The Fifth Element | Chicago Reader

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Rated PG-13 · 127 minutes · 1997

Science fiction
This grandiose and soulless SF effects vehicle (1997) seems hell-bent on achieving cult status with its blowout production design, pyrotechnics, and pithy one-liners. A cabdriver who's also a government agent (Bruce Willis) hooks up with a messianic fare (Milla Jovovich) to fight the forces of evil, while a trash-media host (Chris Tucker) gives an elaborate play-by-play. The ultraviolent, unintelligible heroine is apparently some kind of feminine archetype for director Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita), and her function in the movie is full of contradictions. She can protect herself against anything until Willis shows up to help her, and when she changes clothes, male characters politely turn their backs so we can get a better view. The archness of this whole project is repellent; it barely conceals its makers' smugness about how little it takes to get us obsessed with a product.

See our full review: This week's Culture Vultures recommend:

This week's Culture Vultures recommend:

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Official Site:
Director: Luc Besson
Producer: Patrice Ledoux and Iain Smith
Cast: Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm, Milla Jovovich, Chris Tucker, Luke Perry, Brion James, Tommy ``Tiny'' Lister Jr., Lee Evans, Charlie Creed-Miles, Tricky, John Neville, John Bluthal, Maiwenn Le Besco and Mathieu Kassovitz

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