The Fifth Element (1997)

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A genetically engineered “perfect being” enlists the help of a cab driver to save Earth from a malevolent extraterrestrial entity.

Subtlety is most definitely not the order of the day in Luc Besson’s high camp space opera, and its scatter shot approach does mean there are a few things about it that I do not appreciate. The soundtrack is occasionally horrendous, Jean Paul Gaultier’s inevitable insistence  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. But what makes the film work is its sense of humour which permeates the entire proceedings and a breakneck pace that means it never dwells too long on any particular aspect of the story. There are some great action sequences, cool Terry Gilliam-esque production design and lots of funny moments, mostly supplied by Gary Oldman who steals every scene he is in as a kind of psychotic Deep Southern sci-fi version of Terry-Thomas.

Silly, tongue in cheek and hugely entertaining.

8/10

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