As discussed in this week’s podcast, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins recently had some pretty disparaging remarks about straight-to-streaming releases. They might have caused a shift in how the average person consumes media, but there’s certainly no shortage of available new releases, which is any movie fan’s dream come true.
One such release is Netflix’s Kate, a gritty action shooter in the vein of John Wick.
Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Kate, a woman trained from childhood to become a world-class assassin, Kate follows her as she begins to question her purpose in life when she’s faced with impending death.
That’s a relatively solid hook, as action plots go. There’s no global terrorism or threatened nuclear annihilation, and the stakes are more personal than your average shoot-’em-up. Kate also boasts a neon-drenched Tokyo setting and visceral style of action that make for an interesting blend.
Sadly, that’s where Kate‘s originality dies. It makes use of the same one-woman-army trope that has been a long-standing feature of the action genre for generations, although it lacks the emotional depth or inherent charisma of its spiritual predecessor, John Wick – Winstead delivers a sound performance, but she doesn’t quite possess the same action chops as Keanu Reeves, and in a film so similar to his action franchise, it’s impossible not to make that comparison.
Kate does feature a solid supporting cast in the likes of Woody Harrelson, Miku Martineau, Jun Kunimura and Tadanobu Asano, but none of them are able to overcome the film’s derivative plot or predictable progession.
Kate borrows heavily from so many other action films that it’s not altogether easy to appreciate. Its action is somewhat gripping, but its wider plot is at once uninspired and entirely free from the constraints of logic.
Visually, it’s an interesting film, and its action is generally solid. There’s more than a few shoot-out scenes that will likely be satisfying to action mega-fans, but to fans of coherent, reality-based action, Kate is probably one to avoid.
Summary: Overall, it’s a passable action flick, with some visual flair and respectable acting – providing you can suspend your disbelief and leave your cynicism at the door.
Highlights: Kate‘s bonkers soundtrack of high-octane Japanese pop rock perfectly matches the film’s general tone.