Luc Besson will always draw me in. No matter what, he seemingly produces/directs/writes films that I enjoy. One of the highlights of his career happens to be the spastic and comic book inspired science fiction flick "The Fifth Element". Although the film is done completely tongue-in-cheek with a crayola crayon inspired futuristic look and relatively little to be included as 'depth' to its plot, its a blast to watch and the pure fun of its ridiculousness is only amped by a successful cast and its lack self editing. "The Fifth Element" may not be the most realistic or 'good' film out there, but its self aware cheese and lightning pacing make for one of my favorite film experiences.
Korben Dallas (Willis) is a down on his luck ex-military man trying to make ends meet as a flying cab driver in 23rd century New York. When a mysterious orange haired woman (Jovovich) falls into his cab, literally, he is put on a new path in his life. With the help of a priest (Holm) and the shrieking radio diva Ruby Rhod (Tucker), Dallas must take this girl and find 4 stones combing the five elements into a weapon to destroy the ultimate evil. With the vicious Zorg (Oldman) on his tail and some ugly terrorist aliens, these guys have a lot to go against. Not to mention the fate of the entire universe rests in their hands.
Besson must have had a lot of fun with this film. The tenacious and over the top aspects of "The Filth Element" all work in a synchronicity that can only be achieved when all parts of the film making process fall into place. Besson truly grabs the rather out of this world plot and takes it there with stellar costume and art designs and a cast and crew that 'get it'. "The Fifth Element" is exciting, funny, and just plain fun to watch. Even though its rather depth-less plot (which they try to deepen with surface level issues on 'why should humanity even survive' questions) never gets the meaning it could have used, this film succeeds on most other levels.
It must be mentioned that the casting of this film is pretty brilliant. We get actors and actresses that normally annoy the hell out of me (Jovovich, Tucker) placed perfectly and used to their full potentials to make it work. Hearing Jovovich spew her 'divine language' in full speed mode is a riot to watch and even Tucker is able to channel his high pitched shenanigans into a character that is so annoying its hilarious to see with the stone cold and sarcastic Willis doing what he does best. Even Oldman and Holm get into the spirit with their over the top costumes (that are taken so seriously) its hard not to smile the entire film.
With an artistic vision of pure cartoon-ish vibes, outrageous plot/script work, and a perfectly picked cast "The Fifth Element" truly embraces itself for what it is. And it succeeds at it. Don't go into this film expecting a more vibrant "Blade Runner" or anything - you will hate it then - but take it for its cheesy glory and run with. It's a blast to watch and Besson at some of his best.
Written By Matt Reifschneider