Elektra (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner18/01/2005

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 98 mins

Dumb but occasionally fun action movie, rendered watchable by Jennifer Garner’s performance.

Jennifer Garner was comfortably the best thing about 2003’s Daredevil, so it was inevitable that she would end up with her own spin-off movie, despite the minor inconvenience of having been killed off in the Ben Affleck flick.

Admittedly, fans of the comic character are going to be deeply disappointed, but fans of Jennifer Garner (of which there are many, thanks to her starring role in TV’s Alias) will probably enjoy themselves. Just make sure you’re not sitting in front of one at the time.

Mystic Nonsense Resurrects Dead Comic Character

Amusingly, instead of just going for a prequel to Daredevil, the film actually resurrects her, thanks to some ancient mystic nonsense performed by Terence Stamp, as “Stick”, her blind mentor. After that the plot is pretty simple. Having been dead, Elektra cuts herself off from the world (she’s dead INSIDE, see?), working as a Sexy Assassin (her victim in the opening sequence seems to positively relish the experience) and living only for her next assignment.

However, when she’s asked to kill the cute guy next door (E.R.’s Goran Visnijc) and his feisty teenage daughter (Kristen Prout), she refuses and instead finds herself targeted by The Hand, a sinister group of super-powered assassins who are versed in the art of ninjitsu and are given to expiring prettily in clouds of explosive green smoke.

There’s so little of the comic book character here that they might just as well have invented a new character; fans of Frank Miller’s complex (and highly recommended) graphic novel will feel particularly hard done by. Still, at least Elektra gets to wear her trademarked red costume (criminally absent from Daredevil), although the censor-baiting skimpy flowing silks have been replaced with a more traditional lace-up bustier-type ensemble.

Garner is an extremely likeable actress, even if she occasionally mistakes acting for pouting - she’s the reason the film is never less than watchable. Ironically, she has more onscreen chemistry with Kristen Prout than with Visnjic, which is probably why she manages to pull off the awful cliché of “learning to love again”, thanks to her relationship with Prout’s character.

To her credit, Prout is actually pretty good, whereas Visnjic barely registers and Stamp contents himself with a rather poor Yoda impersonation, uttering appalling lines such as, “I see more than any of you because I do not look”.

Talk To The Hand

The fight sequences are occasionally confusing, but generally okay, although it's hard to take a villain (or group of villains) who refer to themselves as "The Hand" seriously. (Sadly, no-one says, "Talk to The Hand"). There’s also a ridiculous fight set amongst several floating bedsheets that probably ought to have gone back to the drawing board.

In addition, there’s a suspicion that some of the violence and weapons may have been edited for a 12A certificate, because some of the deaths occur “offscreen” (sort of). At any rate, Bowman is clearly better at chase sequences, as he manages to make them both tense and exciting.

Next to Garner and Prout, the best things about the film are the super-villains, particularly Tattoo (played by Chris Ackerman), whose animal tattoos flow off his body and become real, thanks to some impressive effects work. However, for the film’s core audience, the undisputed highlight will be Nastassia Malthe as Typhoid (Typhoid Mary in the comics), whose power, rather handily is Death By Kissing. In other words, the perfect excuse for a spot of slo-mo girl on girl kissing action…

In short, Elektra could have been a lot better but it could also have been a lot worse. As a result, it will almost certainly enrage existing fans while simultaneously picking up some new ones and your enjoyment of the film is likely to depend on how much you like Jennifer Garner. Still, it’s better than Daredevil and at least Ben Affleck (Garner’s current offscreen boyfriend) isn’t in it.

Film Trailer

Elektra (12A)
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Content updated: 22/09/2018 12:07

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