FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE YET TO SEE KATE, THIS IS A NON-SPOILER REVIEW.
So, in just the last couple of months, we have had a slew of female assassin movies like Gunpowder Milkshake, Jolt and The Protege. And Kate has many of the same attributes and story arcs of these films… befriending the child of a former victim, having to shock yourself with something to keep going, neon-lit backdrops, and above all else, trying to replicate the fight choreography of the John Wick films. And while all of those films varied in quality, I don’t believe that they were able to mirror the sheer adrenaline rush that the Keanu Reeves-led movies were able to pull off. Until Now.
WHAT IS KATE ALL ABOUT?
Kate follows an assassin in Japan, who upon having to murder a man in front of his daughter, decides to throw in the towel and try to start a new life for herself. During one night of debauchery, she is poisoned and discovers that she has one more day to live. Kate fights her way through gangs of men, to get revenge and try to find an antidote. But, when she has to enlist the young girl whose father she killed nearly a year ago, her priorities are completely altered.
HOW IS THE ACTION?
I’m going to be outright here and say that I had absolutely no expectations for Kate. This looked like a carbon copy of so many action flicks that had come before it, but I still enjoy this genre… and sometimes a movie comes around that can surprise you. And while the first half hour or so of this movie failed to convince me that it was doing anything fresh or new (which includes a disastrous CGI-ridden car chase), all of a sudden Kate becomes a different beast. The fight choreography, gunplay and camerawork here are absolutely top-notch. There are three fight scenes in this movie that left my jaw on the floor, for how brutal and captivating they were. I do believe that Kate operates on a far superior level; action-wise, than the films I previously talked about.
DOES MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD CARRY THE FILM?
But, none of this would have worked without the right leading lady. And Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who I think is one of the most underrated and underutilized performers working today, is astonishing in Kate. She gives this role her all, in an extremely physical performance, but is also able to give this character heart as well. Winstead is almost animalistic in her fight scenes and makes this movie worth watching, for her involvement alone. As the movie progresses she becomes so bloodied and bruised that she is almost unrecognizable. But, never once did I want to take my eyes off of her.
Her relationship with young Ani also felt so much more authentic, than the one between Sam and Emily in Netflix’s Gunpowder Milkshake. The story progresses in a way that I was not expecting, and although debut actress Miku Martinaeu does struggle with some of her line delivery… her chemistry with Winstead is believable. And as the credits roll, you are fully invested with their connection with one another.
Another thing that makes Kate unique is that it takes place in Tokyo. The Japanese-setting becomes a character all of its own and really makes the film stand out above the rest. You can’t help, but be invigorated by the eye candy of this location.
JUST TURN YOUR BRAIN OFF AND ENJOY THE RIDE…
I do think that Kate might get lambasted by critics because of its formulaic storytelling. But, I also hope that audiences give it a shot. The action sequences are so beautifully and artistically filmed, the energy of the movie is like a shot of adrenaline and Mary Elizabeth Winstead proves exactly why she should be an action superstar. Just turn off your brain, and enjoy the ride.
Kate will be streaming on Netflix Friday, September 10th.
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