When Luc Besson’s space opera opened the Cannes Film Festival, critics howled with annoyance at what was perceived to be a brainless space-opera; surely the French auteur had more to say? The writer/director claimed that he wrote this as a child; it shows, but the naivety and underlying excitement that Besson conjures up from his futuristic scenario made the Fifth Element an endlessly watchable film, easy to overlook due to its crowd-pleasing quality.
Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) makes his living as a downtrodden taxi-driver, but a chance encounter with Lee Loo (Milla Jovovich sends him into space to battle a race of aliens, led by Zorg (Gary Oldman), who has designs on earth. Besson fills his movie with memorable details, from Lee Loo’s screeching “Multipass, mulitpass’ to the even higher pitched opera singer who performs on the intergalactic cruise ship that Korben finds himself on. Chris Tucker is an annoying loud comic relief, but the sensational use of CGI and elaborate production design keep The Fifth Element on track; there’s never a dull moment.