Mixed or average reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22
Watch On
  1. The cast is a delight, but it's Willis who is the film's true "fifth element," giving it life, depth and humanity.
  2. 80
    An entertaining tangle of pop aesthetic and comic book myth that occasionally bogs down, but manages to be ingratiating for all its defects.
  3. 78
    Although the film tends to suffer from a severe case of overt preachiness in the third reel (shades of James Cameron's "The Abyss"), it's still a wonderfully visual, exciting ride.
  4. What an attempt, and what a work of the imagination. The Fifth Element' will change the look of science fiction and will probably be imitated for years.
  5. It's ludicrous, but it's fun. Besson is a filmmaker so in love with his own daffy excesses that he's able to pull us, laughing, right into his world of loony pop. [9 May 1997]
  6. 75
    I would not have missed seeing this film, and I recommend it for its richness of imagery. But at 127 minutes, which seems a reasonable length, it plays long.
  7. 70
    Too long by half, burdened with shabby F/X and offering up some seriously weird performances, this pricy foray into science fiction is a muddle of miscues and narrative bloat--along with a lot of frivolous fun.
  8. There’s so much high-voltage fun running throughout this comic sci-fantasy -- engineered gleefully by director Luc Besson -- you’re hard-pressed to be unaffected.
  9. The future-shock details are witty, the sets and skyscapes spectacular. Besson may not be a good director, exactly, but he's a wizard at retrofitting cliches.
  10. The movie unreels like a depressive in a manic phase, a frenzy of lightning-fast cuts, cuts, cuts.
  11. The action is fast, furious, and as wacky as science fantasy gets.
  12. As a yammering, swishy talk show host, Chris Tucker is flat-out incomprehensible, while Mr. Oldman preens evilly enough to leave tooth marks on the scenery.
  13. 50
    Besson may have misfired with The Fifth Element, but at least he does it with flair and a sense of humor.
  14. 50
    But for all the fancy-schmancy effects (budget: $90 million-plus), the vision of a hypercongested metropolis is not much more sophisticated than an episode of "The Jetsons." [9 May 1997]
  15. Reviewed by: Barbara Shulgasser
    This is a prodigious something. It's just difficult to say whether that something is good or evil.
  16. Reviewed by: Jimmy Chertkow
    The story is such a cut-rate kid's sci-fi fairy tale that at one point Evil actually calls Gary Oldman on the phone (and it isn't played for laughs).
  17. 50
    It's all densely imagined and more than a little goofy -- perhaps too goofy for the average American viewer.
  18. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Ultimately a mess of diverse ingredients that sorely could have used a rigorous screening process to eliminate all the chaff.
  19. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    With Besson, it's all eye candy; despite all of his mythic posturing, his loop-the-loop camera moves and in-your-face fandangos are the true substance of his films. And that's not much substance. He's a dry-hump orgiast.
  20. 30
    Even the revelation of what the fifth element is at the end is disingenuous--in fact, the archness of this whole project is repellent.
  21. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    It may or may not be the worst movie ever made, but it is one of the most unhinged.
  22. Reviewed by: Scott Rosenberg
    As you sit through the interminable two-hours-plus that constitute The Fifth Element -- a colossally stupid, overbearingly pompous new movie by Luc Besson -- you can expect to become acquainted with boredom on the most elemental level.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 218 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 37
  2. Negative: 3 out of 37
  1. Nov 6, 2010
    I loved this movie. I saw it in the theaters and have watched it on TV a zillion times since. There was an article in the NY Times recentlyI loved this movie. I saw it in the theaters and have watched it on TV a zillion times since. There was an article in the NY Times recently about unforgettable movie lines. The article wasn't particularly good - it forgot about Better Davis's "fasten your seatbelt, it's gonna be a bumpy ride" and so on. But it got me thinking. And what popped into my mind (forgive me) were two lines from The Fifth Element that I found unforgettable: "Negative, I am a meat popsicle." and "Does anyone else want to negotiate?" And then there is the memorable "It sa, it sa, it sa..." I am really curious what it is that so turned the critics off. I am a fan for life of this whimsical, silly, funny, well-acted and yes, sentimental, film. Love might not save the world, but wait - it's on again this week! Who cares!?! Full Review »
  2. Feb 9, 2012
    The Fifth Element is a delight from beginning to end not just because it is one of the most visually adventurous films of all time but becauseThe Fifth Element is a delight from beginning to end not just because it is one of the most visually adventurous films of all time but because it encapsulates everything that great cinema should be, and that is moving, clever and most of all fun. The film tells the story of Corben Dallas (Bruce Willis) a taxi driver in the 23rd century who used to be a secret agent. He is recruited to complete another mission, this time to save the world from an extremely powerful entity heading for earth. To do so he needs the help of Leeloo (Milla Jovovich), a mysterious woman who speaks an ancient language and can eat an insane amount of roast chicken. He is also assisted by an old priest (Ian Holm) and an inconsiderate shock jock (Chris Tucker). The film has a wicked sense of humour thanks to a great script which keeps the film trundling along at an exhilarating pace while never making the film hard to follow. The script (co-written by Luc Besson) not only emphasises the themes of the film but also sticks them in your mind so that by the end you have a plethora of lasting thoughts and emotions. As stated about, despite the films depth and pace it is never hard to watch. In fact its one of the easiest viewing experiences because the film works on so many levels. From a light hearted actioner to a serious commentary on love and religion the film just works. The direction by Luc Besson is flawless as the action sequences have a perfect fluidity to them. The finest part of the film however is the score which is unconventional yet incredibly powerful with the finale being a perfect example of how well it works. The depiction of the future is peculiar but stunning at the same time thanks to some inventive cityscapes (thanks to some impressive CGI that still holds up 15 years later), intriguing aliens, intriguing new technologies and most of all the costumes (by Jean-Paul Gaultier). The costumes capture the tone of this wondrous new world perfectly while still maintaining a sense of reality (nothing beats a good suit, even 200 years in the future). The film still delves into the idea of the future as dystopia but it never feels heavy handed as the film concentrates on the action most of all. The fact that Besson does his up most to ensure the movie is fun, ensures that it is, with the cast always looking like they are having the time of their lives. Speaking of the cast there are some standout performances with both Jovovich and Willis being great leads. In fact it is most likely Jovovichâ Full Review »
  3. Nov 30, 2013
    It has a bright color to the real world grayscale. It also has a funny part to it and has incredible acting, with great action scenes.It has a bright color to the real world grayscale. It also has a funny part to it and has incredible acting, with great action scenes. Overall, I would just love to see this movie again. The ending is even better than the beginning. Full Review »