9 out of 10
Ever wondered just why Superheroes always wear their underwear on top of their other clothes? Or why they have such garish outfits? "Elektra" paints a very different picture to the norm - whereas other Superhero films suffer from the common fault of their shallow, one-dimensional nature of the protagonists, Elektra is truly a conundrum inside an enigma. Severely psychologically mauled, she hides her weaknesses and short-comings in her Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): everything has a place and a place of r everything, only walk in multiples of five steps and so on. Moreoever, "Elektra" is to the genre as a spaghetti western is to a John Wayne classic, one where the badies might be evil, but the good guys are little better, for she is an assassin who works for the highest bidder, and, in part on account of the attention to detail that her OCD gives her, she cannot be stopped. And why? She knows no other way.
Hired by "The Order Of The Hand", an evil secret society that closely ressembles everyone's image of a Japanese multinational, she baulks at killing her next-door-neighbours, a man and his 13-year old daughter who are on the run from them, leaving her to question and be questioned about, the morality of her murderous career for the first time and putting her on a direct collision course with her former employers.
As the supreme Master of the martial arts, Elektra and her life would seem the perfect excuse for 90 minutes of kick boxing and karate chopping mayhem, yet the film is centred more on who she is and her style of life, complete with Colin Cunningham as her all-too-realistic agent. A fast talking and slick man, concerned with preserving Elektra more as an asset, contributing to the bottom line profit than as a human being, he is one of the first to realise the danger as the Hand send a variety of themed villains. Armed with bizarre superpowers that are an invariable staple in such movies, they include Typhus, a gorgeous raven-haired beauty whose kiss, touch or very presence blights and kills every living thing near her - a sort of human embodiment of the Quebec Language Police.
Sadly "Rejekta" might have been a better title for the movie considering what I feel is such unjustified criticism from other reviewers, for they have failed to comprehend a basic concept of the movie, female superheros would not just be the same as men in the body of a woman, but would be, de facto, effeminate, and the film rightfully portrays a softer, more artsy style. Indeed, despite being developed from a comic strip, "Elektra" has a depth that is rare, and not just through the performance of a lifetime from Jennifer Garner in the title role. The truly magnificent cinematography, the beauty of its landscape and the clever use of colour that plays so well against the shock of red of her outfit, are all closely reminiscent of "Hero", and yet gripping moments follow, including where she walks into a room and straight into a demon in all it's evil glory, as scarey moment as I have ever seen in any horror flick.. Add the renown English Shakespearian stage actor, Terence Stamp as her blind mentor "Stick", and it more closely ressembles an artsy film than a blockbuster flick... but above all, the absence of the "Control Room", present in almost every Bond movie, is not only welcome, but enhanced by the splendour of the actual setting for the final showdown.
Don't Rejekta, it's Elektra... an artsy style Superhero film
Film Critic: - Robert L Thompsett