With Covid lingering on longer than an unwanted house guest, we're reduced to getting excited about new Netflix releases. Kate is billed as a hot-chick-assassin-on-a-vengeance-fueled-killing-spree flick, so I got my hopes up just a little. Bad Cinemavenger!
The hot chick assassin in question, Kate (duh), is played by Mary "Queen" Elizabeth Winstead, which is a big plus. She brings her usual smoldery, angry-sexy vibe to Kate but gets let down by a script that I can only assume was written on a coffee-stained diner napkin by a dyslexic lobotomite.
Kate's handler, Varrick (Woody "Guthrie" Harrelson), thinks of her as a daughter, which isn't too surprising given that he's been training her to be an assassin since she was about 10 or 12 years old. Is he her Special Forces uncle? Did he pick her up at an orphanage? Did he parent her full time or simply teach her to snap necks and pull triggers? Lots of questions. Zero answers.
Get used to that. We never learn what organization Varrick is part of. Is it government or private? Why does it exist? Does it kill people just for money, or does it have a bigger purpose? Kate ain't telling.
Instead, this movie lazily recycles dribs and drabs from other, better films. Like Leon's "no women, no kids" rule from The Professional. Except here it's just "no kids," and it includes not just not killing kids but not killing in front of kids. And it's broken in the first set piece.
Kate spends the entire movie craving a particular Japanese soda, which is an obvious bite on Bruce Willis chasing a cappuccino all the way through Hudson Hawk. All we need for that side quest to have meaning or humor is one scene showing us why she loves the soda so much, but again Kate can't be bothered.
The ticking clock is that Kate has been poisoned and only has a day to live, so she's got to figure out who poisoned her and kill them in that time. While we do ultimately find out who wanted her dead - and it's zero surprise - the actual poisoning is never shown nor explained. It's just assumed. Like Netflix assuming people will watch anything "new" after a year and a half of Covid psychosis.
So that's how you want to play it, Netflix? Well, fuck you very much.
September 17, 2021
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