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  • Writer's pictureCollin Souter

eFilmcritic Archive: "Elektra" (2006)

“A superhero movie in January? Wow!” I thought. “Fox must LOVE this movie so much that they CAN’T WAIT to get it out there! They’re not waiting for summertime or even April! They want the first big, multi-million-dollar star power blockbuster of 2005 NOW! They’re going all out!” Actually, no. “Elektra” has all the turdness you would expect out of a big budget January release that doesn’t feature Frankie Muniz. Fox’s strategy actually works this way: “While everyone focuses on the potential Oscar contenders, we’ll sneak in this stinky-poo into theaters, modestly promote it in order to earn a buck or two and hope to God no one remembers it at the end of the year.”

It might work, but then again I had “My Baby’s Daddy” on my Ten Worst list. Your opinion of this movie won’t really depend on your attitude toward “Daredevil,” the movie/comic book that spawned this spin-off. That movie had its moments of charm and fun, even if it looked too glossy and the action scenes seemed incomprehensible. “Elektra” has no fun to be had. It’s a dour, self-serious and over-acted piece of graphic novel hodge-podge. Although it does make Garner look hotter than she ever has before, the editors did her no favors by leaving in some of the worst acting of her entire career.

This time around, the character Elektra exists in her own world unaware she ever did a movie with Ben Affleck. She roams the earth as a hired assassin who has flashbacks of Clannad videos that relate to her past. With a nice house on the mountains (which may or may not have been previously owned by the late John Denver), she gets the job to murder her next door neighbors, the Millers. This household consists of a widowed father Mark (Goran Visnjic, of “Practical Magic” fame) and his young teenage daughter Abby (Kirsten Prout, of “Once Upon A Christmas” fame).

Of course, Elektra cannot go through with it, seeing as how they invited her over for Christmas dinner the night before and, despite numerous awkward silences, had a great time. Nevertheless, it’s her assignment and if she doesn’t do it someone else will. Who, you ask? The Hand. No, seriously, The Hand will kill them. Who is The Hand? The Hand is a rag-tag group of assassins with names like Tattoo, Stone, Typhoid, Chim-Chim, Bor-Bor and Doc. They all adopt their body language from the Ministry of Silly Walks and will stop at nothing to kill this seemingly normal father-daughter duo.

Elektra takes her orders from hunk McCabe (Colin Cunningham) and a blind man named Stick (Terrence Stamp, and not to be confused with the Burt Reynolds character from 1985), but she defies her orders in order to protect The Millers. They hide out together in order to steer clear of The Hand. In the meantime, Abby tries to form a bond with Elektra by constantly whining that she doesn’t know any of the cool combat tricks that Elektra knows. Elektra trains Abby how to meditate, how to breathe and, most importantly, how to make goofy faces while flying through the air in a slo-mo action movie shot.

Oh, yes, I almost forgot about this being an action movie. Aside from the slow one hour stretch of no action, “Elektra” has some action in it, which is especially awesome if you’re into bed sheets flying around. I’m not, so I didn’t get much excitement from it, but that’s just me. Some of the action revolves around the character Tattoo’s state fair artwork coming to life and flying out of him. Another member of The Hand is a beautiful Asian woman who apparently has such a foul odor that she causes plants to die on the spot as she walks by them (at least that’s my interpretation). All of the action scenes have been conveniently interrupted by quick flashbacks so you can ponder the action while it whizzes by you. Enjoy.

I could admire this kind of stupidgoofycheese if it didn’t take itself so seriously. I’m sure the movie will have its share of fans who claim us critics just didn’t get it. That’s fine, but there’s still no mistaking some bad acting, silly dialogue and over-edited action flashbacks. Sure, Garner’s hot, but what does it say about the credibility of everyone involved when one of the first glimpses we get of her character is of her ass? That pretty much sets the tone for the whole movie right there. Thanks, Fox.

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