The Fifth Element (1997)

fifth element poster 1997 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great looking movie, holds up visually

Falls apart in the second half of the movie, Chris Tucker

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Fifth Element

Studio:  Gaumont

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  May 7, 1997

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Welcome to the future!

It is 2263, and Earth is in danger.  A darkness is threatening the whole planet and the only hope could be an ancient legend known as the Fifth Element that could stop the oncoming threat.  When Earth is contacted by an alien race named the Mondoshawans on how to stop the evil, the Mondoshawans are ambushed by the Mangalores who are working with an Earthling named Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman).  The Mondoshawans are able to get the Fifth Element to scientists who recreate it in the form of a woman named Leeloo (Milla Jovovich).  When Leeloo hooks up with a cab driver named Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), Leeloo and Korben are in a race against time to stop the darkness before it destroys the world.


I will out-weird whoever challenges me!

Directed by Luc Besson, The Fifth Element is a sci-fi fantasy film.  The movie was received with mixed to positive reviews upon its release but a strong box office performance.  The movie over the years has gained a cult following and continues to divide people.

I saw The Fifth Element in the theater and there was a lot about the movie I liked and a lot about the movie I hated.  I hadn’t seen The Fifth Element since the theater in 1997 and now over fifteen years later, I still feel the movie has its pluses and minuses.

The story for The Fifth Element is one of the movie’s greatest assets and failures.  The movie is layered and that is a great thing.  It has a lot of ideas and concepts (which is more science fiction instead of action), but it also has some great fight scenes that rank up there with summer blockbusters.  It also however does leave a bad taste in your mouth at points with the irritating Chris Tucker character just taking up space and blatant advertisements for McDonalds.  Also, while the story is layered, it feels like it tries too hard when the real focus should be Leeloo, her relationship with Korben, and the generic Lord of the Rings Sauron type threat to the Earth.


Please get off the screen, you’re ruining the movie

The cast is also fifty-fifty.  Bruce Willis is perfect for the role because he’s perfected the sullen action hero.  He can be tough but also pulls of humor and softer moments.  Likewise, Milla Jovovich is iconic in the Leeloo role which is ironic since most of her other films are quite poor.  Gary Oldman continues to be a chameleon by always appearing different in almost every role he takes.  The movie doesn’t use a lot of characters enough like Ian Holm or do enough to set up the characters played by Luke Perry and John Bluthal in the opening sequence.  It does however over-insert the comic relief from Chris Tucker which is so unnecessary in the quantity in which he appears.


Sing, sing a song!

The movie to this day looks great however.  The city of the future looks just as good as some of today’s special effects and is a lighter, happier world than Blade Runner.  The extreme costumes and styles are fun and even irritating characters like Chris Tucker at least are visually interesting to watch.  The Fifth Element excels on this front.

The Fifth Element is a problematic movie in that it does a great job with some of its style and look and fails miserably in other aspects.  The second half of the movie has portions that are very hard to watch because of the stylized nature of the story and the devolution of the plot…I wish I could say I love The Fifth Element but the movie itself prevents me from doing it.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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