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Elektra

USA 2005
produced by
Avi Arad, Gary Foster, Arnon Milchan, Stan Lee (executive), Brent O'Connor (executive), Mark Steven Johnson (executive) for Regency Enterprises, Horseshoe Bay Productions, Marvel Comics, Epsilon Motion Pictures, 20th Century Fox
directed by Rob Bowman
starring Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Kirsten Prout, Will Yun Lee, Terence Stamp, Natassia Malthe, Bob Sapp, Chris Ackerman, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Edson T.Ribeiro, Colin Cunningham, Hiro Kanagawa, Mark Houghton, Laura Ward, Kurt Max Runte, Nathaniel Arcand, Aaron Au, Kevan Ohtsji, Ian Tracey, Jana Mitsoula
screenplay by Zak Penn, Stu Zicherman, Raven Metzner based on the Marvel Comics-comicbook created by Frank Miller, music by Christophe Beck

Elektra

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Oh-kay, so Elektra (Jennifer Garner) didn't die in 2003's Daredevil after all, or rather despite her slit throat and cut through body, some Oriental mystic could easily revive her. Since, she has been trained in martial arts by her blind master Stick (Terence Stamp) and has become a master assassin.

For her next hit, she is sent to a remote island and has 3 days off - just enough time to meet 13-year old neighbour girl Abby (Kirsten Prout) and be invited by her to the Christmas dinner she has with her father Mark (Goran Visnjic), and since he is a single parent, of course Elektra soon has tender feelings for him, and sees in Abby a younger version of herself, since like Abby, Elektra has lost her mother at age five ...

Be that as it may, soon Elektra learns who her next hit is - to noone at all's surprise it's Mark and Abby. And of course, Elektra utlimately can't do it and sides with her prospected victims, who seem to have a dark secret. And soon, hordes of mystical Ninjas who turn into green dust when killed are after the three of them (somehow this makes you feel like one of these Joseph Lai- or Tomas Tang-produced Ninja films from the 1980's, now doesn't it ?).

Eventually, our threesome is saved by Stick and his gang of white Ninjas, who fills them in on some details about Mark's and Abby's would-be assassins: They are members of the Hand, who are after Abby because she has or is the Treasure. Unfortunately, this doesn't explain anything, but as a result, Abby suddenly proves a versatile martial artist ... and it's about time, too, since the Hand has sent Kirigi (Will Yun Lee) and his 3 master assassins, Typhoid (Natassia Malthe) - the woman with the kiss of death -, Stone (Bob Sapp) - a man with a body hard as a rock -, and Tattoo (Chris Ackerman) - whose tattoos regularly come to life with great regularity -, after her.

To cut a long story short, in the end, Elektra wins, and Abby and Mark are saved from the Hand.

 

Now I'm not one to necessarily complain about silly scripts - but for 2005, this one probably takes the cake, and what's worse, it's not only silly, it's also bad and incredibly unfunny: The story is pretty much a blend of a very weak romance plot (the first half) and Oriental martial arts/mysticism by the numbers without any love for the genre as such (the second half), while large portions that could have given the story some meaning are just left unexplained (e.g. what is the Hand, what is the Treasure, and why are Ninjas turning into green dust once they are killed). Now all this wouldn't be so bad if it had great actionscenes or breathtaking stunts - but unfortunately the film wasn't made in Hong Kong or Japan, where people know how to stage impressive fight scenes, but in Hollywood, where visionary stunt directors are few and far between, and the actual action is destroyed by a series of fast cuts and unconvincing computer effects, giving the viewer the feeling to have seen everything much better elsewhere (especially the 1993 anime Ninja Scroll - from where at least the three ninja assassins Typhoid, Stone and Tattoo were blatantly stolen - springs readily into mind).

And then there's of course Jennifer Garner: I won't say she's not cute, because she is, but she just fails to impress as ice-cold action heroine, she just looks like at the edge of panicking or bursting into tears all of the time. As I said, cute. Kirsten Prout on the other hand, who plays Elektra's substitute daughter and a former version of herself, is not even cute, she just seems to be an obnoxious 13-year old ... which might work elsewhere but certainly not in this film. And when she starts doing martial arts, it just seems out of character (apart from the fact that it looks completely unimpressive.

In all, Elektra is just a waste of time, maybe not as bad as Daredevil, but it's getting there.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD