The Fifth Element (a J!-ENT 4K Ultra HD Review)

July 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“The Fifth Element” is a fascinating, entertaining Luc Besson sci-fi action film that looks and sounds better with this 2017 4K Ultra HD release.  While not the best Besson film ever created, nor the best sci-fi action film ever made, still “The Fifth Element” remains as a popcorn action sci-fi film worth watching and a cult favorite that continues to entertain audiences 25 years later.

Images courtesy of © 1997 Gaumont. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Fifth Element


DURATION: 126 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 2160p Ultra High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio), English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible), French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, SUBTITLES: English, English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (Scenes of Strong Graphic Violence and for Language)

RELEASE DATE: July 11, 2017

Written and Directed by Luc Besson

Screenplay by Robert Mark Kamen

Producer: Patrice Ledoux

Co-Producer: Iain Smith

Associate Producer: Thierry Arbogast

Music by Eric Serra

Cinematography by Thierry Arbogast

Edited by Sylvie Landra

Casting by Lucinda Syson

Production Design by Dan Weil

Art Direction by Ira Gilford, Ron Gress, Michael Lamont, Jim Morahan, Kevin Phipps

Set Decoration by Maggie Gray, Anna Pinnock

Costume Design by Jean-Paul Gaultier


Bruce Willis as Korben Dallas

Gary Oldman as Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg

Ian Holm as Father Vito Cornelius

Mila Jovovich as Leeloo

Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod

Luke Perry as Billy

Brion James as General Munro

Tommy “Tiny” Lister as President Lindberg

Lee Evans as Fog

Charlie Creed-Miles as David

Tricky as Right Arm

John Neville as General Staedert

John Bluthal as Professor Pacoli

New York cab driver Korben Dallas didn’t mean to be a hero, but he just picked up the kind of fare that only comes along every five thousand years: A perfect beauty, a perfect being, a perfect weapon. Together, they must save the world. Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, and Gary Oldman star in acclaimed director Luc Besson’s outrageous sci-fi adventure, an extravagantly styled tale of good against evil set in an unbelievable twenty-third century world. Now presented in full 4K resolution, experience this dynamic action favorite like never before.

From the director Luc Besson (“La Femme Nikita”, “Leon: The Professional”, “Taxi”, “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc”) comes his 1997 sci-fi action film “The Fifth Element”.

Starring Bruce Willis (“The Sixth Sense”, “Die Hard”, “Looper”), Gary Oldman (“The Dark Knight Rises”, “Leon: The Professional”, “Batman Begins”), Iain Holm (“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”, “Alien”), Milla Jovovich (“Resident Evil” films, “The Three Musketeers”), Chris Tucker (“Rush Hour” films, “Silver Linings Playbook”) and Luke Perry (“Beverly Hills, 90210”, “Jeremiah”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”).

A story that was written by Luc Besson when he was 16-years-old, the film would be made 32-years later. While receiving mixed reviews from critics, the film was a box office success with a budget of $90 million, “The Fifth Element” would go on to to make over $90 million.

And now, a new 4K Ultra HD release for “The Fifth Element” will be released in 2017 to celebrate the film’s 20th anniversary. Now presented in full 4K Ultra High Definition and in Dolby Atmos, this is the best version of the film available on physical media!

The film begins in 1914 as scientists discover something huge in an ancient Egyptian temple. Not long after, aliens known as Mondoshawans have arrived to collect (for safekeeping) a weapon capable of defeating a great evil that appears every 5,000 years.

The weapon is a sarcophagus that contains four classical elements which combines each element to create a divine light of defeating evil. The aliens say they will return when the great evil returns.

Fast forward to 2263 and the great evil has now reappeared as a giant ball of black fire. As the priest Vito Cornelius (portrayed by Ian Hom) tries to send a message to the President of the Federated Territories (portrayed by Tom Lister, Jr.) about how they must defeat the great evil with the weapon that can stop it, the Mondoshawans make their return.

