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Overall Rating

Awesome: 28.25%
Worth A Look42.37%
Average: 12.43%
Pretty Bad: 5.65%
Total Crap: 11.3%

8 reviews, 129 user ratings

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Fifth Element, The
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Amusing grab bag."
4 stars

A rip-off movie can be annoying and boring unless it's done with great love and enthusiasm, in which case we call it a pastiche or an homage, or some other French word. In 'The Fifth Element,' the director Luc Besson is like a little boy showing off all his cool toys. He doesn't care that he didn't make the toys himself -- he just wants to play with them. The movie is a gigantic Christmas tree festooned with flashing lights and intricate ornaments, with a million presents underneath.

Its ominous ads aside ("IT MU5T BE FOUND," etc.), The Fifth Element is really a comedy -- a sci-fi Cuisinart that nudges you past the point of saturation. As in his previous two cult movies (La Femme Nikita and The Professional), Besson straddles the line between straight-faced thrills and Mad-magazine parody. One thinks of Nikita stashing her rifle in a bubble bath, or the assassin in The Professional enthralled by a Gene Kelly movie. Besson's films have an oddball personality; they're not just grim heavy-metal thunder.

Besson concocted the plot as a teenager, and it shows. Most critics have had a tough time outlining what The Fifth Element is actually about in a point-A-to-point-B sense, and I won't be the exception. The gist of it is that a big wad of Evil is threatening the universe, and the only one who can avert disaster is a genetically reassembled woman called Leeloo (the entrancing Milla Jovovich). She is "the fifth element" that needs to be positioned between the other four elements, which are represented by mystical stones from Egypt, and .... So what exactly was Besson smoking in high school?

Anyway, Leeloo falls into the airborne taxi of Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), a 23rd-century hack who used to work for the government as some sort of secret agent. The government hires him to protect Leeloo; it also arranges -- are you sitting down? -- to send the pair on a vacation cruise on a ship called Fhloston Paradise. This plot turn is an excuse for Besson to indulge in outlandish costumes and cartoonish violence. It also introduces a character named Ruby Rhod, an aggressively irritating DJ who follows Korben everywhere, bleating and squealing. He's played by Chris Tucker, who almost derails the movie all by himself.

The Fifth Element, as you may have gathered, makes no sense whatsoever. It's a triumph of form over content, but it's a stunning triumph. The sets, costumes, and visual effects are elaborate but never too oppressive -- Besson casually tosses them off. Willis, in his appealing Die Hard mode, and the bewitching chatterbox Jovovich (who spends half the movie babbling in an alien tongue) keep the human element alive.

Then there's the incomparable Gary Oldman, consistently hilarious as the evil bureaucrat Zorg. Oldman was given far too much scenery to chew and saliva to spew in 'The Professional,' but his performance here is a goofball classic. The biggest laugh in the movie by far is Zorg's priceless reaction when he opens a box that turns out not to contain what he hopes it does. Oldman isn't even the weirdest thing in 'The Fifth Element,' which must be a first.

