The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Announcement

Announcement

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Elektra (2005)

Photobucket

We continue our look at comic book movies with Elektra, the 2005 spin-off/sequel to the Ben Affleck Daredevil film. I never saw this one when it came out in the theaters, and only saw it recently when I got it from Netflix for this review. It looked bad, and from what everyone told me it was bad, so I didn't have high expectations. When the imdb box office numbers suggest they may have barely made their money back by selling the TV rights to FX, it doesn't give one much hope.

Elektra takes place some time after Daredevil. Garner reprises her role as the heroine, who is now working as an assassin. When she's hired to kill the dude next door and his daughter, she decides not to and protects them instead. They're being chased by The Hand, an evil order of ninjas headed by Cary Tagawa. His son and four of his friends with special powers work to track her down, and she has to summon all her strength if she hopes to win.

Photobucket

All right, so this was bad, but not as bad as I expected. Something about it didn't feel right though. The story didn't lend itself to a big budget actioner, but the production was too big budget actioner to fit with such a small story, if that makes sense. The best way to put it is this was a graphic novel style story, but a comic book style movie, and the two didn't work together. The director said in one of the featurettes that he didn't want to make a "Chinese Wire Movie", but it would've worked better as a Chinese Wire Movie than the mess that was searching for an identity that we had on the screen. If anything would've benefited from the Frank Miller 300 or Sin City style of direction, this was it. Imagine Garner as Elektra in her red outfit against the gray backdrop from those movies.

It's kind of too bad, because Jennifer Garner was really good, which was hard to believe after when I watched the extras and heard her talk like a Valley Girl, but I guess that's why she's an actress. I saw in one of the featurettes that she did a lot of work to learn martial arts so she could do her own stunts. Too bad we didn't get to see that with the overly cut fight scenes. As far as I could tell the director was trying to make up for Garner's lack of ability by not allowing us to focus on her for more than a split second during any fight, but it turns out this wasn't the case. I don't blame the director either, because he doesn't have many feature film credits, so I have to assume someone else was telling him to make it all Bourne Identity-ish. They probably also told him they didn't want another "Chinese Wire Film". Unlike Catwoman, that was just all kinds of wrong, this one could've been perfect if they'd just not gone the Hollywood blockbuster route.

Photobucket

Two cool people were in this. Cary Tagawa had like two or three scenes as the head of The Hand. Would've liked to see some more of him, but I'll take what I can get. The second was Terence Stamp. He played Garner's blind sensei. I've always liked Stamp, ever since I saw him hurling through space in that parallelogram. I've never really done the legwork on that deal, but was the flying parallelogram from the comics, or did they invent it strictly for the movie? This movie had nothing as cool as that, but I think by casting Stamp, they were hoping some of that coolness would rub off on them. Didn't work.

Another lost opportunity was the use of Daredevil villain Typhoid Mary. She was played by Natassia Malthe, who you may remember as Rayne from Uwe Boll's BloodRayne II. According to imdb, she's signed on to do a third BloodRayne film that's in pre-production as we speak, another Uwe Boll special. Anyway, the first problem with Typhoid Mary in Elektra was she was used sparingly as one of Tagawa's son's henchwomen. Even worse, she wasn't the same as her comic book persona, and for no apparent reason. In the movie, she could make people sick by breathing on them. A better deal would've been to make her a full fledged villain with the powers she had in the comic, and had her be Elektra's final fight. Man, this movie could've been so good, and as I write it irks me more and more that it wasn't.

Photobucket

There's a deleted scene that had a Ben Affleck cameo as Matt Murdock. When I read the reviews, people talked about the scene's deletion as one of its few saving graces, talking about Affleck with the kind of hatred I'd think one would save for people like Osama bin Laden. I mean, I understand not liking this or that actor, but it's not like he killed anyone's mom or something. It's funny, because that first Daredevil came out so long ago, and there's no word of a sequel at all. I guess Elektra is the sequel, but is it really? And probably the most likely new baddie for the sequel, Typhoid Mary, was wasted in this movie, so they're kind of stuck. I think that sucks, because Daredevil was one of my all time favorite comics, and I'm disappointed that it's been killed like this.

Again, these are mostly bad comic book movie showcases here, so no recommendation is needed. My final thoughts are that this could've been way better, and Garner wasn't one of the things that needed improving. Had they gone with the graphic novel aspect of the story and made a film that was a cross between Sin City and Crouching Tiger, it would've played out much better. Also, had they made Typhoid Mary the one from the comics, instead of something else that just happened to have her name, and had her be the head villain, it would've made for a more interesting story. I guess like its predecessor, it was all kinds of wrong, but could've been right.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0357277/

5 comments:

  1. Actually I recently heard that Daredevil was getting a reboot, I personally fond both Daredevil adn Elektra to be somewhat underrated, and I too am baffled by the hatred people have for Affleck, I mean I know the guy dosen't exactly make the most convincing action hero, but he's certainly not THAT bad. Wonder who will be playing Daredevil in the reboot though, who do you think would make a good Daredevil?

    ReplyDelete
  2. If theres a genre where the green screen type of filmmaking was made for, its comic book movies.

    I havent even seen this film cause I heard so many bad things about it. I dont think Ill be seeing it either, it just sounds like a waste of time.

    There were talks of revamping the Daredevil franchise, different director, ignoring this film entirely. I think that would be a great idea, to just ignore the previous Daredevil film, that character could have been so much more kick ass then Ben Affleck.

    Hopefully, that rebooting will take place and give the Daredevil universe the movie it deserves.

    ReplyDelete
  3. On imdb they say the reboot is scheduled for 2012. I'm curious to check it out. It may be more in line with this Marvel universe the Hulk, Iron Man, and the new Avengers movie will be a part of.

    I think I lean more towards Michael in saying the plots of both of these films wasn't so bad, just the executions were flawed. I'm not sure you'd need a reboot of Daredevil as opposed to pick up where the first left off, but with Elektra wasting an essential baddie like Typhoid Mary, it might be necessary to do something about that.

    What I'd like to see in a sequel would be The Owl filling the vacuum rhe Kingpn left, the emergence of Typhoid Mary, and maybe a team up with the Black Widow. Also, Terence Stamp as Stick was great. As far as who would make a good Daredevil, this took some thought, but I think the guy from Burn Notice would work.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I also don't understand all the hatred directed at Ben Affleck. But ever since becoming box office poison with the one-two punch of GIGLI and JERSEY GIRL, he's been quietly making a comeback with strong supporting roles in films like HOLLYWOODLAND and EXTRACT and his directing debut, GONE BABY GONE, was amazing.

    I actually quite enjoyed DAREDEVIL, esp. the Director's Cut which fleshes things out more. While Affleck wouldn't have been my first choice (I would've picked Guy Pearce), he was OK in it. Jon Favreau was pretty good as Foggy but I could've seen someone like Paul Giamatti in the role.

    As for ELEKTRA, yeah it's a mess and a wasted opportunity. I quite like Jennifer Garner and you're right in pointing out that the film's crappiness is certainly not her fault. The film is hampered with a lame script and even more pedestrian direction.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Definitely I felt Daredevil wasn't that bad either, which was why I didn't review it here, but on my Tumblr site instead. I'd like to see the director's cut, because I have the DVD that came out before that one.

    One of the things that has kind of struck me more and more since I wrote this review was the complete waste of Typhoid Mary. In one of the featurette's everyone involved in making the film talked about how badly they wanted to make Elektra work for the fans first and foremost, but there's no way they could've been thinking of the fans and still bungled Typhoid Mary as egregiously as they did.

    ReplyDelete