“Death is the time for beginnings.”
It seems that we’ve entered the era of badasses action stars engulfed in an array of Anime symbolism and neon lighting. It’s really nothing new as these movies try to recreate that John Wick tone — the typical action revenge story. In the case of Kate, every one of these things is true… and more.
The premise for Kate is straight forward as our titular character is well-known for her on point assassin skills, studying years under the tutelage of Varrick (Woody Harrelson), a father-like companion who took her under his wing after her parents were brutally murdered. Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Varrick’s bond runs deep. But as time has goes by, Kate begins to grow a conscience and believes it’s time to start a new chapter in her life. When a series of Kate’s final missions go awry involving a Japanese crime family, she finds herself a pawn in their games, poisoned with a harmful substance. She now has 24 hours to wreak havoc on the men that did this to her, while fighting the toxin that pulses through her veins. All this as Kate uses Ani (Miku Patricia Martineau), the daughter of her last hit job, to help put an end to everything.
This isn’t Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s first rodeo when it comes to the action genre. Coming fresh off her roles in Birds of Prey (2019), and the lackluster Gemini Man (2019), Winstead has shown she can throw a few kicks and shoot down her fair share of baddies. She’s the pinnacle point of Kate; she holds so much of this film together. Her devotion to the fight scenes, and the agony in her eyes as the poison ravages through Kate’s body — Winstead just wowed me. However, and it’s a big one, a film is only as good as how all the elements come together in the end. And for Kate, the story is its biggest downfall.
Kate is a straight forward action movie. It’s mostly all fight scenes filled with explosions, gun fire, and gallons blood that will definitely make you shriek away from the television. However, that’s about it. Although the film might be fun to look at, the isn’t much to write home about. I will say that while some may criticize its storytelling, where Kate may trip up, it doesn’t fall as hard as say other action films like Atomic Blond or basically any Jason Statham movies. Before we rush to judgement, placing Kate into the “all action no story” category, I will say that there is some story to Kate. It’s just so predictable, you may figure it out within the first 15 minutes.
Kate aims to be that female action film that transcends all others. But while the genre is so saturated with the same style, it brings nothing new to the table. Knowing that however, there are still some things to be enjoyed like Winstead’s performance, and the entertaining fight scenes. I always aim to take pride in storytelling when films are concerned — no matter the genre — but something about this film made me not mind it as much. Have I turned over a new leaf? Have I become one of those people that simply say, “it’s an action movie not a drama! Don’t criticize it so much?” I don’t think so. Heck, Kate is entertaining and I enjoyed it for what it was. So grab yourself an ice cold Boom Boom Lemon, sit back, and enjoy.
Directed by: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Miku Patricia Martineau, Jun Kunimura, and Woody Harrelson