Review: Elektra (2005)





Rob Bowman


Zak Penn, Stu Zicherman, Raven Metzner (Comics: Frank Miller)


96 min.


Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Kirsten Prout, Will Yun Lee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Terence Stamp, Natassia Malthe, Bob Sapp, Chris Ackerman, Edson T. Ribeiro, Colin Cunningham, Hiro Kanagawa, Mark Houghton

MPAA Rating

PG-13 (For action violence)

Buy/Rent Movie



Source Material


Capes, costumes and abnormal powers are the order of the day as super hero movies have flooded the marketplace. Elektra is just one example of what can go wrong with this mutated proliferation.

A spin-off of the modestly successful Daredevil , Elektra (Jennifer Garner) is reborn through the mystical healing capabilities of her master Stick (Terence Stamp). After her resurrection, she has taken jobs as a hired assassin, her ability to move silently from one place to another gives her the edge in the market. She’s renowned and once you know she’s after you, there’s no hope of survival.

When her next assignment takes her after a man, Mark Miller (Goran Visnjic), and his daughter Abby (Kirsten Prout), she must search her soul and decide if the destruction of these lives is worth the money or the danger. Meanwhile, another group of mystical martial artists has set their sights on the family and aren’t as sympathetic.

There is little excitement in Elektra. The film plays like a bad Power Rangers movie. The four strange assassins that come after her, a tattooed man who makes his tattoos come to life, a life-sucking femme fatale, a speed demon and a stone-like man, are cartoonish and unnecessarily aggravating.

Garner (Alias ) reprises her role from Daredevil but with no improvement over the original. The sad truth is that she’s actually worse. A fine actress when on television, Garner seems to lose her appeal when splashed on the big screen. Perhaps it’s the lame plot that can be blamed. Even the incredibly talented Terence Stamp (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and The Limey ) gives a less than impressive performance when teamed with this script.

Elektra has little of the charm of Daredevil partly because Garner’s chemistry with co-star Visjnic (ER ) is lacking. Garner’s character has become so attuned to her search for vengeance that when the opportunity for love arrives, her emotions don’t change and she remains aloof. The character should drop her guard and become vulnerable for the audience but gets sidetracked instead with a lot of butt kicking.

Much like the onslaught of sword-and-sandal epics, the comic-book-adaptation boom has resulted in a decreased effectiveness of the subjects. They have become so concerned with the next big action sequence that these filmmakers have largely ignored the subtleties of plot and character development.

After the success of X-Men , arguably one of the best modern super hero films, the floodgates were opened and wreck after wreck has crashed onto the big screen where it can’t help but be lapped up by an adoring public. However, the quality diminishment will soon put an end to the trend and we’ll have to resign ourselves to the enjoyment of the X-Men and Spider-Man film series. And pray those don’t start succumbing to the pressure of excess.

Elektra is the kind of film that appeals to a niche market and doesn’t open itself to the general audience like the aforementioned super hero flicks. It relies on brand recognition and weak plotting to tell a story that could have been infinitely better told in the pages of the non-motion medium from which it came. Who needs big fight scenes if you can’t enjoy a good story?

Review Written

June 17, 2005

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