Fifth Element

April 27, 2006

Movie Review By: SFAM

Year: 1997

Directed by: Luc Besson

Written by: Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Low

Key Cast Members:

  • Korben Dallas: Bruce Willis
  • Leeloo: Milla Jovovich
  • Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg: Gary Oldman
  • Father Vito Cornelius: Ian Holm
  • Ruby Rhod: Chris Tucker
  • Rating: 8 out of 10


    Fifth Element screen capture

     

    Overview: Some movies are just absolute absurd fun – so fun that you end up watching it endlessly. The Fifth Element is that way for me, and is a movie I’ve seen around 20 times or so. The tone of the movie is too light-hearted to be considered a real cyberpunk movie, but like Tank Girl, we can consider this a cyberpunk comedy. The characters are all a hoot, and the movie never takes itself seriously – in fact it’s almost always over the top. Many of the cyberpunk themes still exist in Fifth Element, although, again, they are enacted in a light-hearted way. It’s the visuals that really bring Fifth Element into the cyberpunk subgenre.

     

    Fifth Element screen capture

     

    The Story: 217 years into the future, ultimate evil is again coming to destroy the earth. Ultimate evil takes the form of an absolutely massive malevolent ball of blackness that is on a course to destroy earth. Every attack the Federated Territories try only makes it larger. It turns out that a group of priests has been keeping the ancient technology necessary to destroy ultimate evil – four stones representing the 4 elements, which surround a fifth element. In this case, the fifth element is s beautiful girl (Milla Jovovich), reconstructed from the remains of a small DNA sample.

     

    Fifth Element screen capture

    “Leeloo Dallas, Multi Pass”

     

    Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) is a down and out highly decorated former military commando, now turned failing cabbie, who has a beautiful girl named Leeloo (Jovovich) fall into her cab – literally! The authorities are after her, as it turns out she has escaped those who recreated her. She can’t speak English yet she figures a way to ask for help. After she asks, Korben Dallas takes her to the priest, Father Vito Cornelius, who recognizes her as the Fifth Element, and promptly kicks Korben out.

     

    Fifth Element screen capture

     

    From there, things get crazy. The military approaches Korben for a secret mission to retrieve the stones necessary to stop ultimate evil. The stones are hidden with a famous Diva who is performing at the famous floating hotel, Floston Paradise. At the same time, Zorg, an evil corporate CEO (Gary Oldman) has hired a group of Mangalores (evil, ugly aliens) to retrieve the stones. Simultaneously, Father Vito Cornelius and Leeloo also find a way get to Floston Paradise to retrieve the stones. Things get even weirder when the famous radio host, Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker), an outrageous guy with a penis-head hairdo hosts the Floston Paradise experience with Korben as his guest!

     

    Fifth Element screen capture

     

    The Acting: All the main characters in the Fifth Element are quirky and memorable. Bruce Willis really works as a former hero, now on his last leg. Jovovich is beautiful and otherworldly. Tucker is a riot! This movie really got him known (Rush Hour made him famous though). And Gary Oldman as Zorg is flat out awesome as a completely crazed power-hungry evil doer with a quirky sense of style and salesmanship. Truly, Besson did a great job in casting this.

     

    Fifth Element screen capture

     

    The Visuals: The Fifth Element totally rocks in the cool futuristic visuals department. The colors include dark yellows with neon blues for the backgrounds, saturated blue scenes and orange clothes for the leads. But its the city-scapes, reminiscent of Lang’s Metropolis that are especially memorable. They flat out nail a far out vision of the future. Additionally, we have airports with 30 foot tall trash heaps due to a garbage worker strike, fully automated, ultra-processed McDonalds, deaf rock stars

     

    Fifth Element screen capture

     

    The Editing: The editing in the Fifth Element is just terrific. The splicing of the various story strands, as crazy as they are, flow wonderfully. In discussing the missing stones, the simultaneous, intermixed dialogue between Leeloo and Father Cornelius and Zorg with the Mangalores are just one terrific example of this; the Diva opera singling intermixed with Leeloo’s fighting is another. With the amount of stuff going on here, this could have ended up a disaster. Sylvie Landra, who also edited Leon – the Professional, deserves heaps of praise for this.

     

    Fifth Element screen capture

     

    The Fifth Element Cyberpunked Future: Dropping the crazed fantasy aspects of the stones and ultimate evil, The Fifth Element gives us a pretty dire view of the future. Cities are built high to escape the constant layer of smog that coats the surface; corporations are all-powerful; governments are impotent; fashion statements have gone seriously awry; cockroaches are used as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems – but at least we still get cheap Chinese food! Plus robots now do all our menial work!

     

    Fifth Element screen capture

     

    The Bottom Line: No, the Fifth Element is not intended to be taken seriously. Still, this movie is just far more enjoyable than it has any right to be. The action and romance are fun, the characters are unforgettable, the story is entertaining, the music is great, and the visuals are marvelous! The Fifth Element has been in my regular heavy watching rotation since it came out. Give this a watch if you’re looking for a witty futuristic cyberpunk action-comedy flick.

     

    Go to Page 2: More Fifth Element Screencaps–>>

     

    ~See movies similar to this one~

    This post has been filed under Dystopic Future Movies, Hot Cyberchicks Kicking Butt, 8 Star Movies, Awesome Cyberpunk Visuals, Alien Movies, Cyberpunk movies from 1990 – 1999 by SFAM.

    Cyberpunk Movies by Decade

    While not complete (meaning all cyberpunk movies aren’t listed here), below are the cyberpunk movies I’ve reviewed ordered by decade.

     

    Cyberpunk Movies prior to 1980

     

    Cyberpunk Movies from 1980 – 1989

     

    Cyberpunk Movies from 1990 – 1999

     

    Cyberpunk Movies from 2000 to present

    Movies Ordered by Star Rating

    I’m still in the process of uploading my reviews, but here are the ones I’ve reviewed, ordered by quality.

     

    10 Star Movies

     

    9 Star Movies

     

    8 Star Movies

     

    7 Star Movies

     

    6 Star Movies

     

    5 Star Movies

     

    4 Star Movies

     

    3 Star Movies

     

    2 Star Movies

     

    1 Star Movies

     

    Cybernator

    March 22, 2006

    Movie Review By: SFAM

    Year: 1991

    Directed by: Robert Rundle

    Written by: Robert Rundle & Edward Sanchez

    IMDB Reference

    Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Low

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Very Low

    Key Cast Members:

  • Brent McCord: Lonnie Schuyler
  • Rating: 1 out of 10


    Screencap

     

    Overview: So you wanna make a cyberpunk movie but you don’t have any money, ey? No problem! As long as you have a hand-held video cam, some blue paint and a few extra malleable thin rubber tubes in your garage, you too can shoot your own cyberpunk movie! Fair warning – you might have to spring for a few bucks at Toys-R-Us for some realistic looking guns though, so try to save up a paycheck or two before getting started! Here we have an example of the lowest in cyberpunk cinema. My review will be slightly different than most in that I won’t bother hiding spoilers. Truly, you won’t care. If you watch this movie, you won’t be watching it in eager anticipation of the plot turns. While I do give Cybernator only 1 star, it really is one of those “so bad it’s good movies.” You really might be interested in dropping 6 bucks on this turkey. Think not? Read the review.

     

    Screencap

    Notice the high-tech lasers! Apparently, they only had enough money to draw the pink part in twice, as its always one of two sizes. As another “feature,” whenever the laser fires, the left side of the screen has a nice pink line running down it.

     

    The Story: The movie opens up in a complete dive strip club (a warehouse with a stage made up of black cardboard paper with shiny cut-out stars taped to it), where policeman Brent McCord (Lonnie Schuyler) comes along with his partner to see his stripper girlfriend. Unfortunately, some evil cyborgs have come to kill a US Senator, who just happens to be having sex in a sleazy room in the back (concrete walls, warehouse floor, etc.). After the evil cyborgs kill the senator, they decide to go on a rampage, randomly killing other folk. Of course, our great policeman is able to kill them, even though the cyborgs have ray guns.

     

    Screencap

     

    At the Morgue: the Morgue, which looks surprisingly like a made-up office room, has an Indian doctor (who actually appears to be trying to act – one of the few) who has just completed her autopsy on the two cyborgs. She states of the tough one, “He is covered with a steel titanium alloy…he is virtually indestructible. He was killed when the bullet entered the heart…”

    Hmm…indestructible ey? But can be killed with a bullet through the heart? Hmmm….In any event, the morgue chick is apparently well versed in identifying military cyborgs, and proclaims that these ones are “government property, possibly from the army or something.”

