**1/2 (out of 5)
January 14, 2005
Jennifer Garner as ELEKTRA
Goran Visnjic as MARK MILLER
Kirsten Prout as ABBY MILLER
Will Yun Lee as KIRIGI
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as ROSHI
Terence Stamp as STICK
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Rob Bowman
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
My apologies to all the Jennifer Garner fans out there, but she’s really just a one-note actress. She’s like Julia Roberts, who soars when she plays her roles in “Pretty Woman” and “Erin Brockovich.” Jennifer Garner is great as Sydney Bristow in “Alias.” Not so great in quirky romantic comedies like “13 Going on 30” or as a vixen in “Catch Me If You Can.”
Now, “Daredevil” was such a weak superhero movie, it wasn’t hard to beat it. In fact, I’ll go on the record right now and say that “Elektra” is better than “Daredevil” and also better than the last superheroine movie “Catwoman.” But if you’ve seen either of those films, you’ll know that Chewbacca burping for two hours would be better.
I grew up as a DC guy. Never really got into the Marvel comics. Nothing against Marvel, except that I never had enough money to follow the characters from two different universes. Most of the recent superhero movies have been drawn from the Marvel universe, so I can come to them without a preconceived notion of their plots. I don’t care about the mythology of Elektra or Daredevil or The Punisher or even the X-Men and Spider-Man.
Still, I was a tad nervous that “Elektra” was a spin-off on such a weak superhero movie. However, at least in the advanced marketing, it seemed that the character of Elektra fell into Jennifer Garner’s one-note repertoire. Even when she showed up in “Daredevil,” she was trying to stretch… and by the end of the film, it looked like she sprained something.
So, while “Elektra” is a better film than “Daredevil” and “Catwoman,” it doesn’t hold a candle to the really good superhero movies like the “X-Men” and “Spider-Man” films. Heck, even last year’s mediocre “The Punisher” was a better film with a stronger story.
And that’s where this film falls apart – story. (Isn’t this where all films fall apart?)
In “Elektra,” the psi-weilding heroine has been brought back to life by a ninja-esque leader named Stick (Terence Stamp). He trained her to be even better at martial arts than ever before. However, when she’s told to leave his school, she becomes a hired assassin.
However, she is hired for a new hit and has to live in a strange house for several days before finding out she’s supposed to whack. She befriends a father/daughter broken family next door. Well, it should come as no surprise (since they’re the only other characters in the flippin’ movie at this point) that these are the targets. Suddenly, Elektra grows a conscious and becomes their protector. And the chase is on.
There’s so many things that would have been great to see. Why didn’t they resurrect Bullseye (with or without Colin Farrell), so she can seek vengeance for him killing her? Why didn’t they even make a fleeting reference to Matt Murdock or Daredevil? Why didn’t they choose a different storyline than the little girl in jeopardy. This plot is so old that there are cliches within cliches.
The action sequences are pretty slick, although the director shamelessly rips off “Hero” in at least two of them. Terrence Stamp, who really isn’t a great actor per se but can be a lot of fun in a role, is wasted as Stick. His dialogue as the blind Yoda guide made me roll my eyes at more than one occasion. And while the rogues gallery of freaky mystical assassins are pretty cool, the lead villain is about as weak as Dracula in “Van Helsing.”
This movie is a fluff piece for Jennifer Garner if I ever saw one. But it doesn’t do enough with story and character to prove that she can leap from the TV screen to the silver screen as an action hero.
And one final word about Jennifer Garner. Lay off the collagen injections, lady! It’s sexy on Angelina Jolie, but it just looks freaky on you. It looks like you were punched in the mouth before each take.