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Action / Adventure
Born to fight. Trained to kill.
CAST AND CREDITS:
Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Terence Stamp, Jason Isaacs, Will Yun Lee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Natassia Malthe, Bob Sapp,Colin Cunningham, Hiro Kanagawa, Chris Ackerman, Edson Ribeiro, Jana Mitsoula, Kirstin Prout
Raven Metzner, Stuart Zicherman, Zak Penn, Frank Miller
Mark Steven Johnson, Gary Foster, Avi Arad
20th Century Fox
Rated PG-13 Mild Violence
Rated PARENTAL GUIDANCE
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"Since time began a war has been fought between good and evil."
Considering that Jennifer Garner as Elektra stole the DAREDEVIL movie from Ben Afleck, it was inevitable that she would get her own feature film. Well, Frank Miller's 1980'S creation finally comes to the big screen, with Garner reprising the role of Elektra Natchios. Jennifer Garner the star of the television show ALIAS is a natural for the part of the sultry, sai wielding assassin, as those of you who watch the series are well aware. Saved from apparent death in DAREDEVIL, she returns as a warrior who has purposefully severed ties with most of society except for her agent, Mickey McCabe(Colin Cunningham), who supplies her with her assignments. We discover that Elektra is now gifted and cursed with the mystical power, kimagure, a limited ability that lets her see into the future.
"She is the final weapon in an ancient war."
This should have been, first in a series is steeped too much in mysticism, more than I remember while reading Elektra and Daredevil comics but luckily it works reasonable in the film. Director Rob Bowman tries hard to blend it well with the spectacular stunts and incredible marital arts sequences. He obviously took the time to study last years incredible martial art film HERO (starring Jet Li), for storytelling and action sequences. Do not get me wrong as this is not criticism because he made the scenes work well. Watch the fight sequence in a room full of fluttering and whirling white sheets and see if you do not recognize where it came from. The film is well acted and well directed so it should do well, pleasing both comic fanboys as well as the general movie going audience.
"You know, the better the assasin, the closer they get to you before you know they are there."
The premise is that Elektra, a motherless daughter, is the warrior who is destined to tip the hand between good and evil. It is obvious that she leans to the evil side as we watch her stalk and kill a target who realizes that there is no escaping her and easily acquiesces to her deadly skills. Even though she could have reached and killed Bauer (Mark Houghton) without killing anyone else, she relished the idea of taking out as many as fourteen guards to get to him. This opening sequence, of course, was to show the newer audience just how deadly Elektra is as an assassin.
"I'm the best student here."
"Not the best...the most powerful."
The Hand, is a powerful and evil syndicate whose members practice the dark martial art of ninjitsu as well as mystical arts. The Hand is in direct opposition to the White Ninja Clan led by Stick (Terence Stamp) who has been Elektra's master, as we see in flashbacks. He was also responsible for rescuing and resurrecting the warrior woman. Using trickery, Stick puts Elektra on the path of Mark (Goran Visnjic) and Abby Miller (Kirsten Prout), a father and daughter who have been targetted by the Hand for death or so it seems. She has been paid to assassinate these two, but after she spends time with them, she can't do it and ends up protecting them from The Hand's ninja killers. I'm going to keep you in the dark as best as I can as to why these two are targetted for death. You have to go and see the movie to find out why.
"Elektra, like the tragedy. Your parents must have had a sense of humour."
Director Bowman takes lots of time in short flashback sequences to fill us in on Elektra's past, from young child to her time in training. Actually her entire life has been one of training as we find out. She was always pushed to be the best and the toughest. During these flashbacks we see that Elektra holds dearly a prized trinket that belonged to her assassinated mother. Elektra will meet her mother's killer in a superb battle after she has some deadly battles with some of the Hand's extraordinary killers.
"The war is over."
"The war has just begun."
"Another day old man."
Besides Kirigi, played by Will Yun Lee, Elektra must also take on some deadly characters. Typhoid Mary(Natassia Malthe) has the power to suck out the energy from her victims by making them ill to the point of death. Tattoo played by Chris Ackerman was my personal favourite even though he was based on a DC comic charcter rather than a Marvel character. For those of you who go back a way, you will remember an old enemy of Green Lantern called the Tattoo Man. he had the power to bring the tattoos covering his body, to life to do battle with the hero. This character even goes back to Ray Bradbury's THE ILLUSTRATED MAN novel about a tattooed man. Rod Steiger played the tattoed man in the film version of the novel. Bob Sapp plays Stone a big black mountain of a man who seems to be based on Marvel hero, Luke Cage. Both these characters are invulnerable to bullets and knives and nothing seems to be able to penetrate his skin. This makes his dispatch in the film a little silly and somewhat disappointing because it makes little sense. If his skin was so tough how could a falling tree kill him. Okay I spoiled one scene for you. Wait, surely you realize that Elektra will kill lots of enemies in this film, right? Good, I didn't want you to think this was a sanitized television version of Elektra.
