Thursday, 3 December 2015

The Fifth Element

Egypt
1914

Earth. A huge spacecraft approaches. Down on Earth, an Egyptian lad brings his friends food, water. They work at an ancient tomb, for the westerners digging there. Working on a wall of hieroglyphs is Professor Pacoli, his assistant Billy lounging on a camp chair. The only light inside the chamber is provided by a mirror, held by the lazy Aziz, who is always drifting off, sending the Professor to distraction. He examines the glyphs; when three planets align, a black hole is opened for evil to come, spreading fear and chaos. The ultimate evil. The Professor calculates this as happening every five thousand years...
A priest approaches, taking the water from the boy as he eavesdrops. Professor Pacoli explains the symbols to a disinterested Billy. People are shown gathering the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water around another... a Fifth element. Hearing this, the priest begs forgiveness of God as he poisons the water and enters the chamber. Pouring water for the two, the priest suggests a toast to the Professor's impending fame. Tossing the water, the Professor declares you cannot have a toast with water, sending Billy for the wine in his bag outside. The carvings speak of a weapon to fight evil, of a perfect being. To the priest's horror, and the delight of the children outside, a shadow is descending rapidly across the scene. A gigantic spaceship now hangs over the tomb, cutting out the light. Irritable, the Professor calls for light, just as a dazzling array of lights blaze from the ship.
A gangway drops and, to Billy's terror, huge waddling creatures amble slowly from within. Clad in spiky armour with illuminated features, these remarkable beings resemble nothing so much as bipedal bronze armadillos from the mind of a surrealist. Apologetic, the priest addresses them, to be answered in a guttural growl that suggests both kindness and that the speaker is unused to speaking human languages. The priest and those before him have served them well, but war is coming and the stones – whatever they are – aren't safe on Earth. One of the Mondoshawans – for this is what this strange race are called, inserts a key into the wall and the wall opens to become a tunnel. 
At a signal, one of the aliens renders the Professor unconscious with an unseen psychic force and they shuffle into an inner temple. Four stones on plinths surround a golden statue of a figure, head thrown back, mouth open in a silent shout. This is the Fifth Element. Each stone is removed and placed in a case.
Billy watches, Mauser pistol in hand as the statue floats past, escorted by the creatures, while the priest begs the last remaining Mondoshawan not to leave the Earth defenceless. He is told in three hundred years, when Evil returns, so shall they. Confronting the priest and the Mondoshawan, Billy aims his pistol and, despite the priest's efforts to calm him, trips and fires, his richochets hitting the alien. Immediately, the walls begin to close. The Mondoshawan, unafraid gives the priest his mission; he is to pass down his knowledge to the priests that follow. Time is not important, only life is important. He holds the key forth and is crushed, only the key remains. Vowing to fulfill his mission, the Priests holds the key aloft as the spacecraft rises into the sky. 
Deep Space
300 years later

A Battle-Ship converges on its target. The sensors are useless; one minute indicating a million degrees, the next minus 5,000. The officer in command, General Staedert orders the protective screens be opened. A pulsating mass of cloud and energy clears to reveal a newly-born planetoid, jets of flame issuing at intervals. The General orders a probe be sent.

New York City
Headquarters

The President of the Federated Territories takes his seat in a conference room, scientists and analysts working at screens around the room. On line to General Staedert, the President is in no mood for small talk; he wants the facts. On board the battleship, the General informs him there are no results from the analysis of the planetoid. The object, whatever it is, just keeps getting bigger. His suggestion?; shoot first, ask later. A nod from his own military advisers and the President is about to agree when a hand goes up. This is Priest Vito Cornelius, his neophyte David in attendance. He suggests this is a thing of absolute evil. Shooting will only make it stronger. Only life is important. The President agrees, but to protect 200 Billion lives he's going for the military option.
General Staedert orders 120-ZR missiles loaded. The analysts note the planetoid's surface has solidified, as if anticipating attack. Cornelius appeals to the President, who admits doubt. Not so Staedert, who launches. The planetoid broils and shifts, expanding alarmingly. Another strike, more missiles!; guess what? the planetoid is 200% larger, moving towards the ship. 
The President orders Staedert to withdraw, but too late. Transfixed by terrible fear, the General can only stand immobile, shaking as the inevitable happens, a strange oily substance leaking down from his forehead. The ship, with all her crew, is engulfed in fire, a grinning skull visible in the flames.

South Brooklyn
New York

Korben Dallas snaps out of his nightmare to find he's in his living unit. It's 2 am, March 18, 2263. His aquarium and his 4-a-day blink into life (He's trying to quit) and the cat wants to be let out. 
As he gets up the automat-bed slides away and tonight's freshly made bed replaces it. He gets a call from Finger, an old buddy and as they chat we see a photo of a younger Korden with then-wife alongside his citation for his Medal of Honor and his old beret. All Major Korben (as was) wants is a woman, a perfect woman. His cab has to come in for a six-month overhaul, he's not happy about it, but having been next to him for a thousand missions?; this guy knows how Dallas drives...

Welcome to Fhlosten Paradise! Ruby Rod will be live at five announcing the winner of the Gemini Croquettes contest!. Grabbing his multipass, Korben checks the corridor's clear and leaves the cat watching tv. Only, as the door slides up, what looked like a clear hallway turns out to be a photo on a piece of card strapped to a punk's head. The guy's wired to the eyeballs, holding a weapon on Korben, a Z-140 no less!. 

