Elektra / Dustin Rowles
Film Reviews | May 12, 2006 | Comments ()
p>If the stench of your mother’s basement and unwashed hair emanating from the acne-riddled comic-book-geek theatergoers around you has all but overpowered the dying scent of your stale popcorn, and you feel as though bed sores are beginning to well up on your backside, but you still can’t bring yourself to walk out of the theater before you find out whether Ben Affleck will make a cameo as Daredevil in Jennifer Garner’s Elektra, let me just save your ass the ulceration. Affleck never shows up; and if there was ever a need for Ben Affleck - of all people, the poisonous star of Gigli and Surviving Christmas — to save a movie from bowels of tedium, it is Elektra, a movie so dreary and slow moving that not even the occasional glimpse of Jennifer Garner’s tummy can make it bearable.
Elektra (Garner), who for reasons untold rises from the ashes of Daredevil to star in this painfully unpleasant spin-off, is a troubled young lady who has taken up work as an assassin after her blind martial arts instructor (Terrence Stamp, trying so very hard to be Kill Bill’s David Carradine) kicks her to the curb. After donning her Victoria’s Secret outfit and doing away with a longtime nemesis (why he is a longtime nemesis is unexplained), her agent (yes, Elektra has a fucking agent) sets her up with another hired kill. Only this time, predictably, she gets a schoolgirl crush on her would-be victim (Goran Visjnic), an attraction with no foundation, except, perhaps, that Elektra and Visjnic share a similar jaw line. Elektra, it seems, is also shoplifting the pootie, in the form of the 13-year-old Abby (Kirsten Prout), who, it turns out is a “treasure” that legions of Elektra’s comic book baddies want to possess.
The villains, a devious group of folks known as The Hand, consist of Stone, who is, gasp!, made of stone; Typhoid, who, like X-Men’s Rogue, can suck the life out of people; Tattoo, whose tattoos come to life and wreak havoc (god only knows why the guy didn’t just give himself a girlfriend tattoo and hang out on his couch all day watching “Real World” marathons); and Kirigi, a master ninja with superhuman powers, played by Will Yun Lee, apparently because B.D. Wong is now too old to play the part of the faceless Asian villain.
Before the climactic fight scene pitting Elektra against those bothersome forces of evil, Poor Abby, who, for obvious reasons, doesn’t want to be turned over to The Hand, cries out, “I’m only a kid. I don’t want to be stuck here!” It is we, in attendance, who can most empathize, and while Elektra is enlisted to protect Abby, no one can save the rest of us from the torment that is Elektra, a lifeless, thinly written, cliché-riddled excuse for a film.
Elektra is filmmaking exercise completely devoid of humor, even of the unintentional variety. In addition to a completely lackluster screenplay, director Rob Bowman takes his film all too seriously, so that even the occasional Schwarzeneggerish one-liners fall flat. The fight scenes, what few there are, fizzle, and even Jennifer Garner’s wardrobe leaves much to be desired — when’s she’s not in costume, she’s wearing those damnable sweaters, which is a shame, too, because for a movie with so few thrills, even the cheap ones would have been appreciated.
Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba and managing partner of its parent company, which prefers to remain anonymous for reasons pertaining to public relations. He lives in Ithaca, New York.