But while they return, the Mangalores led by Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (portrayed by Gary Oldman), has been instructed by the great evil to acquire the stones. A hand of the Fifth element after an exchange between the Mondoshawans and Mangalores and scientist use the technology to reconstruct a humanoid woman named Leeloo (portrayed by Milla Jovovich).

Not knowing of where she is and unaware of her surroundings, Leeloo escapes and jumps off a ledge and crashes into a flying taxicab driven by Korben Dallas (portrayed by Bruce Willis), a former major of the special forces.

Will Leeloo become the key to stop the great evil? Or will she be used as a weapon to destroy humanity?


“The Fifth Element” receives its first 4K Ultra HD release in time for its 20th Anniversary. This 2017 4K Ultra HD release is presented in 2160p Ultra High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio).

Featuring wonderful detail and better clarity, the film looks even better in HD. Skin tones look natural and there is a good amount of grain present. I didn’t notice any major banding issues during my viewing of the film, nor does this film looked aged.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: To watch 4K Ultra HD, you will need a 4K UHD TV with HDR and an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player + a high-speed HDMI 2.0A Cable.


Audio quality is equally impressive. Featured in English 7.1 Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1), French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.

Considering that this sci-fi action film contains a lot of action sequences, the fact that the 2007 and 2015 Blu-ray release had a magnificent lossless soundtrack that utilized the surround channels, now this Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1) lossless soundtrack is quite impressive. From the scenes which Dallas encounters Leloo for the very first time to the ending action sequence, the film features great use of the surround and rear surround channels, as well as utilizing LFE.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.


“The Fifth Element” on 4K Ultra HD comes with the following special features:

  • The Visual Element – (18:25) A featurette about the films visual effects.
  • The Visual Element Extras – (6:13) Featuring seven visual element tests.
  • The Star Element: Bruce Willis – (4:19) Featuring an interview with actor Bruce Willis.
  • The Star Element: Mila Jovovich – (12:47) Featuring an interview with actress Mila Jovovich.
  • The Star element: Mila Jovovich Extras – (12:02) Featuring four screen tests with Mila Jovovich.
  • The Star Element: Chris Tucker – (4:17) Featuring an interview with actor Chris Tucker.
  • The Alien Element: Mondoshawans – (8:13) Featuring how they created the Mondoshawans and their movements.
  • The Alien Element: Mondoshawans Extras – (3:23) Featuring six outtakes and screen tests for the Mondoshawans.
  • The Alien Element: Mangalores – (9:47) A featurette about the evil Mangalores and how to bring these aliens to life.
  • The Alien Element: Mangalores Extras – (2:11) Featuring two Mangalores extras.
  • The Alien Element: Picasso – (4:17) A featurette  about Zorg’s pet, Picasso.
  • The Alien Element: Strikers – (3:04) A featurette about the Strikers that did not make the final cut of the film.
  • The Alien Element: Strikers Extras – (1:32) Featuring four Striker extras.
  • The Fashion Element – (7:46) A featurette about the fashion in “The Fifth Element”.
  • The Fashion Element: Extras – (5:17) Featuring four fashion extras.
  • The Diva – (16:16) The actress who brought Diva Plavalaguna to life.
  • The Divas Extras – (8:03) Four outtakes featuring Diva Plavalaguna.
  • The Digital Element – (9:49) A featurette about Digital Domain bringing “The Fifth Element” to life.
  • Imagining The Fifth Element – (5:14) The concept design, visual effects design and imagining of “The Fifth Element”.
  • The Elements of Style – (5:13) A featurette of an interview with Jean-Paul Gaultier and the film’s costume design.
  • Fact Track – Watch “The Fifth Element” with fact tracks.


“The Fifth Element” comes with a slipcover, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray disc and an UltraViolet Digital HD code.

It has been 20-years since the release of “The Fifth Element” and with each watch, my perception of the film changes overtime.

With my older 1999 DVD review of the film, I wrote:

I finally saw this movie and this is what I thought.  I liked it a lot!  This movie is visually stunning and the computer graphics were wonderful.  The storyline is good but it appears that an extra 30 minutes or an hour would have given this movie judgment a much better score because I felt there were some loose ends that were never answered.

Watching this film once again in 4K Ultra HD in 20017, my thoughts that while the film was often considered a reference title for video and audiophiles (back during the DVD days), it’s a popcorn action films with impressive visuals.  With some CG elements that still hold up, while other scenes do look its age.

But what I enjoyed about the film at the time was the fact that it introduced us to Mila Jovovich, who would become a much bigger star with the “Resident Evil” films years later, Chris Tucker who would become a big star with his “Rush Hour” films not long after, and for Bruce Willis fans, the film gave us another chance to watch the man who wowed us in the ’90s with his “Die Hard” films to return in a sci-fi action film which we can see his character kicking butt once again.  And of course, watching Bruce Willis as a protagonist (with the similar bravado as his other action characters in previous films) and Gary Oldman as the antagonist, made the film worthwhile.

The film benefits from its visual imagery and imaginative settings, but the CG is well-done and its far-out Jean-Paul Gaultier costume design was also interesting to see.  But how I felt about the film back in 1999, again in 2006-2007, 2015  and in 2017 has not changed.  “The Fifth Element” does not have the greatest story but it was no doubt an entertaining film.

But I feel each time I watch it, my appreciation of the film tends to lessen.  The fact is, back in the DVD years, we considered “The Fifth Element” as a reference quality film to showcase our surround sound system. Especially now as its prsented in Dolby Atmos.  And watching this film in 2160p 4K Ultra HD, along with the 7.1 lossless soundtrack makes the film even more enjoyable and video/audiophiles should be pleased.

And with this 2017 4K Ultra HD release, fans of the film will also get a good number of special features and an Ultraviolet HD code.  For those who purchased the 2015 Blu-ray release, the special features are the same.  The difference of course between 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray is that the 4K Ultra HD is presented in 2160p Ultra High Defition versus 1080p (on Blu-ray).

Overall, “The Fifth Element” is a fascinating, entertaining Luc Besson sci-fi action film that looks and sounds better with this 2017 4K Ultra HD release.  While not the best Besson film ever created, nor the best sci-fi action film ever made, still “The Fifth Element” remains as a popcorn action sci-fi film worth watching and a cult favorite that continues to entertain audiences 20-years later.

The Karate Kid (2010) (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Fantastic!  I was skeptical towards this film and part of me wanted to dislike this film because I enjoyed the original so much.  But the truth is, I really enjoyed this film and felt this remake was faithful to the original but also, production-wise, much bigger than the original.  Both Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan are fantastic and if anything, this is an awesome, inspirational, heartfelt and entertaining film.  Highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2010 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Karate Kid


DURATION: 140 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English-Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French

COMPANY: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG (for bullying, martial arts, action violence and some mild language)

Release Date: October 5, 2010

Directed by Harald Zwart

Screenplay by Christopher Murphey

Story by Robert Mark Kamen

Executive Producer: Susan Ekins, Sanping Han, Dany Wolf

Produced by James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Ken Stovitz, Jerry Weintraub

Co-Producer: Solon So

Line Producer: Chiu Wah Lee, Er-Dong Liu

Music by James Horner

Cinematography by Roger Pratt

Edited by Joel Negron

Casting by PoPing AuYeung, Zoe Thompson

Production Design by Francois Seguin

Art Direction by Second Chan

Costume Design by Han Feng


Jaden Smith as Dre Parker

Jackie Chan as Mr. Han

Taraji P. Henson as Sherry Parker

Wenwen Han as Meiying

Rongguang Yu as Master Li

Zhensu Wu as Meiying’s Dad

Zhiheng Wang as Meiying’s Mom

Zhenwei Wang as Cheng

Jared Minns as Dre’s Detroit Friend

Shijia Lu as Liang

Yi Zhao as Zhuang

Bo Zhang as Song

Luke Carberry as Harry

Cameron Hillman as Mark

Ghye Samuel Brown as Oz

Rocky Shi as Ur Dang

Ji Wang as Mrs. Po

Harry Van Gorkum as Music Instructor

12-year-old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) could’ve been the most popular kid in Detroit, but his mother’s (Taraji P. Henson) latest career move has landed him in China. Dre immediately falls for his classmate Mei Ying – and the feeling is mutual – but cultural differences make such a friendship impossible. Even worse, Dre’s feelings make an enemy of the class bully, Cheng. In the land of kung fu, Dre knows only a little karate, and Cheng puts “the karate kid” on the floor with ease. With no friends in a strange land, Dre has nowhere to turn but maintenance man Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), who is secretly a master of kung fu. As Han teaches Dre that kung fu is not about punches and parries, but maturity and calm, Dre realizes that facing down the bullies will be the fight of his life.’

Hot Water is Not Working

Training Montage Great Wall

Your Focus Needs More Focus


When word came out that “The Karate Kid” would receive a remake, I have to admit that I was quite skeptical.  With the announcement of martial arts superstar Jackie Chan as the first star named, although I love Jackie Chan, I was even more skeptical because of the location of where the film would take place (China) and that karate is not a Chinese martial art.  Also, that director Harold Zwart  (“Agent Cody Banks”, “Pink Panther 2”) would be the direct.  And to even further my skepticism, the announcement of actor Will Smith’s young son Jaden Smith (“The Pursuit of Happyness”, “The Day the Earth Stood Still”) as the main character did calm my nerves one bit.

That is until I watched the film.

And what an enjoyable film “The Karate Kid” remake  came to be and many people agreed as the film which was budgeted around $40 million had made $334 million worldwide and the majority of the reviews were positive.  And as for the name “The Karate Kid”, despite the film not having anything to do with karate, because the film is a remake, for the American release, the film will be known as “The Karate Kid” but in Asia, the film would go by the name “The Kung Fu Kid”.

“The Karate Kid” (2010) revolves around Dre Parker (played by Jaden Smith), a 12-year-old boy who lives with his mother Sherry (played by Taraji P. Henson, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Boston Legal”) and are leaving Detroit to go to Beijing where her mother will be working.

Dre’s first day in Beijing seemed to look as if everything was going well.  Dre finds himself falling for young violinist named Mei Ying (played by Wen Wen Han) and as the two seem to be having fun, Dre is beaten by a bunch of bullies led by Cheng (played by Zhenwei Wang).

To make things worse for Dre, he finds out that the bullies attend the same school as him and they continue to give him a hard time.    So, Dre tries to learn karate by video and even thinks about joining the local kung fu school but only to learn that the bully Cheng and his friends are students at the Kung-Fu school.  Knowing that he is over matched and no way he can defend himself against them, Dre wants to leave China badly but his mother tells him that China is their new home.

Now always in fear of the bullies, Dre tries to avoid them the best he can. But one day, when Dre finds an opportunity to get back at them, he ends up getting beaten so bad until the maintenance man Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) steps in to save his life and beats the bullies up himself.

Mr. Han tries to help Dre and prevent the bullying by talking to the Kung-Fu instructor Master Li (played by Yu Rongguang) but learns that Master Li teaches Kung Fu without mercy and that he will not stop the kids from bullying Dre unless he fights them at the local Kung Fu tournament.  Mr. Han finds Master Li’s way of Kung Fu as disgusting and bad, but he and Master Li make a deal that Chen and his friends can not touch Dre and if Dre wins, they will not touch him anymore.

Mr. Han tells Dre that he will have to fight at the tournament but he will train him in the right way of learning Kung Fu, but as a student, Dre must do everything he tells him to.

Will Dre be prepared to take on any opponent at the Kung Fu tournament, let alone Cheng and the other bullies?


