No spark in ‘Elektra’

Robert Taylor

Comic book adaptation fails to jump off page

Credit: Andrew popik

It was when Elektra found herself fighting off hundreds of evil bed sheets that I realized her evil nemesis in this film wasn’t exactly up to par with Colin Farrell’s Bullseye from Daredevil.

I have nothing against the evil bed sheets being floated at Elektra by the evil Kirigi (Will Yun Lee). I’m sure they can be scary under the right circumstances (what those circumstances are, I have no idea, but I’m sure there must be some). But why didn’t the evil mastermind decide to attack Elektra with evil kitchen knives, evil shards of broken glass or, heck, evil toilet seats?

Evil bed sheets aside, Elektra is the kind of film that isn’t outright awful ,but nothing stands out enough to make me recommend it. Even the always-amazing Jennifer Garner doesn’t give a great performance, but then again she isn’t given much material to make her excel.

The talent was there: Rob Bowman directed some of the best episodes of The X-Files, Garner is one of the best actresses of her generation, and the character is an interesting 3-D creation in the comic books. But something got lost in the translation.

After a long prologue sequence with Terence Stamp telling us about things the viewer doesn’t need to know, the film opens a few years after Elektra found herself on the wrong end of her own sai in Daredevil (no mention is made of that film).

She’s now an assassin for hire, and the obsessive-compulsive disorder she had as a child has come back, causing her to arrange her fruit and count her steps in fives. A lot of fun could have been had with Elektra’s OCD (instead of cutting through those evil bed sheets with her sais, she could have folded those bad boys) but it comes and goes at will.

Elektra is paid $2 million for a hit, but to get the money she must arrive at the location of the hit (a beautiful island location and a house designed and decorated so well it seems like the guys from “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” just left).

Once on the island, her neighbors, Abby and her father Mark Millar, invite her over for Christmas dinner. Elektra accepts, and once she gets there she realizes something is a bit off with the family (Elektra: “You are wearing rare ancient warrior beads said to possess the most potent of magical powers. These were only bestowed upon the greatest warriors of their generation.” Abby: “Uh, I got them off eBay.”)

When Elektra learns her hit is, in fact, the Millar family she decides that instead of murdering them she should protect them from the evil organization, The Hand, and a game of cat and mouse ensues. The Hand sends in the evil Kirigi (wielder of the evil bed sheets), Tattoo (his tattoos become CGI animals at will), Stone (think Bane from Batman and Robin) and Lady Typhoid (who possesses the uncanny ability to make comic fanboys everywhere go crazy by kissing Jennifer Garner for 30 seconds for no particular reason).

Later, Elektra uncovers the Millars’ secret and continues to protect them through some choppily edited action sequences. You know the kind, where none of the shots last for more than two or three seconds, that way the actors don’t have to be really good at martial arts or stunts; they just have to move a certain way to make them look like they are.

The locations are gorgeous (a vineyard, a forest, an old mansion, a maze) but what happens in them just isn’t that interesting. And then, of course, we get to the finale with the evil bed sheets and Elektra facing off one final time with the evil Kirigi before she has her token happily ever after.

I’m making the movie sound a lot worse than it is. Yeah, it has an obscene amount of faults, but it isn’t all bad. The action sequences, while choppy, are competently done and kept my attention. While Garner doesn’t turn in a great performance, she does well with what material she is given. The movie never gets boring either: By the time the viewer realizes how awful parts are, they have already come and gone.

It’s also a lot different than the under-appreciated Daredevil. While that film was dark and dismal this one had spunk and lighter moments. Guys won’t mind watching this one to see Garner in that tight red suit and the ladies will appreciate the girl-power message and the corny ending.

I’m not recommending Elektra, but if you find yourself with two spare hours on your hands, have nothing better to do on an afternoon, and are sick to death with brainy Oscar bait this could be the movie for you.


Contact pop arts reporter Robert Taylor at [email protected]