So Marvel is slowly but surely getting every
character they own on the big screen. In some instances, such as
X-MEN and SPIDER-MAN, it works very well. BLADE
started out strong, but didn't seem to hold it's quality after two sequels.
DAREDEVIL was a very interesting attempt. Why? Some comic
fans found it to be a nice interpretation of the classic character.
Others thought it was horrid. Personally I liked it, even though I
didn't initially want to. I actually found it to be entertaining, and
unique considering the films it followed. One very bold aspect of it was
it's inclusion of not one, not two, but three major supporting comic
characters. Kingpin was the villain, and Bullseye was his assassin.
As if that wasn't enough, they also gave us Elektra, in the form of Jennifer
Garner. Now hardcore Daredevil fans know that Elektra was and is a very
important character in the Marvel universe, particularly in those books.
In the big screen version of DAREDEVIL, Elektra dies at the hands of
Bullseye... or does she? Uh, apparently not, since now she's returned in
her own film, with Garner once again taking on the role.
movie begins by showing
us a montage of illustrations, explaining some mystical history, and loosely
giving credence to the storyline we're about to see. Cut to Elektra out
and about, working as an assassin for hire. She's back from the dead,
and more skilled than ever. But her abilities and activities have made
her a cold and lonely woman. Her agent, McCabe (Colin Cunningham), gives
her a new assignment that involves big money, which Elektra reluctantly
accepts. She moves out to a exotic island, and waits for further
instructions on her latest job. While there she meets two people.
The first is Abby (Kirsten Prout), a 13 year old girl who is clearly bored and
misguided, not to mention lonely. The second is Abby's dad Mark Miller (Goran
Visnjic), who seems friendly enough, and is fully aware of his daughter's
behavioral faults. Elektra begins to get comfortable with her new
friends, even though she can't afford to get close with anyone. So
needless to say it's quite a shock when she finds out her assignment is to
take out the Millers. As in all "assassin with a moral dilemma" movies,
Elektra can't bring herself to do the job, and wants out of the situation.
But when others show up looking to pick up where she left off, our lovely
heroine just can't seem to turn her back on the unsuspecting targets. A
man named Roshi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) wants the Millers taken out for
mysterious reasons. His son Kirigi (Will Yun Lee) is more than willing
to do the job. They assemble a team of superpowered assassins.
Stone (Bob Sapp) is a huge muscle man, with skin that can't be penetrated.
Tattoo (Chris Ackerman) is... well... a heavily tattooed man, who can bring
his skin art to life in the form of various animals. Meizumi (Hiro
Kanagawa) is... a... well he's just a bad-ass. And last but certainly
not least is Typhoid (Natassia Malthe), who turns everything she touches into
decaying crud. Kirigi himself is no slouch, moving faster than the human
eye can keep up with. They're all very deadly, and formidable
opponents... but so is Elektra.
I really like Jennifer Garner. Aside
from being nice to look at, she's a fairly good actress. There's
something about her that just works, most of the time. In DAREDEVIL
she had an opportunity to play many different emotions on screen. There
she showed a playful and humorous side, then carried over to a dark and
vengeful personality. It was a nice part, since it allowed her subtle
acting variations. In ELEKTRA, she plays it cold almost the
entire time, and I think ultimately it hurts the film. The script isn't
Shakespeare. In many ways the movie starts out as an assassin with a
conscience flick, and digresses into a MORTAL KOMBAT knockoff.
Not to keep bringing up this film's predecessor, but in DAREDEVIL
everything was pretty much reality-based. This film totally drops that
notion, bringing in several unbelievable elements that are rather hard to
accept. Then there's the kid. This Abby character is an odd
addition. She plays a major plot point, and I guess is necessary to the
story. But I just didn't care about her. I'm assuming she is
supposed to be a sort of mirror for Elektra, that shows what is or has been
wrong with her life. There's a lot of back story injected throughout the
film through flashbacks, like a subplot involving a young Elektra witnessing
her mother get murdered,
and a bit of history showing her training
with a blind sensei named Stick (Terrence Stamp). Goran Visnjic, who
most know from E.R., looks at first like her might become a legitimate
love interest for Elektra, but unfortunately is given very little to do, and
is absent for much of the film's second half.
Rob Bowman, who directed several X-FILES
episodes as well as the X-FILES movie, is behind the camera on this
one. As an action director, he does a fine job. But no director,
no matter how good they are, can save a bad script. I found myself
most upset with select moments where I felt like they just dropped the ball.
Some of the fight scenes are plain disappointing, especially the final fight,
which suffers from a ridiculous amount of unnecessary interfering elements.
That's all I can say without spoiling it. Some of the characters aren't
used enough, like Typhoid. She's based on the comic character Typhoid
Mary. She's easily the coolest of the bad guys, but her appearances are
all too brief, and I was really hoping for a proper fight between her and
Elektra at some point. The Tattoo character is just silly. He may
look cool with the effects, but the concepts are so over the top I couldn't
enjoy it. I really wish they had gone for more of a realistic approach
with the story.
The best part of this film is the opening
action sequence. It's here where we see Elektra just being a ruthless
assassin, and doing her job well. It a great scene, and a promising
opening. But the rest of the film just feels disjointed. The
action scenes are well done, and the fighting is nicely choreographed. I
think the unrealistic elements just took me out of the film one too many
times. It's almost as if they felt the need to create these incredible
villains because Elektra was so amazingly skilled. But they come across
like familiar evil bosses from a cheesy video game. I love comics, but I
didn't care for this. DAREDEVIL is by no means a prefect film,
but it hits the target much better than ELEKTRA. If the
filmmakers had kept that style and setting for this film, I would've enjoyed
it much more. With a show like ALIAS that consistently gives
Garner a chance to do new and interesting things, I'm surprised she would even
want to do a film with such a simplistic script. The poster for this
movie uses the tagline "From the forces that brought you X-MEN". To me
that is a stretch for gaining your confidence, which chances are will be let
down after seeing the end result. If you just want to watch Jennifer
Garner strut around in skimpy outfits looking hot, you'll get your money's
worth. But if you're hoping for a well done comic book film, trust me,
you can do much better.
I almost have to wonder if there was anything
missing from this film. Maybe some important plot elements that were cut
for time. Some of the characters, such as Stick and Roshi, seem a tad
underdeveloped. I wouldn't be surprised if there was more to this story
than what ended up on the screen. In the end I think the biggest problem
is this - Elektra as a character just can't carry a film. Some comic
characters are easy to build a story around. In my mind Elektra has
always been more of a supporting character. We wouldn't want to see a
Robin movie without Batman, or a Bucky movie without Captain America.
Certain heroes are complex enough to do focused storylines with. I'm not
sure Elektra falls into that category.
BIGFANBOY.com score - On a scale of
1 to 10, 10 being the best, I give ELEKTRA a 5.
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