The movie adaptation of Marvel Comics' DAREDEVIL had its share of problems, but Jennifer Garner as Elektra was not among them. Intense, charismatic, gorgeous and convincingly physical, she was so good that a spin-off starring the character seemed like a perfectly good idea. True, Elektra died in DAREDEVIL, but once the supernatural has entered a franchise, this sort of thing isn't a deal-killer.
ELEKTRA does in fact acknowledge Elektra's death in the first film in flashback, we see her being resurrected (rather easily) by her mentor, Stick (Terence Stamp) though there's no mention of Daredevil. Elektra has become a hardened assassin, who slices her way through a baddie's bodyguards before delivering the coup de grace to her primary target. Elektra secretly has qualms about her line of work and still aches over being turned out of Stick's sanctuary (she's too filled with rage to truly benefit from his teachings, he says), and she needs some time off, but she's offered a fortune to accept a new assignment. Waiting to learn the names of her targets, Elektra is holed up at a secluded house on an island, where her only neighbors seem to be nice Mark Miller (Goran Visnjic) and his bright but rebellious 13-year-old daughter Abby (Kirsten Prout). Then Elektra gets the names of the people she's supposed to assassinate guess who. To her surprise (though not ours), Elektra finds herself protecting her erstwhile victims, trying to outrun the soldiers of an evil, magic-using, Japan-based organization known as The Hand.
It should be made clear that Garner as Elektra is authentically cool. Given what she does here, it will probably be hard for viewers who know her from ALIAS to entirely divorce her from her TV persona, but that's all to the good. We believe she can beat the crap out of her opponents, we believe that she'll dare anything, we believe she's got a good soul and we're rooting for her all the way.
Other elements are less certain. The whole notion of the bad (and mostly Asian) martial arts/magic-using gang having Japanese leaders (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa and Will Yun Lee) while the good martial arts/magic-using guys are led by blind white guy Stick is not even so much offensive as it is musty didn't we just see this sort of sent up in KILL BILL? The villain called Tattoo (Chris Ackerman) has some conceptually cool powers, but we're a little too conscious of the effects as effects we don't have that much feeling of our heroes facing a tangible threat. Also, while we're told in a voiceover prologue that the fate of the world depends on what's going on, both the way it's handled and the overall tone suggest otherwise. Written by Zak Penn, Stuart Zicherman and Raven Metzner, ELEKTRA has a rough narrative arc, but neither side seems to have much long-term strategy, so we bounce from confrontation to confrontation. In the fun ones, Garner as Elektra gets to strut her fight stuff, while the less exciting ones consist of characters succumbing to magic or gunfire. Director Rob Bowman delivers a couple of genuine jump scares and Garner and Prout generate some appealing sisterly chemistry, but the film sputters more than it flows.
In ELEKTRA, Garner demonstrates that she has genuine star wattage, even when the material needs more juice in both narrative and pacing.