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Thursday, September 2, 2021

[Review] Netflix’s Bloody Action-Thriller ‘Kate’ Offers Stylistic but Familiar Fun

A highly skilled assassin punching and slicing their way through an endless horde of opponents out of revenge reads like several contemporary action-thrillers, especially in the wake of John Wick’s popularity. Kate marks the latest, borrowing from a few prominent action-thrillers to create an easily digestible blend of violence, action, and humor by way of a silly plot that ticks off all the action-thriller tropes at breakneck speed.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars as the eponymous Kate, an expert hitman living in Japan currently working her way through a list of yakuza targets. Her only semblance of friendship and family comes in her handler (Woody Harrelson), and she wonders if obtaining normality beyond her niche career would be possible. Then Kate uncharacteristically blows her latest target, resulting in a series of events that leave her poisoned and with only 24-hours to live. Hell hath no fury as a hitwoman scored; Kate demands vengeance, and she’s going to carve her way to the top to get it.

Directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan (The Huntsman: Winter’s War) and written by Umair AleemKate relies on the Japan backdrop to do the heavy lifting in terms of style. Tokyo’s fast-paced, futuristic aesthetic becomes ground zero for Kate to hunt down clues, kidnap yakuza princess Ani (Miku Patricia Martineau), and murder her way to answers. The bustling streets, dark back alleys, and neon-lit nightclubs become just a few of the major set pieces for Kate to slash her way through while her body takes massive abuse in the process.

That’s really the extent of the narrative, too. See Kate maim. Watch Kate dole out as much punishment as she receives. See Ani forge a bond with Kate, despite Kate’s guilty conscience. Nicolas-Troyan attempts to inject some pathos to Kate in the form of flashbacks of her upbringing, but they don’t effectively contribute to making Kate a fully realized character. She’s a terminator, and in this case, that’s just fine.

Winstead’s natural charisma and physicality make Kate winsome, even when her journey follows the familiar beats of similar action-thrillers that came before. She’s assisted by a charming performance by Martineau, the sidekick to a reluctant Kate. Then there’s a mini Ichi the Killer reunion in supporting players Tadanobu Asano (Mortal Kombat 2021) and Jun Kunimura (Kill Bill: Vol 1), both playing prominent members of the crime syndicate Kate seeks to dismantle. The former brings surprising humor to the mix, a welcome balance. Harrelson, Asano, and Martineau serve as consistent reminders that Kate doesn’t take itself too seriously, despite being led by a very serious and determined protagonist.

Sharing more in common with Crank than John Wick in terms of tone, Kate never rises above the influences it’s drawing from. That extends to anime, as well; Kate’s late-game red eye serves as a hat tip to Tokyo Ghoul, which plays in the background of one scene. It earns its R-rating, offering plenty of bone-crunching and blood-splattering mayhem in Kate’s path, but it’s a predictable path with no surprises. It telecasts precisely how Kate’s story will play out from the outset, but at least Nicolas-Troyan and the cast commit to bringing the fun while it lasts.

Kate releases on Netflix on September 10, 2021.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3681134/review-netflixs-bloody-action-thriller-kate-offers-stylistic-familiar-fun/

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