“The Karate Kid” (2010) is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1).    If there is one thing that this remake does have an edge over the original is that this film was shot in China and the film looks absolutely beautiful in HD.  There is so much detail in this film, may it be the paint peeling off  from the walls or wood, the detail on the wood bars when Dre visits a Kung-Fu training area.  The film looks absolutely magnificent on Blu-ray!

The film is absolutely breathtaking as we see how wonderful the cinematography is (courtesy of Roger Pratt, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”, “Iris”, “Chocolat”) when we see the various mountainous regions of China, the Great Wall of China and surprisingly how much access the filmmaker was given to shoot this film.  But also it helps to have the co-production with a major Chinese film company who also wanted to make the film look authentic and real.

Colors are absolute vibrant, flesh tones look fantastic, backs are nice and deep and once again, the detail of this film and the colors are just wonderful.  Everything about the picture quality of this film is pristine and there is a fine layer of grain on the film.


“The Karate Kid” (201o) not only looks spectacular, the lossless audio is also fantastic.  The film is presented in English and French 5.1 DTS-HD MA and also presented in English – Audio Description 5.1 Dolby Digital.  The dialogue is crisp and clear.  The music of James Horner (“Avatar”, “Troy”, “Enemy at the Gates”, “Titanic”) is as always fantastic and you also get a good dose of popular music with Lady Gaga and Flo Rida.  But as the dialogue and music comes perfectly from the center and front channels but also, there is great use of the surround channels.

Earlier on, you can hear the punching and the kicks coming from the surround channels but you can also hear the ambiance of crowds (especially during the tournament), the rain, Mr. Han working on his car (or demolishing his car), “Karate Kid” is such a film that takes advantage of the soundscape. Overall, the audio quality for “The Karate Kid” is fantastic!

Subtitles are presented in English, English SDH and French.


“The Karate Kid” comes with the following special features presented in HD, English Stereo and English subtitles:

  • ON LOCATION: The Karate Kid Interactive Map of China – Director Harald Zwart talks about capturing China’s culture in the film and also the challenges at shooting in the various locations in China such as the Wudang Mountains (4:24); The Great Wall which includes filming at the China Film Group Film Base at Huairou (4:45) and shooting a the Great Wall (1:36); Beijing:  Beiying Film Studios (2:36), Beijing Shaolin Wushu School (1:34), Feng Tai Sports Arena (2:05), the Forbidden City (1:05), Olympic Park (:59) .
  • Alternate Ending – (3:32) An ending that makes the film become more like what we would see from a  Jackie Chan martial arts film but it does take away the primary focus of  the story which is about Dre.  Cool action sequence but I’m glad this ending was not used.
  • Play All Hosted by Jackie Chan – (29:44) Featuring the production diaries as one full documentary hosted by Jackie Chan.
  • Production Diaries Hosted by Jackie Chan – A total of nine production diaries which include: Training Jaden (3:12), Jaden Smith, A Day in the Life (3:50), The Forbidden City (3:59), From Jackie with Love (3:56), The Great Wall (3:10), Olympic Village (3:06), Director Profile (2:19), Taraji P. Henson Goes to China (2:40) and Wudang Mountains (3:19).
  • Chinese Lessons – Learn Chinese! – An interactive feature that teaches viewers basic Chinese words and phrases.  Lessons include: Basic Greetings, Numbers, No Hot Water, I Want to Go Home, Training and General Vocabulary.
  • Music Video: Justin Bieber Featuring Jaden Smith “Never Say Never” – (3:49) It’s known that both Bieber and Smith are good friends and this is probably the first time I’ve seen Jaden Smith taking part music but definitely following in his father’s hip hop footsteps.
  • Just for Kicks: The Making of The Karate Kid – (20:09) The making of “The Karate Kid” remake and the challenge that the filmmakers had of remaking the original, martial arts training for Jaden Smith,  what kind of presence Jackie Chan had on the set.  Filming in various locations of China, the music of “The Karate Kid” and more.
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  • PS3 Wallpaper Theme

“The Karate Kid” (2010) was much more than I expected and I admit, I was a big skeptic when it came to the announcements and then watching the trailer.  I watched the original film several dozen times and as mentioned in my review for the original film, it’s a film that I just never get tired of.  It’s hard not to dislike a film about an underdog but with “Karate Kid” (2002), there are many things that impressed me.

