It can't be pretended that "Elektra" is anything but a cash-in on "Daredevil" and star Jennifer Garner's popularity as an action star. And the spinoff film as as soulless as that would suggest -- it has some pretty special effects, but is brought down by a half-hearted script that aspires to be a mix of Chinese wire-fu and "Kill Bill."
Elektra (Jennifer Garner) died at the end of "Daredevil." But in the comic book world, death is less restricting than a sprained knee: Elektra is resurrected by the magical mystical powers of Terence Stamp (okay, his character is ungracefully called Stick). She is now a contract killer, and is sent to off a father and daughter in some remote place.
It turns out that there is a Chosen One (hello, fantasy cliches!) who will be a pivot in the battle between good and evil. And the girl Abby (Kirsten Prout) is that Chosen One. Beset by childhood traumas, Elektra decides to protect the two of them from the Hand, a magical bunch of Japanese evildoers who have decided to kill Abby.
When a movie is a cash-in spinoff of a cinematic disaster like "Daredevil," you can't expect it to be good. Especially if the lead heroine -- as in the howlingly bad "Catwoman" -- wears silly leather bondage gear and utters moronic quips. Can't there be a heroine who wears something that would stay on during kung-fu ation scenes?
Rob Bowman better stick to sci-fi suspense, because he can't do action. It feels as if he wanted to make a cross between "Kill Bill" and "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon," with a bit of "Zatoichi" (the blind master) thrown in. The script teems with cliches -- the tortured tough gal! The sensitive love interest! The precocious, poorly-acted kiddie! The wise Yoda clone! Throw in a few high-kicks and you have "Elektra."
It's impossible to really gauge Garner's acting, because the character is as deep as a hamster's footbath -- okay, her mum died when she was little. Very sad, but it doesn't give her character depth, and Elektra Natchios shows no real personality except a few strained quips. Her love interest barely registers, and the villains are just there to do special effects and inconsistent stunts. (One minute you can stab them, the next they're invincible. Huh?)
"Elektra" is a heartless, dull mess of flips and quips -- and that's just the character. The movie is even worse, second only to "Catwoman" for comic book badness.