The Fifth Element, Eclipse, Die Another Day – best films on TV tonight

Make tonight a film night with our pick of the best films on TV tonight Friday 23 May

Eclipse – 6.40pm, Film4


There’s more teen angst with a twist in this lively third instalment of the hit Twilight series, and the pressure is mounting on moody Bella (Kristen Stewart) to make a fangs-or-fur choice between vampire boyfriend Edward (Robert Pattinson) and werewolf boyfriend Jacob (Taylor Lautner). But as pallid Edward and six-packed Jacob come close to blows, their respective clans find themselves forced to forge a truce to fight a common foe – an army of vicious vampire “newborns” led by an old enemy. To the unbiased and non-teenage eye, Eclipse’s many romantic interludes could seem slushy and repetitive, while the action sequences, though decent when they arrive, are a long time getting there.

But British director David Slade (30 Days of Night) balances the blend of action and romance far better than the directors of the two previous movies. And although Eclipse remains primarily for dedicated Twilight fans (so-called “Twihards”), it’s still easily accessible to series newcomers.

The Fifth Element – 9pm, 5*

Ancient evil returns to destroy the galaxy in this ultra-hip, socially conscious and clever science-fiction action adventure from director Luc Besson. Bruce Willis’s laconic former government agent is forced to save the universe when the secret key to preventing its destruction literally falls into his cab in 23rd-century New York.

This superb flight of imagination soars into original terrain for an inventive rollercoaster ride and is a stunning achievement that delivers on all levels. The satire is slick, the visuals unusual and the thrills futuristic, and if the Big Apple special effects don’t amaze, the camp trip to the resort planet of Fhloston Paradise certainly will. Gary Oldman’s villainous Zorg ishaute-couture corruption personified.

Die Another Day – 10.35pm, ITV

Director Lee Tamahori’s fluid style and the relentless pace effortlessly propel this 20th James Bond adventure’s intense action around the globe. From North Korea and London to Cuba and a dazzling Icelandic snow palace, the locations are inspired, even if the familiar “quash the evil megalomaniac and unmask the traitor” plotline is more preposterous than ever (invisible car, anyone?).

Pierce Brosnan is on fine form (though he’s let down by some poor CGI) as a betrayed and vengeful 007, combining the secret agent’s usual charm and throwaway wit with true toughness and a streak of venom. Such character-broadening traits ensure that the format never feels stale, while the introduction of Halle Berry as a genuinely equal, if underdeveloped, female sidekick is a coup. There are only two “cons” to the movie and both involve Madonna – firstly, the singer’s grating theme song and, secondly, her dire cameo as a fencing instructor.


Want more great TV recommendations for tonight from the Radio Times experts? Download our free iPad app