Lucky for Korben the idiot doesn't know one end of a 140 from the other and he tells the punk it's not loaded; he has to press the little yellow button on the side, which he does, killing the power and getting a face full of Korben's pistol. Relieving twitchy of his 140, Korben stacks it in the drop-down rack with all the others he's taken from schmucks just like this tool...
Clambering into his hover-cab, Korben slaps in his licence and gets the auto-greet; he has FIVE points left on his licence!. Pulling out of his garage, he nearly wipes out as a car flashes past.

'You have 48 hours' Priest Vito Cornelius tells the President that's all the time before Evil adapts itself to our living conditions. Its goal is to exterminate all life, the only weapon capable of stopping it in the hands of the friendly Mondoshawans. As he speaks, a Mondoshawan ship approaches the border, a string of red beacons. He shows an ancient tome with an illustration of the weapon in use, the four elements gathered around a fifth – the supreme being, the ultimate warrior. Together they can bring the 'Light of creation'. If Evil stands there? All life will become death. Just then, the Mondoshawan requests clearance to enter and the President agrees, to Cornelius's relief. Two of the beacons turn green and the ship glides gracefully into our space. Two Mangalore fighters approach, the ugly mercenaries blasting the helpless, unarmed and peaceful Mondoshawans, their crippled ship crashing into the surface of Mars. We are lost!.
The Mangalores establish a connection with Earth, to the office of Zorg. Zorg?, Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg is an omnipresent tycoon, his name and influence everywhere. He greets the Mangalore leader, Aknot as an old friend. Aknot tells him the mission was a success and Zorg invites him to meet at his factory later.
After General Munro informs the President the attack was by unregistered craft, he orders the borders closed and a state of general alert be implemented. He tells the Priest to go home, to rest. Grief-Stricken, Cornelius insists he stays; he's the Mondoshawan representative on Earth. Munro informs the President the crash site has been examined and one survivor found. Survivor?; a hand is all that remains, still gripping the control of the Mondoshawan's ship. All the Nucleo Lab techs need is a few living cells. Professor Mactilburgh tells General Munro normal human DNA has forty memo groups; this however has 200,000 memo groups!. The group passes through a UV sterilisation chamber, the hand is placed inside a large glass cylinder inside a gold-foil-lined room. The Professor shows Munro a normal DNA chain, comparing it to the Mondoshawan's. The compositional elements are the same, but there's more, tightly packed as if engineered to hold infinite genetic knowledge. A perfect cell...

Munro has his hand on the BIG RED BUTTON. Just in case. Mactilburgh begins the process of creating life. Fluorescent liquid begins flowing into the glass cylinder and the machine begins its work, reconstructing bone, sinew, fibres in tiny slices. Working from the information stored in the DNA, the perfect creature is being born. A skeleton, then tissue is woven onto the frame. Then an Ultra-Violet bombardment to prompt skin growth. The shield is removed. There lies a girl, human perhaps twenty, her body slender, her hair vibrant orange. Munro can only gawp as Mactilburgh gently moves his hand away from the BIG RED BUTTON. She's perfect, as promised. Some thermal bandages to keep her warm (And preserve modesty) and a ZAP! of electricity and the girl is alive!.
New life, born adult. Confused, frightened, speaking in alien tongue. Mactilburgh assures a nervous Munro the cylinder is unbreakable. Tapping on the tube, the General tells her she'll have to improve the communications skills. She does; punching through the glass, grabbing Munro and bouncing him off the cylinder before slapping his multipass into the machine's slot and freeing herself. As the alarm goes off, the guys with the zap-sticks turn up and a frightened new-lifeform backs away. Weighing up the odds, she runs and dives at the wall, diving through the protective foil. Mactilburgh is enraptured; she's perfect...
The cops show up, split up. The girl is in a ventilation shaft (Must be a Bruce Willis flick after all...) and the cops not far behind. Breaking through to the outside, she stands on a narrow ledge and is breathless, bewildered at the city she sees. Train-cars flash down and along rails, heading for the lower levels or across town, people stroll along balconies and at all levels, traffic flies past, cabs, cars, delivery trucks and the MTA all floating past at insane speeds. 

She's absolutely petrified, looking down on a mile of the same below. The cops arrive; guns aimed, ordering her to turn around and asking if she understands. Instead of complying, she walks off along the ledge around the corner, getting a fright from a train flashing down past her. A cop car flies up, fixing her in it's beams. Over the pa, the cops order her to stand still for processing. The screen shows NO FILE. And then she jumps.
With the cops roaring down in a vertical pursuit, the girl falls past and through the traffic, flashing past a bus and smashing through the roof of a taxi cab. Guess which one. Fighting for control, Korben swerves around traffic, the auto-voice telling him he's only got one point left on his licence. 

