Monday, July 24, 2017

Movie Review: The Fifth Element

Luc Besson created a wild futuristic universe two decades ago that was fun with a solid good vs. evil story. When a hidden weapon is found amidst the pyramids before the start of the World Wars, an alien race flies down to retrieve it and starts an order of priesthoods that would pass the knowledge down of a holy weapon to fight evil. In the very colorful future, Corbin Dallas (Bruce Willis) drives a taxi having given up his life as a fighter pilot. Absolute evil takes the form of a growing black ball that destroys military spaceships. As the priest, Father Vito Cornelius (Ian Holm) awaits of the fifth element with President Lindberg (Tommy Lister), Jean-Baptist Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman)  sends shape-shifting aliens called Mangalores to shoot down the ship and retrieve the four elemental stones. The only survivor of the crash is recreated in a Neurolab into Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) and she breaks out. Her escape sends her crashing down into Corbin's taxi that leads to a wild flying car chase that holds well with special effects these twenty years later.

Zorg is angry when he finds the case empty without any stones and tricks the aliens into blowing themselves up with some crazy rifle. Corbin brings Leeloo to Cornelius who helps decipher Leeloo's language that the stones are hidden with an opera singer on a paradise cruise off the planet. Zorg summons Cornelius to find out where the stones are but his bargaining does not go as planned. The evil blob calls Zorg ordering him to find the stones. Corbin finds out he is fired as he finds out he is being recruited for a mission to go to Fhloston Paradise. Unfortunately, Cornelius and Leeloo show up and then the police. The police capture his neighbor but the aliens steal the captive neighbor. Cornelius knocks Corbin over the head stealing the cruise ticket. Corbin accepts the mission and meets David (Charlie Creed-Miles) and Leeloo there, getting aboard.

On the ship, the eccentric radio host Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker) detains Dallas and forces him to interact with his audience. Cornelius follows Corbin on the ship as Leeloo learns English from the internet. Leeloo hopes to meet the Diva Plavalaguna (Maïwenn) and receive the stones after her opera performance. Ruby continues to urge Corbin to speak to his audience though the taxi driver is uncooperative. During the performance, Leeloo takes out some of the Mangalores while others attack the opera shooting the Diva. Corbin finds the stones within the Diva as Zorg attacks Leeloo in the Diva's suite. Corbin fights the Mangalores shooting and blowing them up in spectacular fashion while Ruby screams alongside him. Zorg sets a bomb to blow the ship up but has to return when he finds the box he took doesn't have the stones again.

Leeloo is disturbed by the violence she sees but Corbin helps her escape the ship with Cornelius and Ruby. They fly to the pyramids where David is waiting for them. They line the stones up but aren't sure what to do when David discovers that adding the element that each stone represents, fire, water, wind, and earth, activates the stone. Leeloo still has to be convinced that life is worth saving to fight against evil and Corbin professes his love to her. She ignites and destroys the ball of evil right before it impacts the planet, making a new moon. Corbin and Leeloo are free to love each other in the Neurolab pod as the world is saved.

The Fifth Element captured my imagination when I first saw it and was one of my favorite movies ever. Bruce Willis has always been a fun actor that does great action with witty one-liners. Milla Jovovich is great as Leeloo delivering humor and her unique sci-fi edge. Gary Oldman is extraordinary and nearly unrecognizable as the villain Zorg. Besson made a fun film full of wonder, excitement, and action that I can watch multiple times and still enjoy. I am glad I had a reason to review this film again on my blog as it was a film that I have enjoyed for twenty years and holds up well. When I was young, I like it so much, I even read the novelization where Zorg survives. The Fifth Element is a great film and I hope Besson continues to make more science fiction. 

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