On the Netflix display screen for “Kate,” the outline says “this film is Violent, Thrilling.” That first adjective is sort of correct—this movie is wall-to-wall carnage. I need to respectfully disagree with that second adjective, nonetheless, until you get pleasure from watching another person play an uninvolving online game for nearly two hours. If one of these factors turns you on, please have at it. There’s a cynical air to the lackluster proceedings as if the filmmakers assume you’ll stumble throughout “Kate” and watch it just because it’s there and also you’re too lazy to scroll down the display screen for one thing higher. That seems to be Netflix’s rationale for his or her mid-budget actioners, and it may present a lot of satisfaction if there’s a superb story welded to the set-pieces. However, Umair Aleem’s script is so paint-by-numbers acquainted that it leaves you wishing you’d watched one of many higher motion pictures it’s ripping off. I consider Netflix additionally carries a number of of these.
After her very good and memorable flip in “Birds of Prey,” Mary Elizabeth Winstead is handed the reins of her personal motion film. Winstead will not be solely a really credible agent of violence, she additionally offers attention-grabbing approaches to her scenes. There’s one thing off-kilter and distinctive about her, one thing you may fairly put your finger on, but you’re feeling its presence. I discover her compulsively watchable, which is why I discovered this dreck so aggravating. She’s clearly having enjoyable right here, however, she deserves higher than the warmed-over plot particulars each single feminine murderer film should comprise. The murderer is at all times a lone wolf, abandoned by the household earlier than being adopted by a male authority determine who trains and mentors her earlier than finally turning into some type of adversary she should take care of in opposition to her will.
Right here, the male mentor is phoned in by Woody Harrelson. And I don’t imply that simply figuratively—80% of his efficiency is actually on the cellphone. When you look intently into his eyes, you may see the ATM the place he deposited the test from this film. Harrison’s Varrick is the handler for Winstead’s titular character, the one particular person Kate trusts. When the movie opens, she’s in Osaka, Japan on a project that predictably goes awry. Regardless of the principles in opposition to taking pictures of folks with kids current, Kate takes a shot that takes out her goal in entrance of his child. Quick-forward to Kate’s “final mission,” the place she’ll ultimately staff up with a rambunctious teenager named Ani (Miku Patricia Martineau). Guess what her connection is to that prior execution?
Earlier than we get to Ani, Kate engages in rumpy-pumpy with a man who fatally poisons her with one thing that can kill her in 24 hours. She’ll not solely want to seek out out why she’s been murdered, however, she’ll additionally avenge her personal loss of life. The one factor that retains her going is hourly pictures of adrenaline. So, we’ve received an injection of “D.O.A.” right here (the hideous ’80s remake, that’s, not the unique). Along with the ugly exterior wounds and scars Kate will endure battling numerous adversaries, the poison is rapidly rotting her from within out. Quite a few scenes of barfing ensue, in addition to some tooth falling out and blood pouring out of unwelcome locations unprovoked. This provides a wholesome sprint of “The Fly” to the proceedings (the superior ’80s remake, that’s, not the unique).
I dug the physique horror and the way Winstead rolls with it. It offers Kate a bodily vulnerability that wages struggle with the style’s insistence that its protagonists are crack pictures whereas their competitors can’t hit the facet of a barn. It’s when “Kate” tries for an emotional vulnerability that it fails. Ani is kidnapped by Kate as a result of she’s a relative of Kijima (Jun Kunimura), the person who could have ordered the toxic hit. Flashbacks draw parallels between Ani and her kidnapper, and after it seems Ani’s household desires to kill her, Kate drags her alongside on her quest. Martineau does her greatest enjoying a rebellious teenager whose powerful exterior masks a scared child, however, the script offers the 2 actors the barest minimal of bonds to play. It’s much more superficial than transferring.
Ani retains referring to Kate as “a Terminator,” however this film owes much more to Ah-nuld’s ’80 traditional, “Commando,” particularly when Kate has to avoid wasting her ward from the unhealthy guys. Mark Lester dealt with Schwarzenegger mowing down a whole army with a lot lighter and extra entertaining contact than director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan does right here. He depicts violence in a joyless and monotonous vogue. There are solely so some ways bullets can enter heads and torsos, and whereas I get pleasure from nearly all of these methods, it will get actual drained actual quick right here.
“Kate” additionally desires to be as cool because of the Asian motion pictures it seeks to emulate with a White lead, however, the finish end result fetishizes Asian tradition and Japan with the embarrassing fervor of a sexy canine humping a leg. The overdone impact is just too hilarious and embarrassing to be offensive, however, it’s cringe-inducing. A significant loss of life scene is highlighted by a big, smiling, and waving neon kitty cat. J-Pop blares on the soundtrack whereas Kate strolls towards the digicam flanked by Yakuza hitmen. There’s even a homosexual adversary who’s launched to getting a fish pedicure earlier than unveiling an again coated-in letter tattoo. The digicam ogles him like he’s some unique object earlier than he preens and sways whereas battling Kate. He rapidly meets one of the ugly demises provided up as pink meat to bloodthirsty viewers, which is a disgrace as he’s extra attention-grabbing than any of the primary villains. In a movie as a dull by-product as this, I’ll take my pleasures to the place I can.
On Netflix in the present day.