     

    Screencap

    Indestructable! Unless, um, you shoot him in the heart, that is.

     

    Our intrepid detectives then drive over to the local army building. You can tell its an army building due to the army-green colored early 70s oldsmobuick parked outside. They of course walk right into the General’s office, which is the same as the doctor’s office, but the bodies have been removed, and a flag and spaceman picture have been mounted on the wall. If this weren’t enough “reality” for you, the General’s desk has two American flags on it and a plastic toy tank to yet again convey that scary military feeling. This realism would have almost worked except for every so often, the camera veers too high and we see that the top of the general’s office is missing, and appears to be a made-up room in the same warehouse as the nudie bar.

     

    Screencap

    One of the few actual “B” movie actors.

     

    In any event, while the cops are “interrogating” the general, (who tries to throw them off-track by proclaiming that the marines are working on that stuff, not the Army – so don’t bug him!), a random scientist walks in and announces, “Here’s the new design on the Blackhawk 2000 project.” After the General quickly kicks out the scientist, we find out that the Blackhawk 2000 project is “classified!”

     

    Screencap

    Here’s the cybernator again! Apparently, cyborgs in the future randomly gyrate from white to blue skin. I’m guessing they have “mood” skin.

     

    Yes, ladies and gentleman, we have truly well thought-out plot points like this that permeate the movie. But wait – there’s more! That random scientist, who popped his head into the General’s office and spilled the classified program, quickly runs outside (like, RIGHT outside the General’s window) to secretly give the inside scoop to the cops. He of course wants to make sure they are really cops so he says, “You guys are cops? Show me your badges.” Being concerned that he’s meeting them right outside the General’s window, the scientist smartly tells them to meet him later that night in an abandoned alleyway. But alas, he was overheard by the Cybernator – who just happens to be waiting right next to them in a parked truck!

     

    Screencap

    Interestingly, the laser shots don’t always arrive prior to the blood stains.

     

    Unfortunately, our star’s partner gets killed by the Cybernator, so he decides to substitute his stripper girlfriend as his new partner. As the plot continues, we find that it is in fact an evil Colonel (played by an actual B actor – William Smith!) who is behind the nasty cyborgs. What’s worse, our dear police man is actually a cyborg in disguise!!!!! Versus us finding out by some cool way, say, of seeing the skin from his arm come off or something, they instead go for the ingenious method of just announcing it!

     

    Screencap

     

    And now the military wants to kill the evil Colonel, so they capture the stripper and tell Brent that he’s a cyborg, and that he must kill the rogue cyborgs if he ever wants to see his stripper chick again. Are they guarding her at a special military base? Of course not! They appear to be holding the chick at the director’s house. Incidentally, I hope they added the puke green carpet to make us think this was an Army installation, cause if this was his actual decor, Damn!

     

    Screencap

    Apparently the heavy-set dancer in the street qualifies as the “underworld.”

     

    Finally we come to the best scene of the movie – the fat cyberchick scene! This chick is doing her best at belly dancing, but apparently they forgot to give her lessons. Still, it’s the thought that counts, or so I’ve heard. I think this scene is supposed to represent the seedy underground – the place Brent goes to find out where the bad guys are. There’s nothing special here, but the line of the movie – it’s priceless.

     

    Screencap

    Ah yes, yet another random cyborg, enjoying the night delights.

     

    A random sleaze bag dude is truly enjoying himself while watching the sexy belly dancer. Then he notices a cyborg standing nonchalantly beside him. Apparently, the cyborg doesn’t think she’s all that, which pisses off the sleazebag. So he, being a helpless, loser sleaze bag, of course decides to pick a fight, and says:

    Sleaze bag: Cyborg Scum! You’ve got the passion of a toaster!
    Cyborg Response: “Some of my best friends are toasters…You Fuck!!!”

     

    The cyborg then takes out a gun and shoots the sleazebag in the face – definitely the best real laugh of the movie. :)

    Screencap

    He’s almost indestructible…um, unless you rip out his rubber tubes, that is.

