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Elektra (2005)
Director: Rob Bowman

review by Jeff Young

Since her 'tragic' death in Daredevil, vengeful heiress Elektra has been magically revived by kung fu guru and mentor Stick (Terence Stamp, giving probably the best performance of the supporting players), and now makes a living as near-legendary international killer-for-hire, aided by murder-contractor McCabe (Colin Cunningham). Her latest targets are widower Mark Miller (the Croatian actor Goran Visnjic, a TV medic in ER, who made his big screen Hollywood debut in Welcome To Sarajevo) and young daughter Abby (Kristen Prout). It takes the psychologically troubled Elektra by surprise when she finds it impossible to kill them, and her conscience dictates that she defend Mark and Abby from the squad of ninjas immediately dispatched by her mysterious employer, to complete the job.

As it turns out, Abby is a martial arts prodigy capable of taking care of herself in the running fight scenes, and Elektra discovers that ancient cult The Hand consider Abby to be a living weapon (the 'Treasure') they want to claim for entirely criminal purposes, and Hand gang-leader Roshi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, from Rising Sun, Mortal Kombat, White Tiger, The Art Of War), sends his best lieutenant, ambitious Kirigi (Will Yun Lee), accompanied by a team of supernaturally empowered assassins, including Stone (Bob Sapp), Typhoid (Natassia Malthe), and Tattoo (Chris Ackerman), to kidnap Abby and slay Elektra...
supervillains lineup in Elektra
As the title character, Jennifer Garner (Alias), is every inch the superstar heroine, but she's poorly served here by a bog-standard storyline and some uninspired set-piece action. The pace is lively enough to help us suspend disbelief in the impressive digitally generated visual effects and the wire-assisted acrobatic stunt work, which the likes of Will Yun Lee (from 007 movie Die Another Day) carry out with aplomb, and Garner's physicality ensures that all her missions and daring duels are suitably enjoyable, and yet there's honestly nothing here to get excited about in terms of a skilful cinematic adaptation of the comicbook source. Elektra is wonderful eye-candy and a watchable 90 minutes of glamorous fantasy-action, but it lacks dramatic resonance - in spite of the heroine's growth and development, from guiltless mercenary and cold-blooded killer to motherly protector and saviour of the innocent.

Fans of superhero comics will find much to admire in the film's cleverly unobtrusive introductions to the supervillains, and the sheer professionalism of Ms Garner overcomes the twin handicaps of an underwritten script and fairly ludicrous costumery, but Elektra can only be rated as just above average. Thankfully, at least it's far superior to the appalling rubbish of last year's Catwoman.
Elektra - poster artwork

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Jennifer Garner as Elektra



Elektra - on DVD


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