Jabbing the 'AUTOMATIC' button he looks around at the damage. Any survivors?. The perfect girl looks up at him, eyes wide with fright. She smiles, happy, before launching into an explanation Korben can't begin to understand, until the word 'Jela-BOOM!' 'Boom' he can understand, big Bada-Boom... and the cops have caught up, all lights and sirens. You have an unauthorised passenger in your vehicle – thank you for your co-operation. Desperate, the girl fixes on an ad in the back; help an orphan with a big PLEASE HELP across the picture. Playse... Huelp. Dallas can't have any part of this; he's got one point and he'll need that to get this wreck back for it's overhaul. Please open your passenger door. Tears run as she tries the words again. Eyeing her in the mirror, Korben shakes for no. He opens the door and a cop reaches across to snap a lifeline onto the eye in the back of the cab. Finger's gonna kill him. He boosts it; full power, the line paying out from the cop winch and then the winch following. As Korben gets the 'one point deducted' he rips the card machine out too. In for a penny...
More units are called up, one at a McDonald's fly-thru, an older cop who's seen it all. He's too old, too tired and too hungry to go chase some hot-rodder... and definitely too thirsty. He gets two sodas all over him as Korben's cab knocks his tray off the side of the unit. Korben's feeling lucky; if they don't chase you after a mile?, they don't chase you. The four units chasing him make him reconsider. He takes a tight turn under the train tracks, taking the chase over piles of garbage. He's got a jammer, a scan-blocker so the wet-cop decides to blast him for a thief. The ATTACK DETECTION screen warns Korben just in time, he pulls up vertically onto the tracks, rolling away just as a train is about to smash into him. The pursuing cop unit goes straight on through a McDonald's delivery, ending up covered in burgers and buns. Ahh, justice has poetry...
Korben drives past a junction, where a double stack of cop cars waits, guns ready. They turn the cab into swiss cheese as Korben slips his seat harness and tries to duck the cannon shells. They want to play hard?, Korben Dallas can play hard. Slipping back into his harness, he drops it like a stone. Sliding around the unsuspecting traffic the smoking taxi plummets to Earth, heading for the Fog. 
The bottom levels of Manhattan are blanketed in a fog, THE fog with a capital 'F'. Permanently. A good place for bad people to hide. A cruiser glides through the soup, searchlight checking, questing for the maniac in his cab – who's hiding behind an advertising sign, hanging vertically from a wall. Getting no response from his passenger, Korben drops his security screen and clambers down into the back. Shakily, the girl manages to whisper 'Priest – Vito – Cornelius' before passing out.
Patience clearly eroded, Priest Vito Cornelius answers his door to see a man asking for a priest and holding an unconscious girl. Weddings are one floor down; but he's not here for marriage, the girl asked for him by name. Cornelius has no idea who she is and neither does Korben... or anyone, all she has is a tattoo on one arm. The Priest examines it and immediately recognises the symbols for the elements before doing a comedy faint. Most people faint having them. Korben slaps Vito awake, and the Priest explains her language is the Divine language, spoken before time. Admonishing Korben to wake her gently, Vito rushes for assistance and a suitable change of clothes, scaring his apprentice David in the process. Korben tries to wake her, deciding a kiss is in order. Perhaps not; he gets his own pistol shoved in his ear. She stands pointing the gun at him and snarls Divine at him(; something like 'Ekto Gamat'). He tells her his name and coaxes hers out of her, handing her his business card. Her name's a winning hand at Scrabble so he gets her to shorten it; LeeLoo (My spelling). The Priest and his apprentice arrive in a jumble, Cornelius decked out in ceremonial robes for the occasion, waving the Mondoshawan key nervously. LeeLoo is delighted to see symbols she recognises and Korben just wants his gun back. Cornelius hustles Dallas out, but not before he asks what 'Ekto Gamat' means. It means 'Never without my permission.'
Driving what's left of his taxi back to the garage, Korben goes back to his cat. Finger calls; wanting to know where the cab is. Korben stalls him with a tale of a big fare he couldn't resist. How big? - about 5'9, long legs, great skin. And her name?. Her name is LeeLoo.

LeeLoo is a quick study, while devouring chicken she runs through the A-Z of human history online, pausing to rehydrate another massive bowl of food. Reverentially, Priest Vito asks her where the stones are. They've been stolen!. Who would do such a thing?. Well, Zorg naturally. At his factory, an underling is concerned for the economy; perhaps if 500,000 workers could be made redundant?, from one of the cab companies?. Fire 1,000,000 is Zorg's decree, before limping off. Back at the Priest's apartment, David the junior priest brings LeeLoo some new clothes and a make-up kit he just, um happened to have. Vito recalls a man with a limp, asking about the stones a while back and you don't need to be Columbo. Or even Scooby Doo...
Zorg, his Right Arm (His Right-Hand man) and his men are joined by Aknot and the other Mangalore mercs, Aknot in human form. Zorg urges him to change back to his Mangalore self; never be ashamed of who you are. The Federal government has scattered the Mangalore, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Zorg demonstrates the new ZF-1, a multi-purpose weapons system one of his companies makes. It features a titanium recharger, a 3,000 round clip with burst fire mode adjustable from 3 to 300 rounds. He fires at a Police dummy target and demonstrates the new 'Replay' button; firing a vicious burst left and right at the startled mercs none of the rounds hits them, arcing round behind Zorg to lacerate the target. On 'Replay' each round hits the target selected. There's all the Zorg oldies-but-goldies too, the rocket launcher, arrow launcher (exploding poison gas heads), net launcher, flamethrower and the all-new Ice Cube () system, which freezes the target. Polite applause from the Managloreans. And has Aknot brought what he asked him for?. The case is delivered. Empty. Empty?; Empty.
At the same moment, LeeLoo is explaining that the stones were given by the Mondoshawans to someone they could trust, she is to meet that person at a hotel and just needs to find the address. It's on planet Fhlosten in the Angel constellation. Meanwhile, Zorg is angry. He doesn't want an empty case, he wants stones, four of them!. Aknot insists they aren't merchants, but warriors, so Zorg makes it easy; four stones = four crates of ZF-1's, zero stones = zero crates. At their leader's roar, the guns come out and Aknot insists on compensation. Zorg agrees, telling his men to leave a crate for the cause. In an aside, Zorg lectures his Right Arm. He doesn't like warriors; they lack subtlety and back hopeless causes. Now, a killer – a real dyed in the wool killer?, he'd have asked what the little red button under the ZF-1 was for...
Sure enough, while the Mangalores are playing with their new toys, one of them has noticed the little red button. Ka-BOOM! and the mercs are toast. Calmly, Zorg sends for the Priest.

