‘Elektra’ shorts out

Kimberly Nicoletti

Maybe “Elektra” jolts men more than women; so far, Jennifer Garner’s sexy red fighting suit has electrified every man I’ve talked to.I, on the other hand, saw a woman squeezed into a tight, red, padded negligee with what looks like collagen-pumped lips and a runway walk inspired by supermodels.I admit, “Elektra” wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be; then again, I went into it cursing Dan for making us review the movie. It has a little more substance than I thought: It doesn’t exist solely to turn men on or make up for decades of damsel-in-distress portrayals by showing women kicking butt.But it doesn’t succeed in what I hope was an attempt to go beyond depicting women as sex objects. In fact, it cashes in on an annoying new Hollywood trend of gratuitous kisses between hot babes.But sex aside (oh, wait, talking about “Elektra” without the sex appeal is trying to bake a cake without flour, eggs and sugar, but I’ll give it a go … ), “Elektra” depicts a gnarly warrior with a tortured past striving for redemption.She struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder, but not enough to make any sense in the movie. She’s tempted by attraction and maybe even love, but not enough to make an impact. She transforms, but not enough to make us feel anything real.When she accepts her $2 million assignment to kill, she uncovers her pure heart and can’t go through with it. Thus begins the fight against evil martial arts masters, including one who conjure snakes, wolves and eagles from his skin to help fight the battle.Like the possibility for a deep plot, the cinematography skates on the surface of artistic shots but never commits.If Zhang Yimou, director of “Hero,” had shot the sequences, he would have captivated me with colorful, surreal choreography, and I would still be trying to figure out if Elektra’s red fighting gear had more psychological meaning than “I’m here to turn you on.” Instead, director Rob Bowman includes surprising, surreal scenes but fails to create lasting images that resonate visually or psychologically.On the surface, producers wire “Elektra” with enough electricity to entertain for 96 minutes, but it shorts out any time it could potentially deliver a power surge (unrelated to hot attire).

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