Sam Strange Remembers: THE FIFTH ELEMENT

Bet you can't guess what the fifth element is. 

As every chemist and RPG player worth their salt knows, the world is compromised of four elements: earth, fire, water and air. But I'm friends with aliens, and I happen to have info on a secret fifth element that know one else knows about but which brings them all together. Therefore, I present to you the five elements: Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Clown Pussy.

I was thinking about this a lot during a brief marriage I enjoyed in Pair-Eee (that is French for Paris ("Boy, those French! They have a different word for everything!")). The result was a really good movie called The Fifth Element. A lot of people called it the new Star Wars when it opened, but I disagree. It's way better than the new Star Wars turned out.

The film begins in Egypt with an old, grizzled Ian Holm looking at drawings on a pyramid wall while Sideshow Luke Perry falls asleep and a human slave illuminates the proceedings with light reflected off a shield. Who they are and how they all got there is not important. Only life is important.

A priest, played by a frazzled, bald Ian Holm decides that this crew knows too much about some secret stuff, so he kills them with poison. It's too late, though. Now that other people have read secret stuff etched into a wall, intergalactic fat robots return to Earth to open up the pyramid and take the four stones held inside.

Things go by pretty fast in The Fifth Element, so let's take a moment to appreciate these fat robots. See, at some point in the future, an all-bad badness is going to come kill the universe. These fat alien robots are the universe's opposite number. Their one and only goal is to save us from the all-bad badness. Given that role, you have to wonder what they're culture is like in the meantime.

Well, I'll tell you. We couldn't go into it in the film, but when not saving the universe, these fat alien robots enjoy the analysis of all great art. On average, they experience about 900-1,100 orgasms annually. The males tend to wear ponytails. The females prefer to let their tummies and coin-slots show. They love Bill Hicks, but do not consider him a comedian.

After this prologue, the film jumps into a hyperactive future. The Fifth Element takes place in a 22nd Century where the French have influenced everything from fashion to what people wear to the way people look. So everything looks like clowns.

We jump into action as the all-bad badness makes its presence known. It's basically a planet made of oil that can grow and move at will and can also make people bleed oil from their foreheads. How it does that is not important. Only life is important.

This shouldn't be a big deal because the future has a peppy Ian Holm just waiting to translate for the fat alien robots that will save everything. No big whoop. Everyone knows this is scheduled to happen, and the suitable response is scheduled as well.

But then, as the fat alien robots head to Earth, they are destroyed by hairless, French Dogmen. So the world is doomed. Luckily, scientists pull a fat robot hand from the wreckage and can rebuild its entire body from the few living cells remaining. They do this, but instead of making a fat alien robot, it shockingly makes a super hot clown named Bo-Bo.

Bo-Bo doesn't know anything about anything because she's basically a baby. When Brion James shows his face at her, she gets scared and runs away. Here we get into one of the weirder aspects of The Fifth Element. See, in the future, the Government and the Police are not connected at all. So when Bo-Bo runs, the police go after and try to kill her, even though the Government knows she could be the key to saving the universe. How all this works is not important. Only life is important.

So she's running and decides to jump off a building into a flying car traffic jam. Here she meets our hero, Houston Dallas, by crashing through the roof of his cab.

There's a lot going on with Houston Dallas. For one thing, he used to be a clown, but age has paled his hair from orange to almost white, so he must wear an orange shirt instead. Dallas is the kind of down on his luck maverick we used to have in movies all the time. He doesn't have issues with guilt or depression. Sometimes he's all smiles and charm; others he's all deadpan silence. It depends on whether he wants to impress a girl or intimidate a man.

We do get some clues about his history, though. He used to be a Government cop, which as we went through already, is completely unrelated to being a Cop cop. His lady friend left him recently. He lives in squalor. His mother is a telephone (played by Lorraine Bracco). And he's always out of matches. Why he's always out of matches is not important. Only smoking tiny cigarettes is important.

Houston Dallas falls in love with Bo-Bo immediately, and saves her from Cop cops so she can get back to Government cops to save the universe. To do this he delivers her to Ian Holm and his sidekick (played by a younger Ian Holm). They, in turn, kick him out of their lives forever.

