Does Luc Besson’s 1997 film The Fifth Element still hold up 20 years later?! Read my review.
Disclaimer: I feel obligated to warn you that this review may contain spoilers… weird since this movie was made in the late 1990s. Can there really still be spoilers after two decades?
Luc Besson just released the sci-fi/fantasy flick Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets in theaters worldwide. The trailers are spectacular and remind me a lot of The Fifth Element. So when I found the 1997 movie available to stream, it was time to see if it still holds up two decades later.
The movie holds up! Did I still want Korben Dallas and Leeloo to fall in love? Yes! Did I still think that Chris Tucker was the best part? Yes! Did the visual design and effects still impress me? Definitely! Did I still adore seeing a young Luke Perry in the opening scenes? I couldn’t call myself a die-hard OG 90210 fan if I didn’t.
The first time I saw The Fifth Element (in the theater), I had no idea what I was getting into. I wanted to see a romantic comedy but the boy I was trying to impress did not, so… we settled on the fantasy/sci-fi flick. I didn’t know the plot, and back then, I wasn’t a sci-fi or fantasy fan. Fortunately, I’d found my new favorite summer blockbuster by the end of the movie. It felt the same way this time around too.
When Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) and Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) showed up, I remembered exactly why I loved the film. Everything from the scenes in Korben’s futuristic rat-hole of an apartment to the epic hunt for the four element stones kept me in the action the whole time. Their space-love story riveted me from start to finish.
The last third of the movie is the most fun and the most exciting part of the ride. Chris Tucker and Gary Oldman are excellent character actors, and their performances take off as the movie drives itself home. There are alien battles, damsels in distress, sex, gun battles, and at the heart of the story… love.
Besson put together a good cast; to be honest, the team behind the scenes is the real reason to watch the movie. The set designers, the effects wizards, the costume designers… these are the folks that really deserve your applause.
Give the movie a second chance, and if you haven’t seen it before, what are you waiting for?!