Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Elektra (2005)

While the Daredevil movie was never really going to get a sequel off the ground any time soon after its release, there was sufficient interest in the supporting character of Elektra, played by Alias star Jennifer Garner, for a spinoff film to be made. As it does deal with what happened to Elektra after her 'death' in Daredevil at the hands of Bullseye, I suppose this could also be seen as a semi sequel too.

The only returning cast member is Garner herself, and despite her strong performance, the Elektra movie is quite frustrating. It has a ton of potential from the cool opening scenes, in which we see Elektra doing what she does best as an assassin, but after about ten minutes the film goes off on a weird tangent. This ain't the gritty, real-world setting of Daredevil. No, here people have supernatural powers and ninjas explode into green gas when killed.

After those glorious opening scenes, which perfectly capture the Elektra we know and love from the comics (much more so than was captured in Daredevil, incidentally), the film turns into something that feels very much like a pilot for a failed TV series. You get the cute kid and the love interest, along with the mysterious ninja assassin Elektra making up an uneasy family unit for some of the film. It doesn't work.

Terence Stamp is cool as Elektra's former sensei, but seems a bit out of place in a cast that is a tad bland. The villains are cartoonish and far too outlandish for a film that supposedly follows on from the urban jungle feel of Daredevil, but it is always a pleasure to see Cari Hiroyuki Tagawa onscreen (he was great as Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat...hehe) as the big bad guy boss.

It all feels rather disjointed, and no amount of cool editing tricks and shots of Elektra's hair swishing about in slow motion can hide the fact that it has a weird script and a rather incoherent storyline. There are some great visual elements to the movie, such as the battles during the final act, but the main issue with the film is that it has a great beginning and a great ending with next to nothing between the two.

It's fun enough to watch, as long as you try not to think about what is going on too much. As with most films of questionable pedigree, I enjoyed it, but the critical side of me keeps crying out "But that bit was shit! And that bit was stupid!" Sometimes though, you need to see a film for what it is.

This is a bit of silly fun, with some great action sequences and a script that could have been so much better than it was. The film's saving grace is Jennifer Garner herself, as she really put her all into the role and the training, but you need more than just a brilliant leading lady to have a good film. Ideally I'd like a new cut of the film that takes out the whole second act. Then it would have been awesome. Awesome and short.

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