In Hollywood, buff men with bulging self-esteem are often the ones who save the day.
These men represent everything that director Luc Besson did not want in “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” his big-budget sci-fi phantasmagoria, which opens in theaters this weekend.
But instead of a macho superhero type with a vigilante complex, our protagonist is a romantic who looks more frail than he does fierce.
In some ways, “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” builds on a key aspect of “The Fifth Element,” which revolved around a gun-wielding maverick with a surprising sentimental core, portrayed by Bruce Willis.
He was really not made to fight, but what I discovered when we started to talk is that when he was young, he learned sword when he was at school, which helped a lot.” Having a scrawnier protagonist like Valerian minimizes the wish-fulfillment perfection that graces most male action stars, many of whom play characters with limited emotional scope.