October 10, 2010

The Fifth Element - 1997

Director: Luc Besson
Writers: Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen
Starring: Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Ian Holm, Gary Oldman

"Leeloo Dallas multipass." A mysterious alien race shows up, interrupting an archaeological discovery on Earth in 1914, explaining that "the stones are not safe" on Earth due to the coming war, and in 300 years when "a great evil" comes, the aliens will return with the stones. Cut to 2214, and ex-military-man-turned-cab-driver Korben Dallas (Willis) having the good fortune to be dropped in on by the mysterious Leeloo (Jovovich), who asks to be taken to priest Vito Cornelius (Holm). It turns out the woman has a connection to the stones destined to save the universe from aforementioned great evil. The three are pursued by the evil Zorg (Oldman), intent on taking the stones for his own nefarious purposes.

This is, very nearly, the best action sci-fi film I've ever seen. (The best dramatic sci-fi film is, of course, Moon.) The plot is a great twist on a classic motif of mythology, and the visuals of Besson's future world are richly detailed. Few excel more than Willis at being a normal guy who hides his badassery, and Oldman with that pseudo-Southern accent is possibly my favorite movie villain of all time. Then, out of nowhere, this happens:
Chris Tucker plays a radio DJ named Ruby Rhod, who in about 30 seconds of screentime, eclipses Superbad's Fogell/McLovin as the most annoying character ever captured on film. He serves no purpose to the plot whatsoever, and we don't even get the pleasure of seeing him die. Rhod was the overdone piece of meat in an otherwise gourmet meal. A

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