Wednesday, May 13, 2009

5/8/09: The Fifth Element (1997)

What if the producers of Blade Runner had decided that in addition to making it a sci-fi action story, it should also be a silly musical comedy-romance and look like a colorful comic book? Well, you'd probably have something like The Fifth Element, a visual smorgasbord that that cares not a whit about logic and instead gleefully embraces the kind of archeological and mystical claptrap on display in movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark, where burning an ancient scroll can wreak havoc or pushing the right brick in the wall of a 2,000-year-old shack can unleash a thousand poison darts.

In the futuristic world of The Fifth Element, there's a giant ball of pure evil, aided by (who else?) Gary Oldman, with good guys Bruce Willis and sexy Milla Jovovich the only hope for saving the world. Given that basic setup, this could have actually been a decent space thriller; regrettably, it's been camped and goofed up to inane proportions. I'll protect what little remains of my dignity and not summarize the actual plot, which is superfluous to the numerous sight gags, Bruce Willis's trademark zingers, and random violence. Suffice it to say that there are laser guns, weird aliens and Oldman doing one of his famous crazy characters with an outrageous accent. Meanwhile, comedian Chris Tucker (future star of the Rush Hour franchise) plays a silly fey pop singer with a ridiculous hairdo; he got in the way of my enjoyment of this movie, while Willis was his typical self and an orange-haired Jovovich is total eye candy. Unfortunately, The Fifth Element tries to do way too many things and ends up failing at nearly all of them. I wanted to see the movie advertised in the poster, but it's as misleading as any advertisement ever created—it would be more accurate if Willis were wearing one of those colorful beanies with a spinning propeller. Rating: 2/5.

No comments: