Wednesday, January 23, 2013

F This Movie! - The Fifth Element

Mark Ahn must rescue Patrick from the depths of blood sugar psychosis as they talk about The Fifth Element. Big bada boom.

Download this episode here. (33.6 MB)

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Also discussed this episode: The Last Stand (2013), The Yellow Sea (2010), Dredd (2012), BKO: Bangkok Knockout (2010), 2 Days in New York (2012), Boss (1975)


  1. Random thought:
    have we forgotten The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc...oh wait so did I.

    Fifth Element defined '97 for me. I think I like it more than y'all (love Professional). I was SO sad when I watched it again a few years ago, and it wasn't holding up.

    Also, my nickname in college was multi-pass. Insert name jokes _____.

    Ruby wasn't doing a radio show. He was a failed comedian living in LA: podcast.

    Oldman wasn't a baddie, he was Ross Perot.

    Tricky was in Face/Off

    Moon love!!!

    Riddick/Fifth Element=love that comparison.

    great ep.

    1. I did forget about The Messenger. And it turns out that Besson has directed a handful of movies since The Fifth Element, but not all of them got major American distribution. The animated movie I was trying to think of was Arthur and The Invisibles, still unseen by me.

      The movie I was thinking of with Goldie is The World is Not Enough.

      Thanks for the nice words, Corbin!


      *Snare drum.

      I'm here all week, folks.

    3. Korben (core-bEn) vs. Corbin (core-bIn)
      just saying

  2. I will say this: even decidedly going the other directions is still a reaction to Blade Runner. Thus the influence on Sci-Fi. Not just dystopian, but deciding to go the reactionary route: utopia. Slippery slope i know, but Fifth Element is a pretty decent example of this.

    (I'll shut up now)

  3. Nice podcast, and nice to have back-to-back Mark Ahn. :-) I've had a love-it-and-hate relation with "The Fifth Element" in that, while I find myself enjoying it some times, others I outright loathe it (my initial reaction when I first saw it in theaters) and not based on mood, time of day or personal preference. Those times that I do like it I like it a lot though. What the fuck is wrong with me?

    I've always had a theory that has "The Fifth Element" as its #1 standard bearer. I've always felt that movies from outside the US that are critically acclaimed/loved for being more about people's plights and/or human emotions do so because their economies and movie-making industries can't afford the types of expensive escapism Hollywood (and to a lesser degree England and France) has been able to make since commercial movie-making took off. If, my theory goes, all the nations in the world had the same financial strength and economic models to make movies as expensive and big as the American one's they'd end doing the same type of big, dumb and crowd-pleasing blockbusters Hollywood has been churning out. It's the mostly-poor financial limitations of most nations that force their filmmakers to use what they have (people and places, ideas) to make movies that, ironically, are perceived by the critical community as better than the production-value typical US flick.

    "The Fifth Element" is technically an American movie because of US financing (same way James Bond is an American movie property even though it's for all practical purposes UK-made product) but to me it has always stood out as a giant expensive French version of a US summer blockbuster. Besson has gone on to produce what Patrick has lovingly nicknamed 'Martian' Hollywood movies that look and feel American but, on close inspection, reveal all types of tonal and cultural differences between the US and French cultures. These are mostly small and inexpensive action flicks though (or disposable sci-fi one-offs like "Lockout"), "The Fifth Element" has BLOCKBUSTER DNA written all over. I'd love to see what the Greek "Fifth Element" looks like, or Peru's, or Nepal's, or Poland's (wait, I've seen that one, it's called "Under the Silver Globe" and it's a gloriously incoherent mess).

    Oh, and my new-to-me movie for today:

    Pedro Almadovar's horror-movie-in-all-aspects-except-name-and-acknowledgement messed-up THE SKIN I LIVE IN (2011) on Blu-ray:

  4. Goldie in Snatch as Bad Boy Yardie is what sprung to mind for me. "I create the bodies, I dont erase the bodies".

    Now who has bugs in whose house? I was seriously lining up The Legend of N***r Charley to watch this weekend (part 1 in the apparent Boss N***r trilogy).

    Ignorance corner, and the reference to the N word makes me think of this:

    1. Have you seen Black Shampoo? It's NUTS. See it now if you haven't already, BL.

    2. I just checked out the trailer...Dammmnnnnn. That looks insane. Kinda like "No one messes with the Zohan"....except serious. Definitely on the list.

      I finally got around to watching Blackula last night. Not as crazy as I was hoping, just an as-expected-Blaxploitation-film-with-vampires....which, granted, still has a lot going for it, primarily that it is a Blaxploitation film with vampires.

  5. I was very intrigued by the brief conversation of violence during this episode. I think we separate realistic violence from over the top action movie violence pretty well as a society, and I think most of the time it can be pretty enjoyable. Quentin Tarantino has made a career out of making violence kind of fun. But when realistic violence does pop up, it's pretty disturbing. It may have been the events surrounding The Dark Knight Rises, but there were a few things in that movie that echoed a bit too closely with real life for my own comfort and that challenged me. I think Nolan wanted us to be a bit uncomfortable with some of it, though. It's a shame what happened cast such a shadow over things. But every now and then a movie uses realistic violence to manipulate or to push an agenda, and that's something I have a problem with. I'm not naming any names, but there are some movies that I feel were only successful because they beat their audience into a guilty submission. #thepassionofthechrist.

    1. HHH-

      I think that the movie you named (and others too, I suppose) had audiences that wanted to be beaten into submission, at some level. Whether that justifies the violence or not is a different discussion, but just wanted to throw that out there.

      Slightly different, but the realistic violence is what freaks me out about boxing movies; I've never been able to get into them.

  6. You've probably heard Patton Oswalt's routine on Cirque du Soliel: "Everything is wet and French and gay and on fire, at the same time." An argument could be made that The Fifth Element is the Cirque du Soliel of science fiction movies.

    I'm lukewarm about the film. On the one hand I love the overall look and design of the movie, which seems lifted from the pages of Heavy Metal (indeed, the flying taxicab stuff is very much like the first sequence in the Heavy Metal movie). On the other hand, the tone veers wildly and is too silly way too often. The film typically loses me during that extended scene in Dallas's apartment with everyone hiding - which Besson seems to have cribbed from an episode of Three's Company.

    Still, there are scenes I really love - the opera sequence mostly. With respect to Chris Tucker, when I first saw the film I thought he was satirizing Prince - that a tiny, rather fey man was also considered a sex god. If you've seen Dead Presidents, then you know Tucker actually can give a performance when he's not just let loose.

    1. I love that Cirque du Soleil bit -- and that's probably the best description of the movie I've ever heard. It really is all over the place.

      I love Dead Presidents. I wish we'd get a Blu-ray already -- or, at least, an anamorphic DVD. I always thought the same thing about the Ruby Rhod/Prince connection.

  7. This is me testing something, sorry.