27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
"DIE HARD" IN THE 23RD CENTURY,
This review is from: Fifth Element [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Even though THE FIFTH ELEMENT came out in 1997, this hilarious sci-fi action flick is so much fun, I just had to say a word or two about it... right now.
Unlike so many sci-fi productions that sacrifice plot and character development on the altar of special effects, THE FIFTH ELEMENT's strengths lie in its off-beat, tongue-in-cheek story and characters. Yes, there are cool effects to "wow" us, but it's the film's very distinct cyber-punk "look" and witty style that really makes it. Actually, one should check out a sampling of Luc Besson's earlier work-- the "Harry Canyon" segment in HEAVY METAL, the 1981 compliation of adult fantasy animation-- to get a sense of how his vision evolved.
Speaking of characters, I like 'em all-- from the totally stylin' aliens, the Manageewa and Mangalors, to Bruce Willis' Die Hard-esque war hero-turned-Brooklyn cabbie, Korbin Dallas, and Milla Jovovich's other-worldly, yet delightfully innocent "Action Babe" heroine, Lillu. My personal favorite: Gary Oldman's Southern Gentleman-turned-megalomanic villian, Zorg.
A lot of folks have panned Chris Tucker's performance as the screamin', flamin' media personality, Ruby Rhod. To be sure, a little Ruby certainly goes a long way. However, in the context of the story, the Ruby character does work.
My only complaint: sometimes the dialouge seems a little disjointed. Still, like a Borscht-Belt stand-up comic's routine, it doesn't "stand still" long enough for you to really notice (Sid Ceaser, when queried about how he dealt with flubbing on live TV, smiled and said, "You just go faster....").
In short, here's a flick that doesn't take itself seriously. Yet, it is a fine, well-made production, with the emphasis squarely centered on having a blast.
So, just what is "the fifth element," referred to in the title? I'd have to say, "fun!"