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The Fifth Element (1997)

tomatometer

71

Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 56
Fresh: 40 | Rotten: 16

Visually inventive and gleefully over the top, Luc Besson's The Fifth Element is a fantastic piece of pop sci-fi that never takes itself too seriously.

42

Average Rating: 5.1/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 7

Visually inventive and gleefully over the top, Luc Besson's The Fifth Element is a fantastic piece of pop sci-fi that never takes itself too seriously.

audience

87

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 582,730

My Rating

Movie Info

Good and evil battle for the future of 23rd century Earth in this visually striking big-budget science fiction epic. In the movie's prologue, which is set in 1914, scientists gather in Egypt at the site of an event that transpired centuries earlier. Aliens, it seemed, arrived to collect four stones representing the four basic elements (earth, air, fire and water) - warning their human contacts that the objects were no longer safe on Earth. A few hundred years later (in the 23rd century), a huge

PG-13,

Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen

Dec 9, 1997

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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All Critics (58) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (16) | DVD (43)

A hodgepodge of elements that don't comfortably coalesce.

September 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (4)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Besson's futuristic fable is flawed by a messy narrative which strains to incorporate far too many grotesque and eccentric characters.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Fifth Element has to be the most creative visualization since Tim Burton's first Batman in 1989. On top of that, it's a whole lot of fun.

June 18, 2002 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's no doubt about it, when it comes to saving the world, Bruce Willis is your man. He does it with smarts and style, humor and courage.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Besson directs with ceaseless flamboyance and with an obvious enthusiasm for his film's comic book conceits. But the tone of The Fifth Element is often terribly shrill, especially when attention shifts to grating minor characters.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the great goofy movies -- a film so preposterous I wasn't surprised to discover it was written by a teenage boy.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Loud, long, and overwhelming...

March 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Stylish and very violent sci-fi action flick.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Pure eye-candy and a rollicking good-time.

March 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

It's a triumph of form over content, but it's a stunning triumph.

February 3, 2008 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

I knew where it was going at all times, but the ride was excellent.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

The story is such a cut-rate kid's sci-fi fairy tale that at one point Evil actually calls Gary Oldman on the phone (and it isn't played for laughs).

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat | Comments (2)
Film Threat

Besson has done a solid, if not outstanding, job in bringing his story, written as a teenager, to the big screen.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

A motion picture with the body of a mainstream blockbuster but the spirit of a trendy cult flick.

January 26, 2005 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing | Comment (1)
Creative Loafing

The special effects provided Besson with the tools to provide the movie with the spectacular images, displaying the eagerness of a child in a candy store.

August 29, 2003 Full Review
rec.arts.movies.reviews

It's cyberpunk!

April 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Everything from the visual effects to the costume design seems to shout out like a precocious child: "Look at me!"

March 18, 2003 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

The best-looking science fiction movie to come out in years, with fabulous sets, costumes and special effects, but its plot doesn't quite measure up to its appearance.

March 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Fifth Element doesn't reach the level of great sci-fi to which it clearly aspires because it has too many characters doing too many things for too few reasons. Still, it's a lot of fun.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

don't mind the one-dimensional characters and the sci-fi nonsense, but I really could have done without the unfunny, very French humor.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal
Montreal Film Journal

Slam-dunk sci-fi extravaganza.

August 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

The film's most basic conceit -- that there is an anti-life that, despite its nature, can have a desire and can operate physically in this universe, using its elements -- is not only never explained, it can't be.

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

The pace is perfect, the combination of international casting superb and the cinematography sublime.

April 17, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

Audience Reviews for The Fifth Element

It's the weirdest, coolest futuristic movie I've ever seen. The story is pretty cool and Gary Oldman is especially cool as the arch-villain. It's rare to find a sci-fi movie like this anymore. Bruce Willis is of course the go-to action king of films.
January 3, 2014
Raajay

Super Reviewer

Subtlety is most definitely not the order of the day in Luc Besson's high camp space opera, and it's scattershot approach does mean there are a few things about it I don't appreciate. The soundtrack is occasionally horrendous, Jean Paul Gaultier's insistence (as usual) on dressing half the male cast up as the off Broadway chapter of the Erasure fan club, and most of all, Chris Tucker who is so irritating it makes my teeth hurt. What makes the film work is it's sense of humour which permeates the entire proceedings and it's breakneck pace that means it never dwells too long on any particular aspect of the story. There are some great action sequences, cool Gilliam-esque production design, and loads of funny moments, mostly supplied by Gary Oldman who steals every scene he is in as a kind of psychotic southern sci fi version of Terry-Thomas. Silly, tongue in cheek and hugely entertaining.
November 19, 2013
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

An absurd, visually spectacular, totally goofy sci-fi good vs. evil tale that takes place in a futuristic society where a taxi cab driver (Bruce Willis) is compelled to assist an alien (Milla Jovovich) in bringing down the evil planet that is threatening to destroy earth. It's a ridiculously nerdy script of the highest order, but the film's ability to come across as totally self-aware of it's insanity is a nice surprise, as sometimes you will see sci-fi films go with the pretentious "this is important" approach. It's a hard movie to recommend because it is so stupid and totally goofy in a campy way, but I have to say I enjoyed it. Sure it is a little over-long, but any time you have Gary Oldman sporting a southern accent and being in total villain mode, how can you not help but watch? The visuals are very impressive for its day and age, and Willis's workmanlike performance is a nice move. Not everyone's cup of tea by a large stretch, but for fans of sci-fi, it has to be respected.
July 24, 2012
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

The Fifth Element simply dazzles in all aspects. Congratulations Luc Besson.The plot is easy to pickup and follow, even for a picture heavy on the science fiction. Most of the high tech and futuristic elements are left to the imagination with very little explanations to back them up; however, the film easily makes up for it with its characters, visuals, and 120 minute story. One in which the lead hero and villain never cross paths.The settings and costumes are highly eccentric, yet somehow mesh right into the nature of the film. The use of CG is employed at the right times in good combination with a fitting soundtrack.Bruce Willis is a fine selection for the lead; able to dish out the pain and the humor in balanced quantities. Milla Jovovich is a scene stealer with her outlandish character. Gary Oldman is just superb as Zorg.Coming from all directions The Fifth Element is excellent. There is so much memorable pieces which makes it a highly recommendable picture.
June 14, 2012
skactopus
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

    1. Korben Dallas: Anyone else want to negotiate?
    – Submitted by Jacob M (11 months ago)
    1. Jean-Baptiste-Emmanuel Zorg: [unfazed after an explosion erupted right behind him] Bring me the priest.
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    – Submitted by Jax D (17 months ago)
    1. Ruby Rhod: Korben, my man! I ain't got no fire!
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    1. Korben Dallas: Listen lady, I only speak two languages: English and bad English.
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December 6, 2011:
Angelina Jolie in Talks for Luc Besson's Next
It's described as "a dramatic thriller that is rooted in true scientific elements."
October 14, 2010:
Luc Besson Plans Epic Sci-Fi Film
Luc Besson is planning a return to sci-fi with his next project, which he describes as "'The Fifth...
March 14, 2007:
Besson Contemplates Post-"Fifth Element" Return to Sci-Fi
"The Fifth Element" was Luc Besson's only foray into science fiction. Though praised by...

Foreign Titles

  • Le Cinquième élément (FR)
  • El quinto elemento (ES)
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