Saturday, August 24, 2013

Review: "Elektra," Well, It's Better Than "Catwoman"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 10 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

Elektra (2005)
Running time:  97 minutes (1 hour, 37 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for action violence
DIRECTOR:  Rob Bowman
WRITERS:  Raven Metzner, Stu Zicherman, and Zak Penn; from a story by Zak Penn (based on movie characters created by Mark Steven Johnson and comic book characters created by Frank Miller)
PRODUCERS:  Avi Arad, Gary Foster, and Mark Steven Johnson
EDITOR:  Kevin Stitt
COMPOSER:  Christophe Beck


Starring:  Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Kirsten Prout, Will Yun Lee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Terence Stamp, Natassia Malthe, Bob Sapp, and Colin Cunningham with Jason Isaacs

The subject of this movie review is Elektra, a 2005 superhero film starring Jennifer Garner in the title role.  The film is based on the Marvel Comics’ character, Elektra, created by Frank Miller.  Elektra is a spin-off of the 2003 superhero movie, Daredevil, and Stan Lee, co-creator of the Daredevil character, is an executive producer on this movie, as well.  The new movie focuses on Elektra as she tries to protect a single father and his young daughter after being hired to kill them.

After dying in the 2003 film Daredevil, Elektra Natchios (Jennifer Garner) is alive and kicking in her own comic book based film, Elektra.  Elektra ain’t by no means great, but it’s far better than the lumbering, big budget blunder that was Daredevil.  And while Elektra isn’t worth a trip to the theatre for most moviegoers other than comic book fans and admirers of Ms. Garner’s figure, it’s worth a view of DVD.

The sai (a martial arts weapon) enthusiast Elektra is now an assassin for hire, and The Hand, the order of dark ninjas who trained Elektra and revived her from death, have hired her to kill Mark Miller (Goran Visnjic) and his daughter Abby (Kirsten Prout).  Abby is the “current generation’s” treasure, a gifted martial artist who can change the balance between good and evil.  Elektra is drawn to Abby and refuses to killer her, choosing to protect her and her father from The Hand.  Elektra’s refusal of The Hand’s contract and her subsequent interference sets The Hand’s master assassin, Kirigi (Will Yun Lee), and his quartet of dark super ninja after the trio.  Elektra seeks help from her first teacher, the blind sensei Stick (Terence Stamp), in hopes that he will take Abby and Mark off her hands.  Stick, however, has other plans, and forces Elektra to defend the girl and discover her own better nature, including dealing with her mother’s death and Kirigi’s part in it.

Elektra is a mildly entertaining action, superhero fantasy film with some nice fight sequences.  But even those action scenes ultimately seem forced and overdone; maybe it’s because only the fight scenes can save what is otherwise an exceedingly dry faux drama.  The acting is poor.  Terence Stamp is woefully miscast as Stick, and Goran Visnjic barely seems alive as Mark Miller.  Kirsten Prout’s Abby only elicits sympathy when the script places her in extreme danger.

A star on the hit television series, “Alias,” Jennifer Garner’s film career is mostly miss, except for a nice turn in 13 Going on 30.  There are moments in this movie when she assumes a pose as Elektra and looks like a clumsy, wall-eyed poseur.  Ms. Garner even walks as if she just learned that she has a nice ass, but still hasn’t quite got the rhythm using it in a provocative walk down pat.

Still, this film has some nice moments, and the fight scenes (which feature lots of wire-fu) are pretty good for an American film production.  To bad one of the (over extended) fight scenes uses CGI bed sheets as an obstacle for the hero.  It makes you wonder what the filmmakers were thinking.  It’s the eye-rolling stuff like this that ultimately hamstrings Elektra.

5 of 10

Updated:  Friday, August 23, 2013

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