"You know, I used to be the treasure."
When Jennifer Garner fights Will Yun Lee(Kirigi) in Elektra, we are treated to a top notch battle. Will Yun Li is a real fighter, the real deal. According to Garner he really pushed her and she strugggled hard just to keep up, but she found him incredible. Will Yun Lee's dad was one of the first big Tae Kwon Do instructors in the United States. Will Yun Lee still has a dojo in San Francisco.
"This non-existent woman killed fourteen of them."
Aside from all this, from from the comic fanboy point of view that I may have about this film; I must say that it has quite a few weaknesses that may detract most viewers. Elektra fails at being a tragic figure as she is meant to be in the DAREDEVIL film. This is not Frank miller's ELEKTRA for sure. The movie does not make Elektra that sympathetic a character and without her love for Matt Murdock this movie does falter. The romance scenes between Matt Murdock and Elektra were some of the best scenes in DAREDEVIL and that is something lacking in this film. Her two simple kissing scenes with Goran Visnjic do nothing to help it along on this path. The constant change from mysticism and martial arts is somewhat confusing because it makes character's actions confusing. This causes some weak plot devices and leaves it open to those infamous plot holes.
"You can't fight a ghost Bauer."
Anyway I really am not interested in saying anymore about the film because even though I enjoyed it on one level, I was disappointed in the fact that it could have been so much substanctial and yet it was not. Now, I anxiously await Frank Miller's SIN CITY in April. I'm sure since he is involved in that picture it is going to be the film noir masterpiece that Elektra could have been. Hollywood can take something decent and all too often bent and twist until it borders on indecent.
"Will I see you again?"
"We'll find each other."
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Vincent Marchesano also known as Vince enjoys watching all types of films and enjoys reviewing them. At an early age he became enamoured with motion pictures especially horror films, fantasy films and science fiction films. His tastes quickly were amended to include all other film genre, from westerns to romances and epic films from all over the world. His taste in films became wide and eclectic as was his taste in music. He loved to watch Movie Classics, Feature Films, American Movie Classics, monster movies, Canadian Movie Classics, Classic Movies, War Films, American Movies of all types, Canadian Movies, Adventure movies, action movies, featuring especially John Wayne. His interest in Classic Films began with the Marx Brothers films and with the 1920's Lon Chaney version of Phantom of the Opera Movies. He soon began reading about Film Stars and Directors in American Films and Italian films which gave him a great appreciation for Orson Welles and Fredrico Fellini, THe advent of video tapes brought him a whole new appreciation for, American Movies, Classic Cinema, American Cinema, Films, Hollywood, Movies, Classic Hollywood, Film Reviews, Black and White Movies, Silent Films, Silent movies,Actress, Actors, Westerns, Horror, Hollywood Drama, science Fiction, Drama, Comedy, Sex, terror, Adventure, Monster movies, Thrillers, thrill, Hollywood Stars, , Motion Picture, Show, horror movies, Talking Pictures, Hollywood Documentary and War Movies. Moving Picture viewings were no longer limited to Silver Screens of repetoire Movie Theaters where he was introduced to Technicolor Films, action films, suspense, suspense movies as 35mm features. At these cheap theatres that dotted the landscape 35mm, 35mm movies and 16mm movies became his inspiration which helped his story telling when drawing his super hero comic strips as well. The new digital age brought in dvds,digital movies,videos, tapes which he could watch in the comfort of his home. His interest in films at one point brought him into the theatrical exhibition field where he ran several discount houses as well as art theaters and drive-in movie theaters. He quickly realized that he was not happy with how most reviewers reviewed films he was showing. This lead him in the idea of writing more industry friendly Movie reviews. His movie review were reviewed within their own categories. Gone were reviews where Godzilla would be compared to some Fellini film. He believed that horror movies should be compared to other horror and fantasy films. Romance movies should be compared to other films of that genre. Vince very rarely disliked any film except for his great disdain for Existenz and Scenes From A Marriage. He can watch King Kong, The Great Escape, Bringing up Baby, Marx Brothers and Killer Klowns From Outer Sapce over and over. He likes to enjoy many classics such as Citizen Kane and Wizard of Oz but he has a soft spot for cartoons which he can watch over and over especially Betty Boop and Popeye along with all the warner Brother characters. He know continues to review films at a slower pace due to lack of time but he promises to do more. So many films to watch, so little time, but where there is a will there is a way.