Starring: Jennifer Garner, Terence Stamp, Goran Visnjic, Will Yun Lee
Director: Rob Bowman
ALSO! Check out where it ranked in our 2005 Year in Review.
Why some comic book characters are adapted for the big screen before others has always been a mystery to me. Ever since the very first “X-Men” and “Spider-Man” films bombarded filmgoers with colorful characters and exciting action sequences, I quickly made a list in my head of the many others that would soon follow. “Elektra” wasn’t at the top of my list, but neither was the lackluster “Daredevil,” whose spy-like prowess was too identical to that of the web-slinging favorite. Ben Affleck didn’t help the situation any more with his poor representation of the red-suited hero, but the film did introduce the stunning killer Elektra and opened a door that would allow filmmakers the chance to tell the more intriguing story of the ninja-assassin sometime in the future. Apparently movie execs couldn’t wait very long before cashing in on this comic-book spin-off, and instead of constructing a fast-paced action film that would display the assassin’s day-to-day lifestyle as a killing machine, they’ve opted to produce a sappy, Lifetime original movie complete with bad dialogue and few action sequences.
“Alias” star Jennifer Garner reprises her role as the sexy assassin Elektra and looks better than ever. After taking her swan dive at the final battle in “Daredevil,” Elektra has since been resurrected by former sensei Stick (Terrence Stamp) and is back to work in a bright-red costume that could probably be found in the latest Victoria’s Secret catalog. A quick note to moviegoers: Daredevil also trained under the same sensei - hence the major use of his walking cane as a weapon – but was never mentioned in the film’s discussion of the character’s origin.
When Elektra’s latest job requires her to kill a seemingly innocent father (Goran Visnjic) and his daughter Abby (Kirsten Prout), she soon discovers that a secret organization of baddies known as The Hand are intent on killing the mysterious young girl who just so happens to represent the next generation of women just like Elektra. This of course means that Elektra must now do battle with a group of misfit villains like Typhoid Mary (whose poisonous kiss can seal your death), Tattoo (an ink-covered maniac whose creature tattoos come to life) and Stone (this one is probably self-explanatory) in order to protect the girl.
Because the story revolves around the safe-keeping of Abby, the audience is subjected to following around the annoying brat the entire film, even though the title made it quite clear that I was seeing a movie about Elektra. Director Rob Bowman doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into and after the first action-packed half-hour, the script rapidly falls flat on its ass. Blisteringly fast sword-fights and kung-fu face offs are quickly replaced with teary-eyed assassins and memories of her mother’s death. Jennifer Garner comes off as a joke as the incredibly emotional Elektra only because her previous performance in “Daredevil” was so much better, but the writers have turned the character into a soft sponge only capable of winning her battles because she has someone to protect. This is not the movie I went to see and it’s not the one you’ll want to see either. If they intend to build a franchise around this comic-book anti-hero, they'll need to put away the box of tissues and double the body count. And could you please create a lead villain whose best move doesn't involve flying bed sheets?
It’s no surprise that “Elektra” was not only a huge disappointment at the box-office, but also a huge letdown for fanboys awaiting a true portrayal of the spiritual warrior after seeing her merely as Ben Affleck’s love interest in “Daredevil.” What is puzzling though is that the producers behind the film actually gave a damn when throwing the film onto disc. First off, there is no favorable audio commentary to speak of, but there are plenty of other enjoyable extras to sift through when trying to make this scarce rental worth the five bucks you shelled out for it. Included on the single-disc release are three deleted scenes, a 15-minute “Making of ‘Elektra’” documentary, a Comic-Con presentation by Jennifer Garner, and four “Inside the Editing Room” featurettes with director Rob Bowman taking a look at how individual scenes are prepared.