because despite all the campy performances and over-the-top characters, it can be lots of fun to watch. I might not be enjoying this movie as it was originally publicized, but a successfully entertaining movie that was not the movie the director aimed to make is still entertaining and even better, commercially successful. It’s not the standard in science-fiction films, nor I see it as science-fiction but I believe fans of sci-fi should not deny that films that makes us laugh deserved their place as much as films that makes us think.
That will do for now.