Rehashing trends is nothing new in Hollywood. If a genre or type of story hits big, expect to see clones not too far behind. Try to count on your hands how man Zombie, Time Loop, and of course…Revenge flicks you’ve seen, or heard of in your life time. Even if the premise is tired and overdone at this point you have to judge a film on its own merits. While I agree with what I’ve seen others say about Kate already, I feel like it is getting dragged down just a little too much, and not given credit for some smart moves it makes.
Kate (seriously, who doesn’t love Mary Elizabeth Winstead?) is a precise, calculated, talented gun for hire in Japan. Under the tutelage of her handler, V (seriously, who doesn’t love Woody Harrelson?) she has become a one woman wrecking crew. After a successful, though troubling job in Osaka, Kate begins contemplating retirement. As she aims down the sights of her rifle on the final target, she beings to fumble. She misses. As she flees, hobbled by some strange illness she ends up in a massive car wreck. Waking up in the hospital, she learns she has been poisoned. By who? Why? With less than 24 hours left in her life, Kate goes on a rampage killing spree to find those responsible and take them out before she dies.
Looking at other reviews before I finish my own is something I never do. I don’t want other people’s thoughts impeding on my own until I’ve had my say. Unfortunately, while looking up some information, I caught a glimpse of some things other reviewers were saying…and I 100% agree with them. Watching Kate, I automatically thought, “Ok, it’s just D.O.A. meets John Wick.” As each scene passed, the cliché, uninventive story beats were a little too much. And much like others have said, it isn’t a bad movie, but doesn’t do enough to really distance itself from others of its kind.
But at the end of the day, all the reviews I saw still felt like they were putting down the film way more than it deserves. When you reach my final grade, you might think I’m doing the same thing, but there are a lot of very clever and smart choices sewn into Kate that need to be looked at and appreciated. It’s not like movies such as Crank or even Run Lola Run have a literal running clock on screen to remind the audience that the protagonist has a finite amount of time to complete their mission.
But those films do represent a feeling that the audience has to be made aware of how rushed their actions have to be. I’m not saying Kate doesn’t have reminders throughout about being poisoned or needing stims to get through things, but the scenes are more measured and less pressing in regard to time compared to its counterparts.
Kate also does contain some great fight sequences. The madness of the Black Lizard Club fight is perfect and a great showcase for the actors, choreographers, director– the list goes on. But there are a lot of smaller, amazing details to be picked out later on the in the film. Most of which I cannot go into as they would be spoilers (even though the ending is pretty easy to figure out 5 minutes into the film).
There is one final, very quick confrontation between two characters which was brilliant. I literally applauded, and not because I thought someone got what they deserved. There is also a very brief flashback of Kate’s training which comes right before part of that training is enacted in the final showdown that says a lot, and I think it is going to be missed by a lot of people. There is one twist I thought the film was going to deliver that never came, but that really doesn’t matter.
The fact of the matter is, Kate is what I would call the perfect Two and a Half Star movie. Back when all movie ratings were just out of four stars, the world was flooded with Two and a Half Star movies. The middle of the pack that you didn’t need to really see, but if you did, they became the perfect background movie. Not bad, but nothing to write home about. This is a special distinction that I wouldn’t strive for, but I would still be honored to have. But for people to bash a film just because it is nothing new, is a little weird. How many people who are going to denigrate Kate for being run-of-the-mill, have praised every Marvel movie that rehashes the same formula over and over again?
Final Grade- C
Here’s the trailer of the film. “Kate” will be on Netflix, Sept 10th.