First, the acting performance by both Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan.  Jaden Smith really went through a lot in the training of this film and with the original film,  Ralph Macchio was pretty much a man playing a teenage role, while Jaden Smith, he is a young kid and what the director (especially his producer parents) brought out of him was pretty well-done.  He has the bravado and slight cockiness like the original film’s Daniel Larusso but it is quite evident, Smith went through major training much more than Ralph Macchio probably had to go through.

In fact, Jaden Smith studied martial arts for more than half a year, three months learning Wushu and weapons training from a stunt coordinator that has worked with Jackie Chan.  So, to make this film look convincing, Jaden Smith really dedicated himself into practicing as well as enduring pain for this fim.

If there is one thing where the film was make it or break it, it was the chemistry between Smith and Chan.  Jackie Chan was absolutely marvelous in this film.  We have heard Jackie talk about wanting to play serious roles and we have seen that with his 2009 film “Shinjuku Incident” but not only does the filmmakers give him action scenes, they gave Chan the opportunity to show that he can do emotional crying scenes and there is no doubt that Chan’s performance will have people tearing in one of the more emotional scenes of the film.

What also works is how beautiful this film looks and how well the pacing was for the overall film.   Harald Zwart did an incredible job in the overall execution.  From wanting to get the right shots, getting the right look and feel for the film and even being under the gun of shooting in locations that were difficult to shoot at or they only had less than a half hour window to shoot at.

For example, filming at the Forbidden City (which was the first time since “The Last Emperor”) is constantly visited by visitors throughout the day and so they only had 20 minutes to shoot during the early morning before the visitors arrived.  Zwart managed the time and schedule very well.

So,  Zwart was able to accomplish a lot during the filming of “The Karate Kid” and it helps that he was paired with a wonderful cinematographer, Roger Pratt and musician/composer James Horner.  Zwart’s cinematography is fantastic and if anything, what he was able to capture on film looks absolutely gorgeous in HD and the same goes with James Horner who knows how to create movie soundtracks.  Horner has done a tremendous job for films like “Titanic” and “Avatar” and he did a great job for “The Karate Kid” and it helps that the film does have music that will appeal to younger fans who love Lady GaGa, Justin Bieber and Flo Rida.

And also deserving recognition is screenwriter Christopher Murphy and writer Robert Mark Kamen (“Taken”, “The Fifth Element” and “Transporter” films) in making sure the story for this remake was good and doing a lot of the research needed to make this film seem authentic.

As for the Blu-ray, you really can’t go wrong as not only do you get a film that looks absolutely fantastic and sounds wonderful on Blu-ray, you also get a good number of special features included in this release that makes “The Karate Kid” worth owning.

Overall, I know there are quite a number of my friends who refuse to watch this film because of its title (since the martial art focused in the film is Kung Fu) and those who still appreciate and love the original film that they can’t support a remake.   Some have issues with filmmaker Harald Zwart and even Jaden Smith playing the lead role.  But I don’t blame them because I know how that feels because I felt the same way.

I was very skeptical towards this film and the truth is, there are many remakes that are terrible but this is not one of them.  The film is not only faithful to the original film but it gives us even more than the original to love and enjoy, and as I will always love the original film, I have to say that I really enjoyed this remake of “The Karate Kid” as well and  I really enjoyed this Blu-ray release!  It’s an awesome release!

If you loved the film  or looking for an action-based, underdog against his rivals type of martial arts film that is inspirational, heartfelt and entertaining,  “The Karate Kid” (2010) is highly recommended.