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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Elektra

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Judy Thorburn

Elektra

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"ELEKTRA" IS ANOTHER ALIAS FOR JENNIFER GARNER

We first saw Jennifer Garner as Marvel comic’s incredible action heroine, Elektra in 2003’s Daredevil.  As a supporting character she died near the ending of that movie. But, Elektra made such impression on audiences that the producers couldn’t wait to bring her back. In the fantasy world of films, anything is possible; therefore, resurrection of the dead is nothing new.  On TV soap operas it is even a routine plot device.

Be that as it may, Jennifer Garner returns as Elektra showcasing that character in its very own motion picture. Explanation is that Elektra was brought back to life and trained by her mentor, blind martial arts guru Stick (Terence Stamp), before being expelled from his camp due to an inability to control her dark impulses. However, you can forget about what you saw in Daredevil.  Here, her persona is a lot darker and troubled. Besides being an amazing fighter, she now possesses the unique ability to move about in a flash without anyone seeing her, and has the power to see into the future, using the art of Kimagure, learned through hours of deep meditation.

When we first meet Elektra in this spin-off, we find she has turned into a lonely, cold hearted assassin, sent by her agent McCabe (Colin Cunningham) on an assignment to the Pacific Northwest (actually Vancouver, Canada) to kill a handsome widower, Mark Miller (Goran Visnjic) and his 13 year old daughter Abby (Kirsten Prout). Why is she an assassin? Her answer is because “ It’s what I am good at”, if you can accept that response as plausible. One would think after getting a second chance at life, work, as a professional killer would be farthest from her mind.

Back to the storyline, Elektra suddenly changes her mind, refuses to go through with her mission, and decides to bond with and protect this father and his daughter after realizing they have been targeted by an evil Asian crime syndicate. Known as The Hand, the organization disperses a group of assassins led by Kirigi (Will Yung Lee) and his henchmen, Tattoo (Chris Ackerman), whose skin markings of a wolf, eagle and snake can morph out of his body at his will to do his dirty work, Typhoid (Natassia Maithe), the deadly beauty who can kill with just a touch or blow of her breath, and Stone (Bob Sapp), with looks and, well, his name should say it all. These characters are never developed, have little screen time, and are there for the purpose of showing off some cool computer generated visual effects and letting Elektra eliminate them one by one.

I like the blend of supernatural in a story, IF such characters’ origins are explained. However, since no background about them is given, I don’t know WHY the bad guys evaporate in a smoky fireworks display when killed.  And, the over the top, gravity defying, somewhat dizzying, martial arts fight sequences, some in slow motion, are nothing we haven’t seen ripped off over and over again from the beautifully orchestrated “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”.

It seems these villains were the same group responsible for the death of her mother, when Elektra was very young, although we never are given the reason why they killed her.  This time around, the assassins’ goal is to seek and capture a so-called Treasure, who happens to take the form of Abby, a child prodigy specially gifted since the age of five. Elektra sees herself in the young Abby, which in turn creates memories and a cause for some flashbacks.

That’s the basic scenario. But, the script is weak and filled with more unanswered questions than answers.

Jennifer looks dazzling, and perfectly fit in her in red leather getup. But, simply put, this role isn’t a stretch for her since it is very much like her Alias role, just another disguise for Sydney, the CIA operative.

Garner has shown herself to be a talented actress with lots of charisma. She was adorable and funny in last years comedy, 13 Going on 30. What she needs is to branch out and take on other roles that prove her capable versatility.

The tag line for Elektra is “Looks can kill”.  That’s nice. I think audiences deserve more from a script, if another follow-up is planned. This attempt to revive the dead lacks the high voltage of a good action movie.  Fitting to say, Elektra-fying, it isn’t.