Film Reviews

ELEKTRA

By • Jan 14th, 2005 •

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20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises presentation in association with Marvel Enterprises Inc. A New Regency/Horseshoe Bay production
MPAA rating PG-13 / Running time — 97 minutes

QUOTE: It’s not SCHINDLER’S LIST, but it’s not CATWOMAN either.

I’m back from 17 days cruising Antarctica. After the cruise, we spent several days in Buenos Aires. I’ll get to Antarctica’s icebergs and penguins later on in other reviews; right now, before ELEKTRA, I’d like to say a few things about Buenos Aires – a very sexy city. First, no self-respecting Argentinean woman – young or old – would appear in public without showcasing her bosom regardless of its condition. I counted twenty pregnant women proudly showing off uncovered bellies. And I now know why Argentinean polo players are so favored by rich American socialites. Argentinean men are very handsome. Argentinean women are severe. Even the homeless are good looking.

For a country that nearly collapsed due to a financial crisis of catastrophic proportions, Argentina’s capital city was flush with crowded high-end malls and packed restaurants.

Buenos Aires has everything and, it’s dangerous! We were warned to be very careful even walking around in the exclusive district where we were staying.

The Tango? With apologies to Tango aficionado Bobby Duvall, yes, anyone can learn the Tango. But only Argentineans, with their long limbs and aristocratic stern faces, can truly dance the Tango. The Tango was created to advertise their biological assets. My husband didn’t like the Tango. His only comment was: “They’re your people,” which is marriage-speak for “The men and women are anorexic.”

Unlike Las Vegas, I did not see one fat person in Buenos Aires.

And now ELEKTRA. I don’t know the mythology of Elektra, except that she died at the end of DAREDEVIL. I never have even seen the Marvel Comic ELEKTRA is based on, so I will judge the movie on it’s own merits. I did see DAREDEVIL, HELLBOY, and CATWOMAN. I have no prejudice against comic books segueing into “popcorn” movies. It appears we must suspend reality and will be enduring tiny U.S. and Asian females beating the crap out of huge men and vicious dogs (RESIDENT EVIL 1 & 2, BLADE: TRINITY, UNDERWORLD, and HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS). So be it.

Unequivocally, I continue to state that I hate “faux blind” characters in movies (THE VILLAGE, ZATOICHI, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, DAREDEVIL and now ELEKTRA). ELEKTRA has a blind master teacher, Stick (Terence Stamp) who, like all martial arts masters not written by Quentin Tarantino, pontificates. We are living through the cinematic Curse of Yoda.

Elektra Natchios (Jennifer Garner) is kind of like a modern Jesus. (Though Jesus still holds first place ranking for not only prophesizing His death and resurrection, but resurrecting Himself from the Realm of the Dead without any human intervention.) Elektra is resurrected through the healing hand of Stick.

A fancy trick for a guy with a disability.

Like all killers with super-powers, contract hitwoman Elektra doesn’t bother boring us with her hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow. She makes a pretty good living killing people and minding her own business. Deposit a couple of million in her offshore account, give her the location, and then name the target. Since Elektra doesn’t ask her handler for any details on the reason for the hits, I assume she doesn’t care whether her targets deserve elimination.

As soon as I perfect my superpowers, I promise not to enjoy them.

Elektra is bitter and killing people just isn’t the balm she hoped it would be. But it’s a living and she is very good at it. Being empowered with super-human strength and invulnerability – as well as the ability to see almost into the near future – does, however, make one morose, suspicious, and prone to living in the past. Elektra cannot get over the death of her mother. What happened to Elektra’s loving father?

Apparently, and this is only a guess on my part, Stick found Elektra in an orphanage and became mother, father, and teacher to her. Stick took her under his handicapped wing and trained her in the magical arts. She became his star pupil but then left under mysterious, less-than-happy circumstances. She became a free agent.

Elektra’s newest assignment is to kill sweet, single dad Mark Miller (Goran Visnjic) and his precocious teenage daughter, Abby (Kirsten Prout). Elektra accepts an invitation to have Christmas dinner with them and decides she cannot kill them. She suddenly becomes a killer with a conscience. She relates to Abby having recently lost her mother.

In a surprise twist (well, it’s a surprise if you haven’t seen all the promotion for the movie) Mark and Abby are running from The Hand, a magical crime organization that practices a surreal form of martial arts known as ninjitsu. My favorite evil empress is Typhoid (Natassia Malthe) who goes all Angelina Jolie with Elektra (to the absolute delight of the audience). One of them, Tattoo (Chris Ackerman), has his animal tattoos come to life.

The Hand’s team of killers are delicious, extravagant half-human/half-spirit. Too bad they all had to die after all those years of training and strutting the Earth in nice outfits.

Elektra identifies with the young Abby and sees herself in the girl known to The Hand as The Treasure. Abby was also trained by Stick and has never heard of Elektra. She will be a better killer than Elektra, but will she kill for the good of Mankind or, like Elektra, for a paycheck?

Oh, let’s not dwell on moral issues. It’s a comic book anti-heroine. And she is no CATWOMAN!

You are thinking right now, so what exactly did Victoria like about ELEKTRA? I liked the mood director Rob Bowman instilled and the overall dark, dank tone. Written by Zak Penn, Stuart Zicherman and Raven Metzner, the characters of Elektra, Mark and Abby have enough emotional dimension to be interesting. The movie has a menacing sense of doom and foreboding heartache. It appears that there was a thematic intention: This is no hack job dominated by wirework and special effects. If you liked HERO and support living characters with non-human abilities, this is a worthy accomplishment. And, there is not going to be a happy ending, a love story, or personal redemption. Like real life, nothing gets cleaned up and neatly wrapped in plastic.

Gorgeous Garner carries herself well and should be doing more dramatic, challenging movie roles. She appears to have enough range to convey varied emotions. Visnjic – he has the tough role to be masculine yet an ineffectual bystander to his daughter’s super-powers and Elektra’s swift swordplay – conveys a sympathetic, strong romantic stranger with a heart.


Cast:
Elektra Natchios: Jennifer Garner
Stick: Terence Stamp
Abby: Kirsten Prout
Mark: Goran Visnjic
Roshi: Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Kirigi: Will Yun Lee
Tattoo: Chris Ackerman
Kinkou: Edson T. Ribeiro
Typhoid: Natassia Malthe
Stone: Bob Sapp

Credits:
Director: Rob Bowman
Screenwriters: Zak Penn and Stuart Zicherman & Raven Metzner
Producers: Arnon Milchan, Gary Foster, Avi Arad
Executive producers: Stan Lee, Mark Steven Johnson, Brent O’Connor
Director of photography: Bill Roe
Production designer: Graeme Murray
Editor: Kevin Stitt
Costume designer: Lisa Tomczeszyn
Music: Christophe Beck

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2 Responses »

  1. Heeeeey!!
    I love this movie especialy tattoo cutie!
    ufff papasote

  2. Amo esta pelicula al que le salen tatuajes del cuerpo es un mangaso esta precioso
    que puedo decir es un manjar de hombre.Espero ver mas peliculas de el en cual el espero que protagonice.
    Adios!!!
    la chaparrita

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