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With: Jennifer Garner, Terence Stamp, Goran Visnjic, Kristen Prout, Will Yun Lee
Written by: Zak Penn, Stuart Zicherman, Raven Metzner, based on the character created by Frank Miller
Directed by: Rob Bowman
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for action violence
Running Time: 97
Date: 01/08/2005

Elektra (2005)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

For a moment, the new film Elektra, based on the Marvel Comics character created byFrank Miller, looks like it might have potential. However, soon the plot holesstart opening, and we find that the movie has more plot holes than actual plot.

In the original "Daredevil" comic books, Elektra was born in Greece and had a certain exotic quality. Garner -- despite her natural athleticism -- is not exactly right for the role, which she played previously in the horrible 2003 Daredevil film. She's too all-American, and far too Hollywood. Still, she captures a much-needed sadness that a lone wolf assassin would most certainly have.

An opening "unrelated incident" scene demonstrates Elektra's skill. It's played for cool, with spare dialogue, moody lighting and Jennifer Garner's hard-as-nails puss glowering in the darkness.

Later Elektra prepares for her next job, laying out her daily rations of fruit and healthy muffins, as well as new, factory-sealed toothbrushes, toothpaste and other toiletries. It very nearly has a Jean-Pierre Melville (Bob le Flambeur, Le Samourai) quality.

Elektra agrees to take on a new target with a huge paycheck attached. It requires her to travel to a remote island and wait for several days until her target is revealed. While she waits, a nice man, Mark (Goran Visnjic), and his 13 year-old daughter, Abby (Kirsten Prout), invite her to dinner. Guess who her next target turns out to be?

While everything grows more and more ridiculous, the movie unleashes a martial arts supervillain, Kirigi (Will Yun Lee), and his super-sidekicks. Each has some ludicrous superpower (tattoo animals, death breath, etc.) that allows the filmmakers to up their budget by several million to create stupid computer effects for them.

The movie wastes more time by constantly flashing back to Elektra's unhappy childhood, showing how everything that happened to her as a child relates to what's going on now. Talk about a therapy session.

What this movie needed was less. Without all those moronic flashbacks, an obnoxious teenage girl, a passionless romantic subplot and all those half-witted villains, Elektra could have been a terrific lone, stoic assassin, quietly searching -- like Alain Delon -- for meaning in an empty universe.

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