The Fifth Element | Chicago Reader

The Fifth Element

This grandiose and soulless SF effects vehicle (1997) seems hell-bent on achieving cult status with its blowout production design, pyrotechnics, and pithy one-liners. A cabdriver who's also a government agent (Bruce Willis) hooks up with a messianic fare (Milla Jovovich) to fight the forces of evil, while a trash-media host (Chris Tucker) gives an elaborate play-by-play. The ultraviolent, unintelligible heroine is apparently some kind of feminine archetype for director Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita), and her function in the movie is full of contradictions. She can protect herself against anything until Willis shows up to help her, and when she changes clothes, male characters politely turn their backs so we can get a better view. The archness of this whole project is repellent; it barely conceals its makers' smugness about how little it takes to get us obsessed with a product.

Credits

Director:

  • Luc Besson

Cast:

  • Bruce Willis
  • Gary Oldman
  • Ian Holm
  • Milla Jovovich
  • Chris Tucker
  • Luke Perry
  • Brion James
  • Tommy ``Tiny'' Lister Jr.
  • Lee Evans
  • Charlie Creed-Miles
  • Tricky
  • John Neville
  • John Bluthal
  • Maiwenn Le Besco
  • Mathieu Kassovitz

Producers:

  • Patrice Ledoux
  • Iain Smith

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