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originally posted: 01/21/07 11:50:49
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Boston SciFi Film Festival For more in the 2013 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/06/20 dupadoit it is cool 4 stars
11/11/19 Karen S a brilliant, strange film 5 stars
12/29/17 morris campbell imaginative & entertaining 4 stars
6/19/14 megancyber A REPEAT movie for easy movie nights, soectacular scenery, costuming and outrageously acted 5 stars
7/11/13 kevin phil great movie 5 stars
1/22/12 Kyle great 5 stars
10/11/09 Jeff Wilder Willis and Oldman are solid. Jovovich pretty. Script weak. 3 stars
10/06/09 pat Not what I'd call "cerebrally charged", but still entertaining...with the right substances. 4 stars
2/10/09 Johnny Favorite To all the naysayers: you suck, this movie is FUN, get it?? 5 stars
1/30/09 finamus how can you not love this movie? 5 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. a film with alot of wtf moments. :] 4 stars
11/30/08 James This movie is dog shit, I don't understand why so many people like it. 2 stars
9/01/08 Samantha Pruitt the movie has a great look to it, funny, with cool characters! 4 stars
8/21/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting storyline. 4 stars
8/05/08 Bnorm This movie was indeed supa green. one of my top 5 5 stars
7/27/08 The Dork Knight I liked it. I can't help it! 4 stars
12/15/07 Pamela White movie sucks plot stupid 1 stars
6/27/07 johnnyfag il quinto escremento! 1 stars
2/28/07 munsa, Sittienaida the movie is veryinteresting and terefis. I agree that love is very important to the person 5 stars
2/19/07 Taina G IT'S FREAKIN ROCKS MY SOCKS/SMOKE YOU!! LMAO Meat Popicle lol,Multi Pass!LOVE IT,BEautiful! 5 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega Entertaining futuristic Sci-fi. 3 stars
2/14/07 johnnyfog Worst fuckin dye job ever on Milla! Weirdest sci-fi ever, but I liked it 5 stars
2/06/07 Stacy You can't be a perfect woman with hair like that. Movie's pretty cool, though. 4 stars
1/31/07 JeromeBosch graet F/X, Chris Tucker fuckin' ruins everything else. 4 stars
1/24/07 Jimbo One of my favourites ever. Milla Bruce Gary and Chris u can't go wrong-Flat but epic+pretty 5 stars
1/22/07 Sambadi Trashy crap. One of the worst. 1 stars
1/22/07 del Could have been SO MUCH better, but...definitely still worth a look. 4 stars
1/22/07 Ole Man Bourbon Irritating drivel. 2 stars
12/26/06 johnnyfog Weird acid trip of a movie. Its good because of Milla and Gary Oldman 4 stars
9/23/06 sam bonner visually striking? you bet!! maybe it should have been a silent movie. 3 stars
8/17/06 Stanley Thai It's a fun filled movie. Just have fun and enjoy it. 4 stars
5/22/06 VulcanRaven Milla Jovovich is great and it is so futuristic 5 stars
5/22/06 tom Probably my favourite film of all time, has everything! 5 stars
4/10/06 R.W.Welch Flaky sci-fi opus doesn't really jell but is still watchable. 3 stars
11/15/05 nikola the BEST costumes ever 4 stars
8/13/05 Indrid Cold A pretty cool diversion, which is very high praise for a movie like this. 4 stars
8/13/05 ES This came out the same year as Time trek Generations, you tell me what's better 5 stars
5/15/05 Indrid Cold Visually fascinating, but oddly uninteresting. 3 stars
1/10/05 Jagal Shoot, someone already said fifth Excrement... Hot chic Awful film 1 stars
1/10/05 Nicole Hmm.....liked it a lot when it first came out - I have since rethought that 3 stars
1/09/05 burton miller RETARDED: one of the worst screenplays in history 1 stars
12/19/04 Monster W. Kung The fifth excrement... 1 stars
10/16/04 Don Eckert Story is a bit choppy but very imaginative, fast paced and fun to watch. 4 stars
9/01/04 T. Rhudy Milla Jovovich is great 5 stars
