Elektra Review

by Homer Yen (homer_yen AT yahoo DOT com)
January 18th, 2005

"Elektra" Heroic Tragedy
by Homer Yen
(c) 2005

Beauty and brains are the perfect combination.
But you won't find that here in the film "Elektra." This latest superhero-on-the-big-screen is a confusing melange of tones and concepts. Sure, the svelte Jennifer Garner posing in that wardrobe-malfunction-waiting-to-happen outfit gives the film its sense of beauty and style.
Yet, in such a poorly conceived project, nothing can save "Elektra."

Who is Elektra and what is this film all about?
There doesn't seem to be many anchor points that allow us to wade successfully through this bog of a film. A lot of explaining needs to be done. You'll wonder how Elektra, an efficient and cold-blooded assassin, would suddenly abort her mission of killing her next two targets, the handsome Mark (Goran Visnjic) and his daughter, Abby (Kirsten Prout). And then, oddly, she makes it her personal responsibility to protect them from a second squad of assassins from a secret society called the Order of the Hand. And who is the Order of the Hand? One the one hand, they seem to be a boardroom filled with sneering, Japanese, criminal minds. On the other hand, they seem to be mutants that were unwanted by the world of X-Men. And, it's never clear what will they will gain if they defeat Elektra.

"Elektra" seems be nothing more than an extended pursuit in which our heroine is the target of the Order of the Hand. The villains all have interesting, otherworldly powers. One has a body made out of stone, one breathes on you and causes you to wilt, and one can cause the tattoos on his body to spring forth to life. The leader of this band of miscreants is Kirigi (Will Yun Lee), who can move through air like some kind of sandstorm and looks to have been modeled after one of the characters in a Playstation game like Soul Caliber.
Every 15 minutes, Elektra ushers those in her protective custody to another location. Kirigi and his minions show up very soon afterwards, and they all fight. Much of it just looks out of place. On the one hand, there'll be a showdown on a hilltop home that seems inspired by a Claude Van Damme film. Then there'll be a showdown inside a dusty room inspired by a House of Flying Daggers-esque look as sheets drift through the air. Put all of these sequences together and it's like forcing together a striped shirt with plaid pants. Nothing goes together.

Most glaring, though, is the fact that Elektra makes no effort to find out who Kirigi works for.
Either the thought never crosses her mind or it is purposely done to give studio heads a chance to determine if a sequel is justified. Well hey, if she doesn't care to get to the bottom of it all, then why should we care?
Comic books, I am guessing, are written for boys with a mindset that spans somewhere between an 8-year-old and a 15-year-old. Apparently, this film was formulated in such a way as well.
That's good for the adolescent boys and bad for the rest of us.

Grade: D
S: 1 out of 3
L: 1 out of 3
V: 1 out of 3

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