This Sunday at 6:30 pm at the Alamo Drafthouse Houston, I'm co-hosting Badass 101: The Fifth Element with Drafthouse programmer Robert Saucedo. Badass 101 is our monthly 35mm series, a partnership between the Alamo and BAD that celebrates the tough, the ass-kicking, the uncompromising. Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich, in any role, both apply.
The Fifth Element is such a preposterous movie, the type that bears no summation. It's absurdly overblown, masterfully goofy, alarmingly uneven. Gary Oldman and Chris Tucker chew both ends of the scenery like The Tramp and his Lady sharing a spaghetti noodle. "Tiny" Lister plays the president of Earth. Luke Perry is in it. And yet, thanks to earnest performances by Willis and Jovovich, an astonishing show of imagination from writer/director Luc Besson and absolutely batshit beautiful costumes by the great Jean-Paul Gaultier, the movie is almost criminally fun.
The art design is exultant - every moment of the film is a joy to behold, original and vivid and outrageous. The costumes are truly magnificent, as are the creature and production designs. Everything in this movie looks extravagant and overwhelming, simply ridiculous in the most wonderful way possible. The ensemble cast really works together in that every single actor appears to be having a blast. There are no phoned in performances in The Fifth Element. Every actor is bombastic, every line reading memorable.
This, even though the plot makes not a lick of sense. Besson evidently wrote the first draft of the screenplay when he was in high school, and it rather plays out that way, but the execution is so joyously uninhibited that the concept itself is elevated.
And the film best works because the two central performances sell it. Bruce Willis as a futuristic, former special forces cab driver is just doing his Bruce Willis thing and doing it well, a thing of which I will never, ever grow weary as long as Willis remains committed to it. And Jovovich is a dream as Leeloo, the "perfect being" who spawned a hundred thousand cosplay attempts (none so successful as this one, of course), because she's essentially wearing an ace bandage and wearing the shit out of it, I might add.
So come see it on the big screen for probably the first time in fifteen years! From Robert:
It’s been 15 years since Luc Besson directed his last inarguably great film – THE FIFTH ELEMENT. A tribute to Metal Hurlant magazine (Heavy Metal to us Yanks), STAR WARS and everything in between, THE FIFTH ELEMENT is a perfect piece of ‘90s pop-art bubble gum action spectacle. It’s also a really, really badass movie.
Quiver ladies, quiver - this Sunday, November 18 we’re presenting a rare 35mm screening of THE FIFTH ELEMENT at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Mason Park. Part of the Badass 101 series, co-presented by Badass Digest, this screening promises to awaken that inner badass in you. If you’ve ever jumped around like a spaz – kicking and punching in the air pretending you are Leeloo kicking alien ass to the score of intergalactic opera, you’ve got that badass seed in you just waiting to be nurtured. Pour some water and let that awesomeness grow by attending our screening. You’ll see Bruce Willis as that classic Bruce Willis archetype – smirking, unwitting antihero in over his head. You’ll see Milla Jovovich wrapped in an obscenely skimpy amount of bandages yet still managing to devastate any unlucky space nerd who gets in her way. And yes, you’ll see Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod, the intergalactic disc jockey you love to hate yet can’t stop quoting. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!
THE FIFTH ELEMENT has it all – stellar supporting roles from Gary Oldman, Ian Holm and even Tricky, all manners of ugly aliens and unstoppable evil and gorgeous production designs from renown comic book artists Moebius and Jean-Claude Mezieres.
This screening is only happening one night only so don’t delay in reserving your tickets. Miss out on this screening and the results could be disastrous. Big badda boom.