6/29/04 Karen Stockdale A fun film with imaginative outifts/sets and the wonderful Gary Oldman - whats not to like? 4 stars
4/25/04 Carla i thought it was pretty good, and pretty funny. I liked the 'opera'. 4 stars
4/18/04 john yes, Milla 5 stars
4/12/04 Gobsmack Stunning, original, and just plain fun. 5 stars
11/30/03 marcel Ledoux even if my name i similar, it is too cheezy 3 stars
11/29/03 john all over the place predictable and boring 1 stars
11/24/03 Sihuhe I like Zorg and his Pet! 5 stars
10/24/03 Wendy Carpenter Pointless drivel, wasting Bruce Willis's talents. 1 stars
10/15/03 crystal freakin'rocks!! 5 stars
8/11/03 Nicole Pretty decent 4 stars
5/30/03 The Talking Elbow The worst part is Bruce Willis's ugly ass orange sweatshirt 4 stars
5/25/03 Lenny Milla. 'nuf said. 4 stars
5/24/03 Bloody Vixen I like, no questions! 5 stars
5/20/03 JL Not a deep movie, but definitely escapist entertainment fun. 4 stars
4/13/03 Terrible This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen -- literally. It makes no sense whatever. 1 stars
4/07/03 Jon Would anyone else agree that this movie is literally bursting with colour? 4 stars
3/10/03 Nicole I really liked this movie 5 stars
2/26/03 GMan Hmm...Milla Jovovich near nude... Gary Oldman playing,well, Gary Oldman... pretty good... 4 stars
2/06/03 Dice My 2nd least favorite movie ever 1 stars
1/12/03 Chiendog Witty, imaginative... almost a parody of the sci-fi-action genre. 5 stars
12/06/02 GIA great act of gary oldman 3 stars
10/21/02 Monster W. Kung This movie blows donkeys. 1 stars
10/15/02 Interrog8 Everything you would want from an action flick. 5 stars
9/29/02 Fuze44 I dug the freaky chick. 3 stars
8/29/02 Hessian Besson dose it again. 5 stars
6/28/02 Zefram Mann Great acting. Great visuals. A fun movie that really IS fun! 5 stars
6/25/02 Charles Tatum Say what you want...this is really cool 5 stars
4/06/02 Junshi Alright, cliched theme though, and dull, not memorable. 3 stars
3/18/02 Butterbean It's a nice action flick to waste your time on. But it's highly forgetable 3 stars
2/20/02 Xaver I love the action, the characters (esp. Tucker) AND THE MUSIC. 5 stars
2/17/02 Mad Max Tucker sucks but Willis and Oldman are funny, and the action, effects are awesome! 4 stars
1/25/02 Monster W. Kung Incredibly moronic, superficial, and unfunny piece of crap. 1 stars
1/07/02 Adam Barraud Visually stunning, this sites reveiwer know little to nothing. Interesting enough storyline 4 stars
1/06/02 Andrew Carden Uninteresting and Unlikeable Movie. Jovavich Was The Only One Who Gave Off Steam. 2 stars
12/31/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) Bruce Willis has always been good. Any crappy flick he's in except Armageddon isn't crappy. 4 stars
12/24/01 Hoorah visually the same as the concept wild and wonderful dont expect any sort of reality 5 stars
12/09/01 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This one Sci-Fi that people must see a instant classic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/16/01 Sumixam excellent, Tucker is hillarious 5 stars
11/14/01 seldom scene great LOOKING film and a comic book plot 4 stars
9/29/01 Phoenix A great sci-fi adventure. It's funny and action packed. 5 stars
8/07/01 Joe Zappa It was too exotic. I was kinda freaked out. Willis and Tucker were okay, though. 3 stars
7/21/01 gus i kinda liked it - tho, milla jovovich acts as well as a chimp 3 stars
7/16/01 Josh I rolled my eyes through most of this movie. 1 stars
7/13/01 Caligula Robot ducks, ball of evil, chocolate dripping from forehead, plot written by dumb monkey. 1 stars
7/02/01 TLsmooth I would rather clog my ears with ovine feces than listen to Chris Tucker in this. 1 stars
6/24/01 Dean If Besson wrote this when he was 13, he must have been retarded. 1 stars
5/22/01 mjm103171 the blue chick that sings techno-opera kicks ass! 4 stars
4/27/01 ChilliPepper One of the Best movies i have seen. And the soundtrack is Great! 5 stars
4/26/01 Brian The fifth Element is CHEESE, but still a fun film. Chris Tucker and Willis deliver laughs. 4 stars
4/02/01 moviegoer bruce willis does and exceelent job, as do most of the actors 4 stars
3/24/01 Monster W. Kung Turn your brain off before you see this junk. 1 stars
2/21/01 Steve in Prague I used to fuck this girl who wokred on the 5th element..Alissa Randall...5 stars 5 stars
11/22/00 Furanku Fun, fun, fun, and damn the critics who didn't like it. It wasn't meant to be Citizen Kane! 5 stars
11/14/00 The EVIL Penguin AWESOME! well, almost....... 4 stars
10/31/00 Damion Cain One of the best movies ever. Milla is a goddess, you can't dispute that. 5 stars
10/17/00 emblem Brilliant international flavoured sci-fi action with heart 5 stars
8/25/00 Maclay01 Ppl who hated this film have a prejudice for a certain type of sci-fi. Get over it! 5 stars
6/02/00 perverted pixie Hoopy space case stuff with Brucey, Gazza, and a cameo from Captain Hollister! 5 stars
3/11/00 David Rogers Was different. Most decent movie that I've seen Bruce in. 3 stars
2/06/00 Kyle Broflovski Flawless visuals, excellent concept. Kinda just there in terms of dialogue, but it works. 5 stars
1/10/00 Howie Great humor. Comic style action! Visually and musically stunning. 5 stars
1/09/00 Will that was awful! but for some reason I loved it, go figure. 4 stars
12/15/99 Paul funny, fast moving action. 4 stars
12/05/99 Wolfyboy The script fit together awesomely 4 stars
12/04/99 Roy Stogner "Sci-fi" fans will appreciate it's style. Science fiction fans should go read a book. 3 stars
11/19/99 msf6 This was like watching a cartoon on steroids Chris Tucker is funny but as a whole SUCKS ASS 1 stars
10/26/99 Karahde Khan One of the worst big-budget movies ever. Plus it has Gary Oldman, which I can't stand. 1 stars
9/06/99 godsdog I LOVE THIS MOVIE! A BLAST TO WATCH, AND A SIMPLE BUT FUN PLOT! The CGI was used properly 2 5 stars
4/25/99 JDC Works if you consider it a spoof of every cliche in scifi. Not being too serious saves it. 3 stars
4/10/99 Shelley THE BEST SCI/FI MOVIE EVER!! BRUCE RULES!!! 5 stars
3/22/99 A. M. Silly Fun. 4 stars
2/18/99 Piz s-l-o-w movie, not high on action, no laughs, dozens of better Willis movies 2 stars
12/09/98 Scion of Graveheart Kick-ass sci-fi flick ever. THE best of them all. Clever and funny as hell. 4 stars
10/03/98 Armageddon I'm telling ya, Bruce is 100 times better than you give him credit for. Very entertaining. 5 stars
10/01/98 Paul The credits at the end were entertaining, but the part where the movie was showing sucked. 1 stars
9/28/98 Brandon B. Oldman was good. Excellent special effects and music. 4 stars
9/07/98 BBReBozo Congrats to Milla for showing her nuggets. Congrats to me for watching it. 5 stars
8/30/98 Drasord very clever, and very corny. Sci/fi fan's might like this one. I just LOVE Milla. 3 stars
8/30/98 Matt just your average action movie, in a more stylish package 3 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball The monsters looked fake, as did Bruce. He's the worst action star around. 3 stars
8/21/98 Mike F I like this movie a lot. but I guess it's cause I like shity movies. 4 stars
8/21/98 rotten f. milk Willis sucks. Movie = decent. 3 stars
8/20/98 The Man With The Helmet Milla rules, as did the beginning of the film. Willis has to go. 4 stars
8/17/98 Johny Visually Great, needed less Chris Tucker 3 stars
8/16/98 {{{OZ}}} Moments of brilliance and moments of gut-wrenching awfulness. Willis begone! 3 stars
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  09-May-1997 (PG-13)
  DVD: 11-Jan-2005

  06-Jun-1997 (PG)
  DVD: 25-Oct-1999

  15-May-1997 (PG)

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