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ELEKTRA (director: Rob Bowman; screenwriters: Zak Penn/Stuart Zicherman/Raven Metzner/based on the Marvel Comics character by Frank Miller; cinematographer: Bill Roe; editor: Kevin Stitt; music: Christophe Beck; cast: Jennifer Garner (Elektra Natchios), Terence Stamp (Stick), Kirsten Prout (Abby), Goran Visnjic (Mark Miller), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Roshi), Will Yun Lee (Kirigi), Natassia Malthe (Typhoid Mary), Chris Ackerman (Tattoo), Edson T. Ribeiro (Kinkou), Colin Cunningham (McCabe), Bob Sapp (Stone); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Arnon Milchan/Gary Foster/Avi Arad; 20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises; 2005)
“It felt like I was back in my childhood watching serial chapters at a Saturday matinee.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Fox’s spin-off on the less than scintillating superhero blockbuster Daredevil (2003) flick, which was also based on Frank Miller’s Marvel comic-book, is brought to life in this less assuming but more delightful kickass romp with some tender emotions thrown into the mix for the softer viewer. Rob Bowman (“Reign of Fire”/”The X-Files”) helms this zesty action adventure tale without a hint of self-consciousness and Zak Penn, Stuart Zicherman and Raven Metzner turn in the not-to-be-taken-serious for a moment script. For the most part this actioner with nebulous eastern learning lessons and a fine display of martial arts fighting worked for me as spectacle amid all the puffs of green smoke that had the defeated vanishing into thin air, hiss-able villains and athletic ninja fights to the death ala “House of Flying Daggers.”

Jennifer Garner who played the superhero Elektra in Daredevil whose character was killed off, gets brought back to life, decked out in her hot satin red dress, big boobs and armed with an assortment of knives, by her blind ex-sensei mentor Stick (Terence Stamp). Elektra since given the boot by Stick for not being an obedient student has become a successful but brooding contract killer, and has taken on the assignment her agent McCabe (Colin Cunningham) encouraged her to take to assassinate a widowed father Mark Miller (Goran Visnjic) and his testy teenage daughter Abby (Kirsten Prout) on the run at a remote island.

The tale revolves around an evil supernatural cabal called the Hand, who commissioned Elektra for the hit. But when she balked at doing it because she suddenly gets a conscience, she now also becomes the target of the Hand and has to go on the run with hunky pops and his bratty daughter. The Hand wants Abby, whom they call a Treasure because at the age of four she proved to already be a ninja prodigy; they want to use her for their dark purposes or else destroy her so no else can use her. While on the run in the woods, the trio is pursued by an assortment of colorful superhero villains led by the all-powerful Roshi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa).

It felt like I was back in my childhood watching serial chapters at a Saturday matinee, as Elektra has to take on the instant disease-spreading Typhoid Mary, the animal-like Tattoo, and other superhero evil forces while learning to tap into her pure heart to get back into the good graces of her former guru Stick–someone who has acquired the wisdom to know the Way. Of course, it’s all hokum but it left no bad vibes, it had a certain modest charm and Garner might not be much as an actress but her performance here was pleasing.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”