     

    The movie goes on and on like this – until the final conflict! At last, we get to the epic battle between the two Blackhawk 2000 Cyborgs – the Cybernator and our cheesy cop detective, Brent. At least we’ll see an epic battle, right? NO!!! Yet again we are fooled. Guess how you beat the evil blue cyborg with the weird little tubes dangling from his head? That’s right – you just take out the tubes! True insanity in action ladies and gents.

     

    Screencap

    Yet another cyborg fight! Two for the price of one!

     

    But wait! There’s more! It turns out that the evil Colonel Peck is…dun dun dun – Brent’s Brother!!!! Why the plot twist? No real reason given…just…um, because the Army is eeeeeeeevil! To which of course, Brent responds, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” (not really…but he should have – instead he says, “Your not my fuckin brother!”)

     

    Screencap

    FYI – I think the gray spray-painted paper glued to the side of the colonel’s head is supposed to be his cyborg skeleton.

     

    The Bottom Line: Now I won’t spoil it by showing you the cheesy ending, or worse, the cheesy rationale for the evil cyborgs, but suffice to say the quality is as good at the end as it is throughout. Rarely have I seen acting and dialog of this caliber. Clearly, the vast majority of the lines were ad-libbed (I hope). And, um, nobody in this movie can ad-lib. Still, Cybernator does qualify as a “So bad it’s good” movie – the type that makes Plan 9 look well thought out. So if you want to see the worst that cyberpunk cinema has to offer, kick back with a group of friends and enjoy!

