The Fifth Element (DVD, 2006, 2-Disc Set, DVD + UMD Combo)

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Korben Dallas is Supergreen! The Fifth Element

Jul 20, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Slick futuristic action flick with humour and explosions in perfect ratio.

Cons:none.

The Bottom Line: This is a great classic, bold and entertaining. It is funny and frenetic and thoroughly enjoyable.


The Fifth Element (1997) Written and Directed by Luc Besson

”What's wrong with you? What you screamin' for? Every 5 minutes there's somethin', a bomb or somethin'. I'm leavin'. bzzzz.” Ruby Rhod, Galactic DJ.

Our story of the future begins in the past. A dig in Egypt in 1914 threatens to reveal a secret that has been guarded for almost 5000 years. It is so important, that a priest is willing to poison the archaeologist and the reporter who are about to uncover the Fifth Element, but there is intervention from the heavens. Aliens land.

They take the Fifth Element, and the stones that unlock its powers with them, but promise to return in 300 years when they will be needed to stop a cosmic evil.

In the future, Korben Dallas has been retired from the military for six months. He has an apartment that takes the concept of efficiency to a whole new level, and a job flying a cab around New York. It is obvious this is a man who is lacking something in his life, but he is not really sure what it is.

Out in space, Mangalore raiders attack the Mondoshawans as they return to earth to fight the evil. There is one survivor, a few cells in a hand. From that material, they rebuild the person, despite some very unusual genetic properties.

What they get is something…perfect. She is beautiful, strong, intelligent, and fearless, and she escapes the government lab where she was resurrected.

Her path is blocked; she’s high on a skyscraper ledge, so she leaps, and lands in Korben’s cab. Despite the wreck, and the police difficulties that she rains down on him, Korben chooses to help her, taking her to the only thing she says that he can recognize as being English. Priest Vito Cornelius.

Father Cornelius is part of the order that guards the secret of the Fifth Element, and it is his job to aid Leeloo. The problem is there is a mass of evil the size of a small moon heading for Earth to destroy all life, and it has agents on the Earth to help it.

Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg is rich, ruthless, and reprehensible. He has his agents looking for the stones, and in fact is responsible for the Mangalore attack on Leeloo’s ship. He will stop at nothing to get the stones for his employer, Mr. Shadow.

Further, the Federation knows of the danger, and they choose the only agent they have with all the necessary training to pull off the mission of retrieving the stones and activating the Fifth Element. And that is Korben Dallas.

Operating under the premise that the old tricks are the best tricks, the military rigs a contest, and Korben wins an all expenses paid trip for two to Flauston Paradise, where he will rendezvous with the person who has the stones; the Diva Plavalaguna.

But with the Opera booked for months, and so many dignitaries bringing so much security, there is no way to get to Flauston Paradise. Except for those tickets, so not only is the military breaking laws to use them, you have the thugs trying to steal them, and the priest and Leeloo. It’s a wonderful comedy of errors.

Eventually, it’s Korben and Leeloo, on the flight, with Father Cornelius stowing away in the landing gear. The Mangaloids use their own ship, and their shape shifting powers to get on board.

The Diva is an alien, a blue and exotic beauty. And her performance is a delightful number from the opera "Lucia di Lammermoor" Act 3, Scene 1: Mad scene "Il dolce suono mi colpi'..." performed by the soprano Inva Mula Tchako, along with an original composition called “Diva Dance” that takes the opera into the future and into choreographed violence. It’s an aria that could (possibly) delight Epinions own Operatic Expert, Smorg.

On the way to Flauston Paradise, Korben meets, and endures self important Media Jockey Ruby Rhod. Hyperkinetic, cutting edge and full of himself, Ruby Rhod has all the calming effect of nails on chalkboards. But fate conspires to make him necessary to Korben so the war on Flauston is broadcast live. I never thought when I first say him with his Qubert hairdo and leopard print leotard that I would grow fond of him. But I did.

So all the elements are in place; planetary ball of evil rushing towards Earth, four faction converging on Flauston Paradise to try to get the stones, and the fate of the world resting firmly on Leeloo’s slender snowy shoulders.

There are many things that make this movie so enjoyable. One, the future is a urban dystopia that is all too familiar; crowding, crime, depersonalization and traffic. Two, the future looks a lot like a Mobius Comic. At first, I thought this was an adaptation of something that French comic artist had done. You probably know him (if at all) from the pages of Heavy Metal. (Speaking of which, does Korben remind you of anyone from the Heavy Metal Movie? A cab driver, perhaps?) The production value is great; they went into great detail on many of the shots, and worked very hard to have a consistent feel.

Second, there are some great over the top characters here. They are memorable, endearing, and funny. No one is quite normal; Korben comes the closest. Zorg and Ruby Rhod are the most extreme characters. Zorg is a weird amalgam of Buck Rodger’s villain, and Kaiser Sousee with an accent for Deliverance.

Priest Vito Cornelius: You're a monster, Zorg.
Zorg: I know.


Ruby Rhod is like Paris Hilton with talent, in boy drag, overdosing on Ritalin. His mile-a-minute mouth is annoying, and he hits notes in a girly scream that only dogs can hear, but as the ship is being blown apart, you really come to care what happens to him. It is a brilliant comedic performance, and definitely one of a kind. Chris Tucker is a genius, the rest of his film career notwithstanding.

Vito Cornelius is a sweet academic in way over his head. Seeing Ian Holm trying to pull off James Bondesque stunts is infinitely entertaining.

Korben Dallas is a jaded, cynical man with personal problems and more patience than I would have. All he wants is a woman to love him. A perfect woman. Bruce Willis brings not only the humor and the bad@$$ to the role, but the tired acceptance of human stupidity that one usually only sees in combat veterans and public school teachers. It is a great role, and he rides it for all it is worth.

And lastly, Leeloo AKA Leeloo Minai Lekarariba-Laminai-Tchai Ekbat De Sebat, the Universe’s perfect being, and the Fifth Element. Mila Jovovich shines as this tough and tender character. There is nudity, for the heterosexual crowd, and throughout she is lovely, even with that hideously orange hair. That colour is not found in nature. Mila excels at portraying tough, even violent characters without coming across as a b*tch, or a butch. And the language she speaks, she and director Luc Besson created and can speak to each other. That speaks to a very intelligent mind. It certainly added a touch of the exotic.

The movie has plot, and pacing; there is a recurrent theme of a conversation carrying forward, as the scene switches back and forth among the various players. Leeloo will start a line about where the stones are, and Zorg, half a galaxy away, will finish it. It is very clever and engaging technique.

The music throughout lends an air of the exotic. Tempo matches mood, and the beat tends to dictate the action.

All these various elements tie together to form a greater whole, much like the central concept of the movie; the four stones of the four elements pouring their power through the central Fifth Element.

And this movie has an element that I find rare and wondrous; rewatchability.


Recommend this product? Yes

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