While all this is happening, we might be tempted to forget about the hairless French Dogmen who shot down the fat robot aliens in the first place, so it's time we learn about them. It turns out they're just mercenaries for a guy named Zork (played by Gary Oldmen).

Zork is a fashion designer. I don't think we ever say that in the film, but you can tell because he has hair on one half of his head and a plastic hat on the other. He's also a gun manufacturer. We see him show off one awesome gun that can freeze, flame, poison, net, blow-up, and shoot things. It even has an easy to accidentally hit self destruct button just in case you're ever in a no-win situation.

Zork is working for the all-bad badness. His job is to ensure the four element stones are out of the picture. Supposedly he's doing this for money, which is stupid when success means the world will end and money therefore made obsolete. But we never intended for Zork to be smart. That's why we gave him a southern accent.

Zork doesn't have the stones he wanted, so he kills all the hairless French Dogmen by not warning them about the self-destruct button on the guns he rewards them with. If they had delivered the stones, he still would have killed them, only in that case it'd be due to "accidental design flaw" instead of "sinister design flaw."

So there are like five or six parties looking for these stones. It turns out, they're on a Hawaii planet called Folsom Paradise. Everyone in the plot converges upon this place to get the rocks. Ian Holm is there, but he does nothing. Bo-Bo is there, but she doesn't do anything either besides beating up a bunch of hairless French Dogmen and getting shot by Zork.

Houston Dallas is there thanks to the Government cops reinstating his 007 status and rigging a radio contest to get him tickets. Apparently, the government simply doesn't have the power to just force their people onto a paradise planet.

So Dallas has to play along with this radio contest angle, which puts him in direct contact with a guy named Jar Jar. Jar Jar is a gay black man with a really high voice and fast speaking pattern. He's almost impossible to understand, so the idea that he's a radio host stretches credibility more than the idea that people in the future listen to the radio.

I would also like to point out the women on the flight to Folsom Paradise. They have slits in their uniform just above their breasts because they are not human and that's where their air gets in from. It's not a blindly-stabbing at futuristic fashion type thing.

The ladies also have a very interesting genetic make up. They are half black, half Asian, and half Ginger. In other words, they are Ethnically French and beautiful because their faces are too complicated to call ugly.

Anyway, on Folsom Paradise, all kinds of shit goes down. Houston Dallas watches Bjork sing a song. Then Bjork gets shot. Then, on a hunch, he puts his hands in Bjork's stomach and pulls out the stones that everyone is looking for.

Meanwhile, Zork storms the planet, kills everyone, shoots Bo-Bo, steals a pretty looking box which he thinks has the stones, and sets a bomb before leaving. It turns out he just has an empty box, so he goes back.

Houston Dallas finds Bo-Bo and Ian Holm and Jar Jar and they all try to escape, but they're stopped by Zork who demands the stones. Both Zork and Dallas have the same guns so it's a bit of a French-Mexican standoff.

Zork shoots ice at Dallas, but Dallas counters with fire. Zork shoots bullets, but Dallas blows them up with fire before they can get to him. Zork shoots a net, but burns it with fire. Zork shoots fire, but Dallas freezes it... and so forth until Zork gets so mad he accidentally pushes his self-destruct button and blows up.

So now our motley crew goes back to Earth where they must find that pyramid from the beginning of the film and put Bo-Bo and the stones together in such a way that they become a weapon that will kill the rapidly approaching all-bad badness.

Everything goes well except for Bo-Bo. She's in the right spot but won't give up her Fifth Element for some reason. Dallas tells her he loves her and the two start kissing. Once she's naked, the other rocks shoot energy at her vagina and it all turns into a magic ray that kills the all-bad badness. See? The Fifth Element: Clown Pussy.

Everyone is really happy that the world is saved, especially the president (a giant cross-eyed black man) and the vice president (a British black guy who's voice sounds like he's garbling snot). Houston Dallas and Bo-Bo grow up to have a bunch of little clown children who speak only in baby talk, and the race of fat robot aliens all commit suicide because their one function in the universe has come to pass. The end.

(three stars)

Psst... Sam Strange Remembers: The Fifth Element was co-written by Patrick Ripoll's facebook page.

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