Sunday, December 4, 2011

"Some lessons can't be taught, Elektra. They must be lived to be understood."

Elektra (2005)
Dir: Rob Bowman
Starring: Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Terence Stamp

First of all, let's talk about Daredevil for a minute. While I recognize that it's not a particularly good movie, I liked Daredevil. It's greatest flaw (and it had a whooooole lotta flaws) was that it tried to stuff many years worth of comic book stories into one 90-minute movie. It may not have been great, but it was ambitious and I gotta hand it to a movie that has ambition. There are worse things than your reach exceeding your grasp, and I can appreciate the enthusiasm that Daredevil was approached with by the filmmakers.

That being said, the spinoff Elektra has exactly the opposite problem. There's maybe enough material here to merit an hourlong (45 minutes without commercials) TV pilot, but nowhere near enough to support a 90+ minute movie.

Despite being dead at the end of Daredevil (uh...spoilers, I guess), Elektra Natchios is now alive and well (if it's established how much time has passed since DD, I missed it) and working as a shadowy government assassin (is there any other kind?). The opening scene shows promise, establishing her prowess as she offs a few generic mob dudes, but after that scene is finished the movie doesn't slow down so much as it screeches to a grinding halt.

It is established that Elektra has OCD because she lines up some fruit and she counts stuff. Why is this established? I have no idea, because absolutely nothing is done with it. It may have been a clever touch, it's gotta be difficult to be a mystical ninja assassin who has to make time to line up her fruit, and I'd probably enjoy a movie about an OCD ninja, but this movie has no follow-through.

I haven't said anything about the plot, because neither did any of the five credited writers (3 screenwriters, 2 "characters by"). There's a young girl and her dad, and they're in danger, and there are a metric shitload of evil ninjas, and there's a dude with tattoos that come to life, and there's a blind ninja master, and there's all sorts of comic booky mysticism, and it's all crushingly boring.

Garner is talented and beautiful, and she's a more than capable action movie lead, but she deserves a much better movie than this. There is no reason whatsoever that a movie with this many ninjas should be this plodding and lifeless. 

Elektra Natchios came back from the dead. If only her movie could do the same.

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