Said Priest is watching his novice Billy at work. He's called up the details, blueprints etc for the Fhlosten Paradise hotel. It won't be easy to get there as there's a charity do on tomorrow and its chock-a-block with celebs. A knock at the door and Right Arm is there with three lumps of muscle to take Cornelius to their master. At Zorg's office the Priest recognises him as the 'art dealer' who called on him. So where are the stones?. Vito wouldn't tell him if he knew – he serves life, where Zorg seeks to destroy it. Using a glass as a metaphor, Zorg explains that life comes from destruction, disorder and chaos. The glass is peaceful, serene even, but boring. If he – and he does – flicks it onto the floor to shatter into fragments, lots of little mechanico-gizmos emerge and sweep up, spray and hoover the site. Think of all the people that created these machines; they'll be able to feed their children who'll grow to have their own. The chain of life. 
A new glass arrives, also a bowl of fruit, automatically. His demonstration over, Zorg drops a cherry into a glass and promptly begins to choke, hitting buttons on his desk to random results; none useful to a man without oxygen. Vito enquires of him; where's the robot to pat you on the back?, the engineer?. His Empire comes crashing down because of one little cherry. Whacking Zorg on the back, Vito dislodges the offending fruit. Throwing the Priest to his goons, Zorg spares his life for saving his. For now.

Three Battle-Ships monitor the planetoid of Evil as one after another, it pulls in and swallows all of the communications satellites in the Galaxy. At NY-HQ the President demands to know why, but his staff are still working on it. Right Arm steers a tiny bug to spy on the HQ as General Munro enters to brief his President. The Mondoshawans aren't happy that their ship was ambushed, but they accept our apology. Perhaps wisely, they never completely trusted the human race, so entrusted the stones to a Diva named PlavaLaguna, due to sing tomorrow at Fhlosten Paradise. Right Arm has heard all this when the President whacks the bug with his shoe. The President wants Munro's best man to go in undercover and he has the perfect man in mind.


A message drops into Korben's mail tube as the Thai, Mister Kim serves him his food at his window. He bets Korben lunch that the message is good news. It's from Zorg; You are fired. Well; at least he won lunch. The phone and it's Ma; he never calls her, doesn't answer his messages. Dallas waves Mister Kim off and he putters off in his floating junk.
Ma wants to come on the trip. What trip?. Korben's won a trip for two to Fhlosten Paradise for ten days. That name just keeps coming up, doesn't it?. Lighting a match, Korben's down to his last. (Remember that) A message arrives as do visitors; General Munro, flanked by Major Iceborg and a Captain. They have a job; to save the World. Korben's mail announces he's won the Gemini Croquettes (Jiminey Cricket, geddit?) contest, courtesy of the fix Munro put in. The daunting Major Iceborg will accompany him, as Mrs. Dallas. Yaroo. Saved by the bell; it's LeeLoo, who's tracked Korben down thanks to his card. Telling the bemused party it's his intended, who hates the military, Korben shoves them into the fridge-freeze and hits the button, lowering them, protesting down into the floor, the shower coming down to replace the fridge.

Korben opens the door to LeeLoo and Priest Vito, who has Korben's gun and wants his tickets. To add to the party, the cops drop in for a Police Control. Bundling LeeLoo into the fridge, Korben sends it up into the ceiling, hiding Vito in his sliding bed. By now, if you've been watching the film you'll have noticed those yellow circles on the wall of every apartment. During a Control, occupants have to assume the position, hands in the circles while the Police scan them from outside the door. 
Korben complies, claiming to be a meat popsicle – but another cop spots Korben's calling card, stuck to the next unit's door. The guy next door is a maniac and doesn't comply, getting zapped and bagged. One of the cops thanks the anonymous caller who tipped them off about the 'Uranium smuggler' Dallas – Right Arm, who reports to Zorg that now all he has to do is take Korben's place, go to Fhlosten, retrieve the stones.
Exiting Korben's block, the cops are ambushed by the Mangaloreans, who take the sack. Aknot, bearing the scars from Zorg's betrayal puts Akanit in charge. He's to go to Fhlosten and get the stones. If Zorg really wants them?; he'll have to negotiate.

Poor LeeLoo!; as the shower lowers, she's soaked. Korben forgot about the autowash!. He rubs her with a towel to warm her up and then remembers Cornelius; the automat-bed has wrapped him in fresh film and he's nearly suffocated. Korben offers him coffee; Vito steals the tickets and whacks him over the head. Better: General Munro and co are frozen stiff in the fridge-freeze. Mind made up, Korben accepts the mission.
At the Manhattan Intergalactic Airport, Priest Vito and LeeLoo meet up with Junior Priest Paul. Garbage is piled up to the roof; doubtless another strike. David has – from somewhere, multipasses for LeeLoo and Korben. David will be Korben. Last call for Fhlosten Paradise!. At check-in, a nervous David hands over the tickets and here's Korben to claim his prize, thanking the junior for 'standing in' for him. Oddly, Korben's neighbour and a girl are walking purposefully across the Airport. Korben introduces LeeLoo as his new wife and there's a bit of humour as she shows her multipass. 

At the Airport bar, Vito is on a bender, trying to explain the perfect female to the robo bar-tender. David arrives and lets Vito know Korben's on the flight with LeeLoo. Handing David the key, Vito tells him to prepare the Egyptian temple and runs to catch the flight, as Korben's neighbour and the girl arrive at check-in. He claims to be Korben Dallas, but a scan shows he's a Mangalore. She hits the button, but they are gone, aware their plan was blown. 

  
At the boarding gate, the stewardess grabs Korben; Ruby Rhod's broadcasting live!. Cops arrive at the main hall and spread out, looking for the two Mangalores, who open fire before diving into the massive pile of garbage. The stewardess explains what an honour it is to be on Ruby's show, as a group of Japanese girls waits for their idol. Korben would prefer to be anonymous... fat chance. A fanfare announces a manic creature in a leopard-print catsuit, mic-cane and a blonde quiff like a loofah. 


Before Dallas has even processed this weirdo, he's been snapped with a pack of Gemini Croquettes as Ruby Rhod approaches him, entourage in tow. What's he got to say to those fifty billion pairs of ears listening out there?. Hi. 


Unbelievable!. Promising the faithful all the details of the D-man's (Korben's) life, Ruby talks up the Fhlosten Paradise trip and Korben's the sexiest man of the year; a stewardess actually faints, caught in Ruby Rhod's spell.

Off-Air, Ruby's assistants preen over him, falling over themselves to assure him his show was crystal green, emerald green, greener than green. Swatting them away with an irritated buzzing noise, Ruby considers Korben. The show was awful, it has to pop Pop POP!, so tomorrow could he please act like he has a better vocabulary?. Grabbing the exotic deejay by the throat, Korben rams him against a wall. He didn't come here to play poombah on the radio, so Ruby can give himself a hand. Green?: Supergreen!.
The check-in girl smiles as Right Arm presents as yet another Korben Dallas. She's already checked him in and boarding is finished. Slamming the glass, Right Arm triggers a police control and has to put his hands in the yellow circles.

On-board, the stewardesses are turning on the sleep regulators in the passenger pods. Korben climbs in next to LeeLoo, who, handily enough has learned English. He tries to explain that they aren't on holiday, but a vital mission. The stewardess hits the button and they're asleep. As the Captain runs his pre-flight checks, fruity Ruby's busy with a stewardess and the ground crew are smoking dope while they reload the fusion cell and clear the undercarriage of parasites, little creatures that have to be burned off after some flights. Right Arm calls Zorg to tell him he failed to make the flight; there's no other way of getting onto the plane. Priest Cornelius is looking for one as the co-pilot counts down to lift-off. Ruby's going all the way. Zorg taps in a number on a keypad and as the countdown reaches zero Right Arm's phone explodes, blowing him to bits, Ruby and the stewardess reach their destination and the plane lifts-off. Leaving Earth's atmosphere, it curves up and blasts into lightspeed. 

The Battle-Ships detect a transmission emanating from the planetoid, radio waves. The phone rings in Zorg's office; he doesn't want to be disturbed, unless its Mr.Shadow. It's Mr.Shadow, Zorg immediately nervous. 'Mr.Shadow' isn't far now. He wants the stones. Zorg will have them soon, but his costs have tripled. An oily, viscous substance begins leaking down from the top of his head. Money isn't important to Shadow, it just wants the stones. It will be among us soon.
Runway lights appear in the darkness and with a clap and pulse of energy, the space-plane decelerates from lightspeed into normal space, gently descending above planet Fhlosten to coast up to the hotel, a massive liner floating above the ocean. As Korben wakes, he finds LeeLoo has gone ahead and he struggles to catch up through the throng of guests, a crowd of Polynesian beauties awaiting to bedeck them with leis. LeeLoo is captivated. Back on the plane, Vito Cornelius is caught when a sensor indicates a parasite in the ventilation systems. Korben's shown to his suite – a massive baroque fantasia in rich blues and gold. A hostess details the amenities. Korben's got front row for Diva PlavaLaguna, next to Ruby Rhod. There's a rail full of clothes so Korben can change. The phone trills; it's Ma, who's disgusted that her son didn't take her on the holiday of a lifetime. Where does she get the numbers?.

