Your (Weekly) Summer Movie Guide to Movies You Should Watch Again: The Fifth Element

Cast: Bruce Willis (Korben Dallas), Gary Oldman (Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg), Milla Jovovich (Leeloo), Ian Holm (Father Cornelius), Chris Tucker (Ruby Rhod)

Director: Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, The Professional, The Messenger)

Plot: Without giving anything away, the film is about a taxi driver who helps a supreme being attempt to save the planet from intergalactic doom and death. Did I mention it's set in the future? It's set in the future.

Why you should watch it: While perhaps not the greatest movie, nor the most box-office breaking, The Fifth Element is an underrated gem. It falls in the canon of the cult classic, but I don't think it could even be considered that, seeing as most people I speak with absolutely love the film. Directed by Frenchman Luc Besson, this was his third "Hollywood" attempt at a movie. His first two notable films, La Femme Nikita and The Professional were underground heavyweights in their own right. This film has Besson using the old action-movie standby: Bruce Willis. Willis is, of course, right in his wheelhouse.

If you like to see Bruce Willis shoot things, fire off quips, and give the occasional "Bruce Willis Wide Eye Stare And Kill Folks" thing, then this is a movie for you. However, it doesn't venture into the typical late 80s, early 90s Willis cheese. I'm talking to you, Striking Distance. When Willis has a great character to work with (he does here), when he has dialogue written to highlight his acting/comedy chops (he does here), and when he gets to fire off big-ass guns (he does here), then Willis can truly make you enjoy a film. His Korben Dallas is a former military specialist, now cab hack, who falls ass-backwards into helping save the planet from certain destruction. He does this by helping the title character fulfill the purpose for which she was created.

Earth, wind, fire, and air are the four elements. Milla Jovovich is the fifth. Well, her character is. She is a divine being with the ability to save the world. I've never been sold on Jovovich as an actress. Face it, she won't challenge Streep for any awards. However, she does alright in this movie, mostly because her character speaks very little English. She pairs up with Ian Holm's nervous priest to try to save the world. Between Willis and these two, you'd think there's enough over-the-top to go around. You'd be wrong.

Gary Oldman is, of course, the best part of the movie. He's a chameleon. He can portray any person with any accent at any time and pull it off. His Zorg is a cold, calculating, money-and-violence driven character. Oldman puts his specific twist on the character in giving Zorg great mannerisms and just the slightest hint of a speech impediment. "Not one or two or three, but four! FOUR STONES!"

I'll keep this short. Chris Tucker plays an entertainer named Ruby Rhod. Loudly. Emphatically. Comedically. You'll either like him or you won't.

I've always liked Luc Besson. I first became aware of his writing and directing from watching La Femme Nikita. I thought that to be a very high-concept film, and entertaining as hell. Besson uses fantastic visuals, goes overboard on the violence and explosions, but without them becoming cartoonish. You could tell he was having fun with this movie, and that's about the best word I can use to describe it: fun. It's a fun movie. Give it a shot if you haven't seen it.

Feel free to watch the trailer and see for yourself if you're interested.

The Weekly Movie Guide to Movies You Should Watch Again - Doing It Better Since Summer 2013