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Saturday, September 02, 2006

I Saw a Bad Movie for Your Amusement

Elektra: The Girl with the Knives

(A small review in 21 parts by Michael D. Pape)

i) I remember Elektra from those Daredevil comics when I was a kid. Like most children my age, I didn’t read Daredevil, but he was in a lot of cool Spider-Man crossovers, so I was aware of his existence. Anyway, the puzzling thing about this whole Elektra movie is that it’s about an ancillary pseudo-villain from a comic book that nobody read. I’m trying to think of an equivalent character to show how strange it is, and I don’t know…it’s like giving a movie to the Super Skrull or something. Anyway, The whole point of Elektra is the red costume and the cool knives. If they aren’t in this movie, I’m turning it off.

ii) It’s always good when your DVD comes with a commercial that claims that downloading movies is the same thing as stealing them. They can make their point (that downloading is illegal and hurts the artists) without lying. Sheesh. This one tried to equivocate stealing cars and downloading movies. I wonder which crime costs the law-abiding US economy more? Hmm…thousands of dollars vs. nothing…it’s a tough choice. Plus, movie companies will gladly steal our precious time with 10 minutes of movie trailers, even on DVDs now. Which is more like stealing a car – stealing data or stealing time? I’ll let you, dear reader, decide that one.

iii) I wonder if they realize they’re using Greek “sigmas” for “E’s”? Is this a bad sign? Is this a movie for stupid people? Was I not supposed to notice this?

iv) Within the first 5 minutes we have both the knives and the costume (sort of. At least it’s red). I’m kinda surprised, to be honest. A problem I’m having is separating this mythology from that of Jen Garner’s other entertainment vehicle, Alias. Right now it just looks like Sydney Bristow’s dressed in one of her costumes and going after some rich guy. Wouldn’t be the first time. They should have tried to make Elektra look more Asian.

v) For a better movie about an unstoppable female assassin in a secret society that does her wrong, see Kill Bill. This is that movie, made by someone without Tarrantino’s sense of style. This is a bizarre, dull, and bleak movie so far.

vi) Who’da thought Elektra had OCD? That’s some serious filmmaking right there. Probably caused by being named after a complex, and an icky one at that. This whole first part is designed to humanize our assassin title character and make us feel sorry for her. Right now a man (her dad?) is making a young Elektra tread water with only her feet. I’m sure she’ll overcome all this OCD and water and loneliness and having a bad name by the end of the movie.

vii) We just learned that Elektra has insomnia, and even takes medication for it. Now she’s doing an exercise montage right out of Rocky, only she’s not going to box some evil guy, she’s going to kill some guy for money. See the problem? Super Skrull would totally have been better. At least he can change shapes.

viii) So, this hasn’t been made clear yet, but I can see now that Elektra will be hired to kill this Nice Guy (whom she just met) and his “just like Elektra” daughter, and this will lead Elektra to a moral dilemma, and then a bunch of dudes will come after her, and she will win. Do I even need to see the rest of this movie?

ix) Five minutes later, my scenario is coming true. Maybe this watching bad movies idea wasn’t such a good one. First up on the assassin death carousel is Roof Crawler, who dies in a poof of light and smoke. Wonderful. This is just like a video game. DartThrower Smith is attacking them now, and he’s soon to be dead.

x) The forces amass against Elektra, and their names are: Eagle Shoulder, Aids-breath, Coin Balancer, and Big Black Guy. Oh, and their leader, who sucks. Sucky Leader. They’re all dead, but the film introduces them in a cool slow-walking montage anyway. At least we’ll get to see some fun CGI fighting. I hope.

xi) It’s like 15 minutes later, and still no CGI fighting. And not to be a Complainy Janey, but we’ve seen about 5 seconds of knives and 0 seconds of costume since the first five minutes of the film. Maybe they ran out of money.

xii) I love it when movies try to convince us that the bad guys aren’t all going to die. Like these jokers can really beat Elektra. Oh, Sucky Leader can read minds, and Big Black Guy can’t be hurt by bullets. Ooo. I’m scared.

xiii) You should really rent this movie and be following along at home for this. Especially since the movie is so old and even if you did see it, you probably don’t remember it. But I wouldn’t ask you to do that. I would never ask you to do that. It would be like asking you to relive my prison term, or something.

xiv) Big Black Guy clearly disobeys orders by going after the two targets before killing Elektra. As a result, the coolest person in the entire film is now dead. I’m speaking of Big Black Guy, of course.

xv) Coin Balancer turns out to be just pretty good at karate, and Eagle Shoulder turns out to be basically the Wolfman with a jet pack. Also, the two helpless people, Nice Guy and Daughter? They have powers, and kill said Balancer and Wolfman. Told you they were all dead. For those keeping score, that leaves Aids-breath and Sucky Leader. Hope this ends soon.

xvi) Aids-breath kisses Elektra and “kills” her, then ninjas start rappelling out of trees in a scene right out of You Only Live Twice, then the movie commits suicide on its own narrative. 20 bucks says Elektra will live. Oh, that reminds me…there’s this guy named “Stick” that’s like Elektra’s sensei, and he brings people back to life. Unfortunately, that also means the movie will continue.

xvii) Sucky Leader and Elektra agree to fight “where it all began” for the soul of the daughter, more or less. No word on how Aids-breath likes being cut out of the action. Of course, if all she can do is kill Elektra, Stick will just bring her back to life. Looks like she’s been made redundant.

xviii) Sucky Leader turns out to be some sort of Demon Ninja. Of course the daughter follows Elektra to where the two are fighting, and of course she comes in and saves Elektra from being killed. At least we got to see the costume again. It’s pretty stupid in real life.

xix) I guess Wolfman and Eagle Shoulder were two different people, because he’s still alive and all snakey right now. And for some reason Elektra and daughter decide to go into the hedge maze from The Shining. So, the place “where it all began” is the Overlook? I’ll spare you any “Snakes in a Maze” jokes. Anyway, Eagle Shoulder dies because he can’t fight back when he’s all snakey.

xx) Aids-breath just gave the daughter aids with her aids-breath. When will this movie end? Elektra and Sucky Leader fight some more, this time by a well in the center of the hedge-maze. Looks like the bad guys are going to win this one, everybody. The suspense is killing me. Whoops…just when you thought Elektra was defeated, she somehow managed to sucker-stab Sucky Leader and throw him down the well. Then she turned and computed some vectors and threw her cool knife through like 20 hedges and into Aids-breath’s head. Then she herself brings the daughter back to life. Man, they really must have run out of money to have a rat-a-tat ending like that. Anyway, now the daughter gets to learn karate at her own pace. How nice that all those people had to die to get that accomplished.

xxi) They should make a prequel starring Big Black Guy, who was by far the most interesting person in the film. The tagline could be “He Stuck it to the Man before he Stuck it to the Hand.” He could be a misunderstood bruiser in the mold of the Hulk. Like that idea, Hollywood? Call me.


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