Preceded by her luggage, surrounded by her retinue, the Diva PlavaLaguna is an imposing sight. Fully seven feet tall, veiled from head to toe she glides up to her suite, to be greeted by a crew member named Fog. Jittery and skittish, he makes a hash of greeting her, but she merely glances over and around him at Korben's suite and exchanges a telepathic message with a woman on her staff. LeeLoo listens from behind a bulkhead as the message is relayed; the Diva will give what Korben has come for after the concert.
You're tuned in to Radio Cosmos and it's five pm. As the Fhlosten hotel gains altitude to gain an uninprovable view of planet Fhlosten, the President is among the billions listening as Ruby Rhod goes live with the lucky – and suited, Korben Dallas!. 
With miss Gemini Croquettes herself in attendance, they will themselves attend the concert of the legendary PlavaLaguna. Now we get to the most beautiful concert hall in the universe – a perfect replica of the Old Opera House, jammed full of ministers and stars. Breaking for a commercial, Ruby grabs a drink from a waiter who looks just like Aknot's human guise. JUST like. Oh-oh. Slipping through a service door Aknot's Mangalores are all ready and armed to their ugly teeth. Showtime.
Curtains open and the Diva takes the stage, the arc of planet Fhlosten a stunning backdrop. Blue-skinned, tentacles either side of her curved head, she is as striking visually as phonically. She launches into a Donizetti piece, her voice exquisite, captivating.
 Korben listens, entranced as the rest of the audience. On the Bridge, an officer approaches the Commander; there's a ship in trouble which needs to dock for repairs. Permission is granted for one hour and Zorg takes his ship in. Answering a knock at the Diva's suite door, her assistants are shot and the Mangaloreans take over the suite, to the fury of the watching LeeLoo. Through some form of genetic memory she realises these are the killers of the Mondoshawan. Inside the Diva's rooms, the brutish thugs rifle through her belongings, looking for the stones. One finds a box, surely this must be it!. Korben, meanwhile, is uneasy, as the Diva sings she seems to have some message for him, something he doesn't quite get.
Abruptly, LeeLoo explodes, bursting into the suite and dropping three of the goons before the rest even know it. As the tempo quickens in the hall, so too in the suite. She takes them out with the martial arts she learned and the reinforcements too. LeeLoo takes them out as the Diva takes the applause. 
A standing ovation, as befits the galaxy's greatest opera singer. Bravo! Bravo!. Zorg commends LeeLoo on her prowess and asks her to hand over the box. She hurls it, vaulting up into the ventilation shaft above the ceiling just before Zorg opens fire with a ZF-1, ripping chunks from the roof. Mangaloreans burst into the Control room, where Vito is being held. More hit the concert hall, opening fire indiscriminately, panicked Opera-goers running for their lives. 
Zorg keeps up his murderous onslaught, blasting the shaft around poor LeeLoo. The Diva is shot!, holding her hands to her stomach, she holds them out as if in supplication, falling to the stage. Zorg decides to change the beat – setting an explosive timer for twenty minutes.

The President listens, helpless as Ruby Rhod continues his broadcast under attack. As he describes the killers, it can only be Mangalores. Korben tries to patch the Diva up, but she tells him he must give LeeLoo the stones. She is the Fifth Element, the Supreme Being sent to Earth to save the Universe. She's more fragile than Korben thinks, she needs help... and his Love to survive. Lying in the ventilation shaft, LeeLoo howls in despair. Zorg marches clumsily to his ship and takes off. Where are the stones?; they're not in the box – they are 'In me.' Diva PlavaLaguna is dead. A Mangalore approaches and Korben swiftly disarms him, drawing his own gun he gets a terrified Ruby to hold it on the merc while he works it out. Reaching into the Diva's stomach through the bullet wound, Korben finds the stones!. As the mercenaries go to leave, Ruby accidentally shoots the Mangalore alerting the others. All this going live over the planet Earth. The President is unimpressed, but General Munro – now thawed out – insists Dallas will calm things down.

He doesn't. Taking the fight to the Mangalores, Korben blasts away at the group in the entrance hall dropping them left and right, until they open up with some heavier artillery. Diving from the railing behind a bar, Korben takes cover as they unleash a mini-missile, blowing the hell out of the bar. Korben's in trouble; cornered. He calls to Baby Ray, the movie star to toss him a gun, but Ray is deaf as a post. Another missile and Korben is thrown across the floor into the firing line. He just makes it back into what's left of his cover. Korben surrenders; hands up/they've got the wrong guy/he's unarmed. Ordered to get down, he does, jumping onto the shattered bar counter sending the Mangalore flying up like a see-saw, his head getting stuck through the mezzanine and his weapon firing, hitting his own kind before Ruby pushes him back through. 
Grabbing the merc's rifle, Korben takes out the artillery crew, aiming for the legs. Ruby panics as more of them appear; Korben tells him not to move and shoots around him, causing a piece of the mezzanine floor to drop, DJ and all. Tossing a Spiker (A grenade with spikes designed to stick to walls etc) Korben gets Ruby clear just as a GIGANTIC explosion rips through the hall.
With ten minutes until Zorg's bomb detonates, he flies back to what's left of the Fhlosten Hotel. Korben goes to the Control room, catching up with Fog. Korben counts seven on the left, five on the right. A quick burst later and it's four on the right, two on the left. 