    ~See movies similar to this one~

    Hmm…indestructible ey? But can be killed with a bullet through the heart? Hmmm….In any event, the morgue chick is apparently well versed in identifying military cyborgs, and proclaims that these ones are “government property, possibly from the army or something.”
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <p align=”center”><img src=”/images/cybernator02.jpg” alt=”Screencap”> </p>
    <div class=”quote”>Indestructable! Unless, um, you shoot him in the heart, that is.</div>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    Our intrepid detectives then drive over to the local army building. You can tell its an army building due to the army-green colored early 70s oldsmobuick parked outside. They of course walk right into the General’s office, which is the same as the doctor’s office, but the bodies have been removed, and a flag and spaceman picture have been mounted on the wall. If this weren’t enough “reality” for you, the General’s desk has two American flags on it and a plastic toy tank to yet again convey that scary military feeling. This realism would have almost worked except for every so often, the camera veers too high and we see that the top of the general’s office is missing, and appears to be a made-up room in the same warehouse as the nudie bar.
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <p align=”center”><img src=”/images/cybernator10.jpg” alt=”Screencap”> </p>
    <div class=”quote”>One of the few actual “B” movie actors.</div>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    In any event, while the cops are “interrogating” the general, (who tries to throw them off-track by proclaiming that the marines are working on that stuff, not the Army – so don’t bug him!), a random scientist walks in and announces, “Here’s the new design on the Blackhawk 2000 project.” After the General quickly kicks out the scientist, we find out that the Blackhawk 2000 project is “classified!”
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <p align=”center”><img src=”/images/cybernator04.jpg” alt=”Screencap”> </p>
    <div class=”quote”>Here’s the cybernator again! Apparently, cyborgs in the future randomly gyrate from white to blue skin. I’m guessing they have “mood” skin.</div>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    Yes, ladies and gentleman, we have truly well thought-out plot points like this that permeate the movie. But wait – there’s more! That random scientist, who popped his head into the General’s office and spilled the classified program, quickly runs outside (like, RIGHT outside the General’s window) to secretly give the inside scoop to the cops. He of course wants to make sure they are really cops so he says, “You guys are cops? Show me your badges.” Being concerned that he’s meeting them right outside the General’s window, the scientist smartly tells them to meet him later that night in an abandoned alleyway. But alas, he was overheard by the Cybernator – who just happens to be waiting right next to them in a parked truck!
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <p align=”center”><img src=”/images/cybernator05.jpg” alt=”Screencap”> </p>
    <div class=”quote”>Interestingly, the laser shots don’t always arrive prior to the blood stains.</div>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    Unfortunately, our star’s partner gets killed by the Cybernator, so he decides to substitute his stripper girlfriend as his new partner. As the plot continues, we find that it is in fact an evil Colonel (played by an actual B actor – William Smith!) who is behind the nasty cyborgs. What’s worse, our dear police man is actually a cyborg in disguise!!!!! Versus us finding out by some cool way, say, of seeing the skin from his arm come off or something, they instead go for the ingenious method of just announcing it!
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <p align=”center”><img src=”/images/cybernator14.jpg” alt=”Screencap”> </p>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    And now the military wants to kill the evil Colonel, so they capture the stripper and tell Brent that he’s a cyborg, and that he must kill the rogue cyborgs if he ever wants to see his stripper chick again. Are they guarding her at a special military base? Of course not! They appear to be holding the chick at the director’s house. Incidentally, I hope they added the puke green carpet to make us think this was an Army installation, cause if this was his actual decor, Damn!
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <p align=”center”><img src=”/images/cybernator08.jpg” alt=”Screencap”> </p>
    <div class=”quote”> Apparently the heavy-set dancer in the street qualifies as the “underworld.”</div>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    Finally we come to the best scene of the movie – the fat cyberchick scene! This chick is doing her best at belly dancing, but apparently they forgot to give her lessons. Still, it’s the thought that counts, or so I’ve heard. I think this scene is supposed to represent the seedy underground – the place Brent goes to find out where the bad guys are. There’s nothing special here, but the line of the movie – it’s priceless.
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <p align=”center”><img src=”/images/cybernator07.jpg” alt=”Screencap”> </p>
    <div class=”quote”> Ah yes, yet another random cyborg, enjoying the night delights.</div>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    A random sleaze bag dude is truly enjoying himself while watching the sexy belly dancer. Then he notices a cyborg standing nonchalantly beside him. Apparently, the cyborg doesn’t think she’s all that, which pisses off the sleazebag. So he, being a helpless, loser sleaze bag, of course decides to pick a fight, and says:
    <blockquote><strong>Sleaze bag:</strong> Cyborg Scum! You’ve got the passion of a toaster!
    <strong>Cyborg Response:</strong> “Some of my best friends are toasters…You Fuck!!!”</blockquote>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    The cyborg then takes out a gun and shoots the sleazebag in the face – definitely the best real laugh of the movie. ':)'
    <p align=”center”><img src=”/images/cybernator09.jpg” alt=”Screencap”> </p>
    <div class=”quote”>He’s almost indestructible…um, unless you rip out his rubber tubes, that is.</div>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    The movie goes on and on like this – until the final conflict! At last, we get to the epic battle between the two Blackhawk 2000 Cyborgs – the Cybernator and our cheesy cop detective, Brent. At least we’ll see an epic battle, right? NO!!! Yet again we are fooled. Guess how you beat the evil blue cyborg with the weird little tubes dangling from his head? That’s right – you just take out the tubes! True insanity in action ladies and gents.
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <p align=”center”><img src=”/images/cybernator11.jpg” alt=”Screencap”> </p>
    <div class=”quote”>Yet another cyborg fight! Two for the price of one!</div>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    But wait! There’s more! It turns out that the evil Colonel Peck is…dun dun dun – Brent’s Brother!!!! Why the plot twist? No real reason given…just…um, because the Army is eeeeeeeevil! To which of course, Brent responds, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” (not really…but he should have – instead he says, “Your not my fuckin brother!”)
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <p align=”center”><img src=”/images/cybernator13.jpg” alt=”Screencap”> </p>
    <div class=”quote”>FYI – I think the gray spray-painted paper glued to the side of the colonel’s head is supposed to be his cyborg skeleton.</div>
    <p>&nbsp; </p>
    <span class=”iTitle”>The Bottom Line: </span>Now I won’t spoil it by showing you the cheesy ending, or worse, the cheesy rationale for the evil cyborgs, but suffice to say the quality is as good at the end as it is throughout. Rarely have I seen acting and dialog of this caliber. Clearly, the vast majority of the lines were ad-libbed (I hope). And, um, nobody in this movie can ad-lib. Still, Cybernator does qualify as a “So bad it’s good” movie – the type that makes Plan 9 look well thought out. So if you want to see the worst that cyberpunk cinema has to offer, kick back with a group of friends and enjoy!

    This post has been filed under 1 Star Movies, Man-machine Interface, B Cyberpunk Cinema, Cyberpunk movies from 1990 – 1999 by SFAM.