Mangalores won't fight without their leader, Korben I.d.'s him as the one with the scars and the brains, holding Vito at gunpoint. Aknot calls for a negotiator, Korben goes in and shoots him in the head. Anyone else want to negotiate?.
In the aftermath, medics treat the wounded, Ruby continues his broadcast and Vito apologises for whacking Korben back on Earth. Korben's only care is for LeeLoo. He finds her unconscious, still in the air shaft. Ruby catches up, breathless and wonders what the box with the red numbers is. Vito
joins him and recognises it as a bomb. Surely these places have bomb detectors?. Right on cue the evacuation alarm goes off. As Zorg exits his ship security personnel try to warn him, but he guns them down. Panic engulfs the ship as the lifeboats begin launching. Carrying the prostrate LeeLoo Korben and the two others race for a way out, just missing Zorg at the lifts and going to the garage level they find his ship. The garage is sealed, but the ship is armed and Korben blasts a hole through the doors. With ten seconds remaining, Zorg slots the key card to disarm the bomb. Sigh of relief. One of the Mangalore, knowing the game is up and the battle lost, twists a dial and as Zorg watches in horror, a large box slides open in the Diva's suite revealing a GIGANTIC BOMB. The explosion rips the hotel-ship in two and Korben fights for control as the blast buffets Zorg's ship. Stunned, battered and bleeding, Ruby signs off after the best show of his life.

As Vito reverentially holds one of the stones, Korben tends to LeeLoo. Badly shocked, she tells Korben humans use everything they create to destroy. Did she learn about Human nature on her screen?. She got up to 'V'. Korben tells her some V-words;Valiant, Vulnerable and Very Beautiful. At NYHQ, champagne is flowing, but a technician is worried. Turning from his screen he informs the President that Evil is now racing towards Earth, Battle-Ships struggling to keep up. Munro calls for Korben, handing the phone to the President. Brushing aside the big man's flatery, Korben asks him to get to the point. There's a ball of fire twelve hundred miles in diameter heading straight for Earth. There's one hour fifty seven minutes until it reaches us. Korben hangs up, saying he'll call in two hours.

As the ship travels at lightspeed, LeeLoo resumes her studies at a terminal with the letter 'W'. She types in 'WAR' and watches, horrified, man's legacy of barbarism. Everything from the Holocaust through to the Gulf war in stark, plain images. Gradually, LeeLoo sees what Man is capable of, tears of pity and pain rolling down her face.

Evil hurtles past Saturn.
Landing by the Egyptian temple, the group hurries in, their way lit by glowsticks placed by David. Korben places the limp form of LeeLoo on the central plinth and Vito admits he only knows the theory of how the stones are supposed to work. Every weapon has a manual, Korben's sure this one will be no different. He's right; brushing the dust from the top of one of the four pillars a symbol appears. Matching it to one of the stones, he tells the others to do likewise with the other three. Air, Fire, Earth and Water all in place. To Korben's disbelief, Vito doesn't know how they are operated. Evil hurtles towards Earth. Gently shaking LeeLoo, Korben asks her how the stones work. Wind blows. Fire burns. Rain falls. Korben needs to know, but she falls back into unconsciousness. The shadow of evil falls across the land. Ruby thinks his stone is broken, Vito is puzzled and David sighs in defeat. As his breath washes across the stone, a few sections slide open. Korben rushes over and gets him to repeat what he did. He does; the stone opens more fully. Putting it together, Korben blows onto the stone; a golden coruscation of light, tiny pinpoints of luminous energy rise above the stone. He tells the others to follow suit; water for water, earth for earth, fire for fire. David throws some dirt onto the Earth stone; verdant, emerald green light cascades upward. Water, (Vito's sweat) Blue, aqua-Blue twinkling light. 

Fire; Ruby has no fire. He gave up smoking!. Remember Korben's last match?. Yep – he brings it out. Mankind's survival depends on the last match from a cheap pack. It fizzes into life and nearly dies – BIG intakes of breath all round. Touching it gently to the stone, Korben is rewarded with red sparkles of light.
One minute to extinction. Armageddon. The End.

Hauling her to her feet, Korben pleads with LeeLoo. He knows she's exhausted, but she has to help. What's the use of saving life when she's seen what we do with it?. There are some things worth saving; beautiful things. Sobbing, she asks 'Like Love?'. Yes. She doesn't know love, she was built to protect, not to love. He needs her. Why?. Because... because he loves her. They kiss, passionately.

At NYHQ the countdown from ten. The techs, Generals, all know this is it.

In sequence, the stones emit beams of their respective energies, converging on LeeLoo. Abruptly, her head snaps back, mouth opened skywards to project a piercing shaft of blinding light. Priest Vito and David, along with Ruby witness the weapon of weapons. Korben roars, a primordial shout of hope and defiance. The pillar of light blasts through the atmosphere into the Evil sphere, completely destroying it's malevolent will, purpose, even psyche. The energy returns into the stones and they close, their work done. A dead, dark moon hangs in orbit opposite our own.
The technicians report – the planet stopped sixty two miles from impact. Cautiously, the President risks a peek. General Munro laughs in relief. In the temple, David cannot resist punching the air and a heartfelt 'Yeah!', which is the last straw for poor Ruby's shattered nerves. Buzzing angrily, he leaves the temple.
The Nucleo Lab and a Police escort brings a limo in. Munro introduces the President (all smiles now) to Professor Mactilburgh. And where are the heroes?. The Professor put them in the reactor for awhile to recover from exhaustion, but the President is a busy man!. An aide murmurs in his ear; we go live in a minute. A glance into the reactor cylinder and Mactilburgh is alarmed, evasive even. Wouldn't you know it, but the General's phone rings and Ma – where does she get the numbers? - wants to talk to her son.  


Unwisely, the Big Cheese picks up and is straight out of his depth. The phone is removed from the Executive Presence as, inside the cylinder, we see Korben and LeeLoo, bathed in radiant cobalt blue light, making love. Making LOVE.

Fini.
Dramatis Persona:
Bruce Willis is Korben Dallas. Although his fee was thought too high and he was effectively ruled out, he told Besson if he liked the film, he'd come to an arrangement.
Milla Jovovich is LeeLoo; her breakthrough role.
Gary Oldman is Zorg. Oldman has recently stated he 'Can't bear' the film.
Ian Holm is Priest Vito Cornelius. Halfway through, he seems to be doing an Obi-Wan Kenobi impression, but his Priest is a strong support, if sometimes in the way.
Chris Tucker is Ruby Rhod. The role which brought him to public attention polarised the critics; it's fun, bright, annoying and a credit to Besson.
Charlie Creed-Miles is David, the Junior Priest. Before this role, his work was mainly on TV. Make sure you catch him in the sublime slice-of-life film'Wild Bill'.
John Bluthal plays Professor Pacoli, the Archaeologist.
Luke Perry plays Billy, his assistant.
The late Brion James (For me, always Leon in Blade Runner) provides a touch of humour as General Munro.
Tommy 'Tiny' Lister is President Lindberg. A solid performance.
French actress Maïwenn plays Diva PlavaLaguna (Besson's partner for some years, she appeared in Leon. After ending their relationship, Besson courted and married Jovovich. Their marriage did not endure.)
Bristol actor/comedian Lee Evans has a small role as Fog, the Security Officer at Fhlosten Paradise.
The late Lenny McLean (Barry the Baptist from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance as the Police Chief at Fhlosten. You can see him across the table from Priest Vito. McLean was a bare-knuckle 'cobble-fighter' of World renown before turning his skills to acting.
Music Producer and Vocalist Tricky is Right Arm.
Christopher Fairbank is Professor Mactilburgh. A fun performance.
ABOVE: Nick Runge's incredible poster art.

So, this Luc Besson thought he could do a Hollywood-Blockbuster then?
Besson started writing the story at age sixteen, to ward off Boredom. Established through his classics – such as Subway (A personal favourite), Nikita and Leon, he brought in Robert Mark Kamen to finalise the script after production originally ceased in 1992. Following the success of Leon, the film was back on. Besson wanted to set up production in France, but was forced to use Pinewood. The film is French; you need to appreciate the distinction as it flavours and colours every frame. Besson's film could never have been made by an American or British Director. The essence of the film remains the Gallic view of life and the culpability of Man. Jean Paul Gaultier designed the costumes, with his typical cheerful lunacy. The film itself is broadly cheerful, full of light and colour. Besson wanted to get away from dreary dark sci-fi. The reason this is actually such a magnificent, exuberant film is largely to do with it's creator and his Frenchness. He took on the Americans at their own game, but he was, of course playing his own game all along.
ABOVE, BELOW; LUC BESSON ON SET
Willis is the standard hero character in a vest, but it would be unjust to say that it's John McClane in a hover-cab – Besson may have wanted a bankable star, but even then a brave decision as Willis' films had included two flops (One being Hudson Hawk, which, perhaps unwisely I list as a treasured classic for 90% of the movie). Willis is a strong anchor for LeeLoo's character and the SFX are wonderful; the flying cab sequence is superb and great entertainment. Jovovich received some mixed reviews – some real raspberries, but I was captivated when I first saw the film and remain so. She plays with an innocence that was refreshing and beguiling. Ian Holm and the remarkable Creed-Miles do their bit and help the whole thing along, but special mention to Brion James. Forever a giant to me for his Leon in Blade Runner, the late actor provides some decent comic relief to lighten the darker moments and I can even forgive that feck-awful Victor Beret (The Berets in the film were provided by a British Army Surplus Supplier and any soldier will cringe or laugh at the misshapen, ill-fitting cow pats served up as headgear in the film).
ABOVE: BESSON'S TEENAGE DREAM BECOMES A REALITY
A word on Gramma. I hope she's well. No; the spelling's in this review are mine alone. I prefer LeeLoo to Leeloo, PlavaLaguna to Plavalaguna and that is my perogerti... parogoti... decision.

PROPPING UP THE ILLUSION: Some props and costumes from the film.
 ABOVE, BELOW: Pinewood studios prototype for the Golden Idol seen at the beginning of the film.

 ABOVE; Articulated Mondoshawan head.
BELOW; Police helmet.
 ABOVE; A miniature garage
BELOW: A Mangalore costume
 BELOW: A Mangalore dagger

 ABOVE: A Mondoshawan
BELOW: The ZF-1 weapons system in its pod

CONCEPTION; designing a dream.

 



1 comment:

  1. KorbenDallasMultiPass12 October 2017 at 01:19

    Yoo, the Pz.IV D dude from wot here :) diggin the review, ayy!

    ReplyDelete